F5 Networks Introduces Cache

A networkinfrastructure vendor is attempting to cash in on the content side of the Webby introducing a network cache. F5 Networks Inc. (www.f5.com)launched its Edge-FX network cache, making the transition from raw switchingand packeting to content delivery.

The Edge-FXcache sits at the network’s front end, serving frequently accessed Web pages toend users. It takes the load off of front end servers by keeping storage nearthe cloud and off the server. The server need not waste processor cycles topull information off of the hard drive since the information is readilyaccessible on the cache.

Inaddition, dynamically created pages can benefit from the cache. If graphics andtoolbars are repeated through out a site, the graphics can be stored on thecache, leaving them closer to the user and obviating the need to the largefiles to pass through the server. The server sends out the uniquely generatedcontent and graphics are stuck in later.

Jim Ni,product manager at F5, says the cache can double throughput forhigh-availability Web farms. Beyond keeping brochure front pages off theserver, the cache features integrated load balancing and geographic direction,and it can redirect users to farms geographically or topologically closer toimprove the end user experience.

“It’salways serving up the freshest content,” Ni says.

Ni explainsthat with the network infrastructure business maturing, F5 is transitioning towhat the company terms content infrastructure. Whether the product is a routeror a cache, F5 hopes to aid users in their content delivery. F5 is interestedin watching content, not simply move packets from place to place.

The cacheworks with other F5 content management products, such as the Global-Siteappliance which replicates content across geographies. The cache was designedto seamlessly integrate with Global-Site and related products.

In additionto Global-Site, F5’s See-IT software integrates with the NetCachefunctionality. It provides a central management console for NetCache,Global-Site, and the 3-DNS domain name appliance. F5 hopes that the softwarecan aid administrators in integrating data facilities around the world.