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F5 tries to stay ahead of the curve with moves into security and beyond

Jon Gold | March 1, 2013
More than attracting new buyers, new offerings like security help convince its existing customers not to defect, says Forrester's analyst.

F5 seems determined to do just that. Senior Product Marketing Manager Greg Maudsley says the budding security business accounts for a "significant" percentage of F5's revenues, though he declined to provide specific numbers.

"We're seeing real uptake with our customers, and green-field accounts where people have traditionally gone with another vendor are now looking to F5 to solve some of these problems for remote access or firewall," he says.

Security isn't the only area in which F5 is searching for added value. The company spent an undisclosed sum last month to acquire software-defined networking startup LineRate Systems, saying that it plans to integrate LineRate's technology and expertise into its own SDN development.

F5 also rolled out a BYOD management service mere days ago, and has made inroads into several other hot-button IT markets like virtualization and cloud.

According to Forrester's Kindness, F5 is far from being the only network hardware vendor pursuing a strategy of diversification. Citrix, he says, is working to tie its own load balancing product in with WAN optimization technology, while - conversely - WAN optimization company Riverbed recently acquired a smaller firm with the aim of breaking into load balancing.

"You see this in the bigger companies that have been the market leaders in their areas; you see them expanding into other areas [because] they have to figure out how to increase their revenues," Kindness says.


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