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March 2003

Beefing up security with BIG-IP load balancer

Application switching and load balancing are crucial for scaling heavily used databases, Web server farms and IP-based networks. Traffic management appliances generally incorporate some form of inspection at layers 2 through 7, SSL acceleration and high-availability failover options. F5 Networks, a giant in the world of traffic management, recognized that load balancers can play a significant role in an enterprise's security framework. With that in mind, it beefed up its BIG-IP 5000 Series Application Switch with several new features that complement and enhance existing security solutions. A FIPS 140-2 Level 3 certified appliance, BIG-IP is a supercharged 24-port 10/100 switch with four gigabit fiber ports. Powered by Broadcom ASICs that work as a switch-on-a-chip and contain their own memory, BIG-IP's speeds and feeds are impressive. The switch fabric is capable of 8 Gbps in one direction and 16 Gbps aggregate. Even using gigabit connections and a packet generator, I was unable to reach the box's theoretical performance limits....

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