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October 16, 2012

Cisco Exits Load-balancing Market, F5 Steps in with Trade-in Offer

By David Delony, Contributing Writer

After Cisco (News - Alert) announced that it would be dropping support for load balancing and global server load balancing (GSLB) products, another company has already moved in to pick up the slack.

F5 Networks (News - Alert) has announced that it is expanding substantial trade-in deals for businesses who want to turn in their Cisco load-balancing gear in favor of F5’s hardware.

F5 already had a trade-in offer for Cisco products, but expanded it after Cisco announced that the major manufacturer of networking equipment would discontinue its load-balancing products.

Companies who want to exchange their older, discontinued load-balancing equipment in favor of F5’s can do so at twice the value of their Cisco hardware. Partners also have a higher discount when they apply an SKU to Cisco trade-ins. This means that value-added resellers can find it quite lucrative to replace Cisco hardware in favor of F5 gear.

"Combining these programs together gives the F5 channel partners a very compelling program to drive value for customers,” Dean Darwin, senior vice president of F5, told CRN.

F5 already controls about half of the application delivery network (ADN) market while generating approximately $1 billion in revenue.

 Cisco’ share of this segment has been slipping, controlling about 11 percent, down from around 30 percent in 2008. This is possibly the reason why Cisco discontinued the Application Control Engine (ACE), a load-balancing module for its Catalyst 6500 switches and 7600 routers. Cisco sales staff had already been told to de-emphasize the ACE prior to the announcement of its discontinuation. Cisco is effectively exiting the load-balancing market.

F5 has also announced the BIG-IP 4200v hardware platform for mid-sized enterprises with high volume traffic serving Web applications.

“With F5's versatile Application Delivery Controllers, customers can perform a growing number of valuable IT functions in the network," Jason Needham, vice president of core traffic management and cloud solutions at F5, said.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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