Radware upgrades data centre switches

Radware Ltd. this week released an update to its Layer 4-7 switch operating system software that promises better security and bandwidth management for data centre traffic.

The update to Radware’s SynApps software can let users stop SYN flood attacks on a network with Radware switches and appliances, the vendor says. The upgrade also can let users manage network bandwidth for data center applications with finer control than before, Radware adds.

SynApps software runs on Radware’s Application Switch and Security Switch hardware, which typically reside in front of corporate servers. The software lets Radware switches classify application traffic types and load-balance applications among servers. For security, the software can be set to block potential denial-of-service attacks by identifying suspicious traffic patterns.

A new feature is a health-monitoring capability, which could be pointed at a certain application type — such as voice over IP (VoIP) — and alert users if the traffic throughput or latency falls below a certain level.

Also new is the ability to control bandwidth on a per-client basis. Whereas previous SynApps features let users apply bandwidth levels to certain applications, the new software lets bandwidth be throttled up and down on an individual end-user basis. This could be used to apply high bandwidth to certain applications for power users or for limiting access to certain applications.

“(Radware) is starting to expand the depth of what they offer for enterprises,” says Lucinda Borovick, an analyst with IDC. Although the company was once seen as mainly a server load-balancing vendor, the addition of security features a few years ago and now the latest SynApps upgrade put more on the vendor’s menu.

IDC predicts that the market for Layer 4-7 hardware will grow from US$511 million in 2003 to about US$540 million by year-end — a seven per cent upswing.

“Enterprises are starting to look at the data centres as a cohesive entity,” Borovick says. As users look to optimize new server architectures — such as blades or virtualized servers — many businesses also will reconsider data center network infrastructure. She says that as data centres are upgraded, users will look for network hardware that can provide a variety of services — from security to bandwidth management and application acceleration.

Competing with Radware in this market are Cisco Systems Inc., Coyote Point Systems Inc., F5 Networks Inc., NetScaler Inc., Nortel Networks Ltd. and Redline Networks Inc.

The SynApps architecture software is available as a free upgrade to Radware switch customers with maintenance contracts.

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