F5 Networks announced today that it will acquire LineRate systems–terms were not disclosed. John Giacomoni, CTO of LineRate was recently featured in an interview on SDNCentral where he provided his view on how the SDN conversation will move from focusing on layers 2-3 to focusing on layers 4-7. And Manish Vachharajani, their Chief Software Architect recently shared his views on NFV. Ironically, the interview with John happened right after Vyatta was acquired by Brocade. This continues a trend of recent interviewees or SDNCentral guest bloggers that have been acquired (like Contrail, Cariden). Coincidence?
Regardless,it speaks to the continued interest and consolidation in the space. LineRate had, among its customers, PhotoBucket, who had it running in production. Interestingly though, LineRate was primarily an integrated application suite and proprietary OS running on top of x86 hardware that provided a host of features including load balancing and other ADC type features (NATing, content switching), SSL offload, etc. So, unlike some of the other players in the L4-7 SDN space, which run purely as software (like Vyatta or Embrane, or even overlays with L4-7 built in like Midokura or ConteXtream) on top of general purpose operating systems, or within virtual machines, LineRate attempts to take advantage of running on bare metal.
As we understand, LineRate was recently in the process of fund-raising, so this acquisition provides them with a platform and foundation to further their product development. And as F5 itself puts it, LineRate has an “early stage product,” which means the team and technology will be integrated into F5’s existing offerings. It certainly is inline with F5’s traditional HW-centric focus. It remains to be seen if this will help F5 move more aggressively into the software space to compete with other providers of L4-7 technology within the new SDN-enabled datacenter.
Congratulations to Steve, John, Manish, and the LineRate team!
Original Press release follows:
F5 TO BRING APPLICATION-LAYER INTELLIGENCE TO SDN SERVICES FOR SOFTWARE DEFINED DATA CENTERS
Seattle, February 11, 2013
F5 Networks, Inc. today announced that it has agreed to acquire LineRate Systems, a developer of software defined networking (SDN) services. Through this acquisition, F5 gains access to LineRate’s layer 7+ networking services technology, intellectual property, and engineering talent, further building on F5’s commitment to bring superior service agility, application intelligence, and programmability to software defined data centers.
“F5’s vision is to enable application-layer SDN services for software defined data centers, providing our customers with unprecedented automation, orchestration, and control,” said Karl Triebes, EVP of Product Development and CTO at F5. “Extreme scale of applications, infrastructure, and services will be vital to SDN, core to F5, and the key to customers realizing the benefits of software defined data centers. LineRate’s programmable network capabilities and innovations in layer 7 will bolster our efforts to extend F5’s market leadership in these areas, and we are very pleased to welcome the LineRate team to F5.”
Critical to the success of SDN architectures are security, acceleration, optimization, and intelligent traffic management services at the application layer. Application-layer services will be vital to meet customers’ expectations of flexibility, scale, and performance, and to provide significant competitive advantages. The LineRate acquisition aligns with F5’s vision for application control plane architecture and goal of delivering application-layer SDN services to bring superior agility, application intelligence, and programmability to software defined data centers.
LineRate Systems, based near Boulder, Colorado, provides software that offers layer 7+ network services. LineRate’s software defined solution is an early-stage product, which will become an important part of F5’s broad range of development initiatives focused on software defined data centers.
“In order to reap the benefits of software defined data centers, programmable, scalable network services must be present throughout the entire network stack—up to the application layer,” said Manish Vachharajani, Co-Founder and Chief Software Architect at LineRate Systems. “We recognize that the SDN fabric may be good at layer 2-4, but ultimately customers care most about the applications. The LineRate team is excited to join F5 and looks forward to helping F5 accelerate development initiatives in this important market.”
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The acquisition is not expected to have a material impact on the company’s operating results.
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F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) makes the connected world run better. F5 helps organizations meet the demands and embrace the opportunities that come with the relentless growth of voice, data, and video traffic, mobile workers, and applications—in the data center, the network, and the cloud. The world’s largest businesses, service providers, government entities, and consumer brands rely on F5’s intelligent services framework to deliver and protect their applications and services while ensuring people stay connected. Learn more at www.f5.com.