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F5 gets more cloud-friendly

New storage products offer more flexibility in how data is stored and retrieved

By , Network World
December 06, 2010 02:38 PM ET

Network World - F5 is making file virtualization more cloud friendly with the introduction of software that translates storage protocols, making it possible to store files in public or private cloud networks using a range of technologies.

ARX Cloud Extender software runs on servers that sit between F5's ARX file virtualization appliances and storage networks that may use different protocols than are used by the devices the files are being sent from, the company says.

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So if CIFS files are being stored in an Iron Mountain Virtual File Store service cloud, the ARX Cloud Extender will make the protocol translation. The software can handle any NSF or CIFS implementations as well as Iron Mountain VFS and NetApp StorageGrid.

The software is expected to be available by the end of the year. F5 isn’t releasing pricing.

F5 is also opening up an application programming interface to its ARX appliance, which will enable customers to get new functionality from the devices. For example, using the API, a script could be written to compile the changes to a file or storage system since an application last scanned it. When the application scans for an update, the script would feed it just the changes since the last scan rather than having the application scan the whole system itself, a more time-consuming option.

The API will be provided to customers as part of their maintenance contracts for the ARX, the company says.

F5 is announcing a virtual version of its ARX appliance that can be sold to OEMs to be bundled with  other products such as WAN optimization gear or file servers. Also, customers interested in an ARX could readily download a trial comply of ARX to test before deciding whether to buy, the company says.

The virtual version supports VMware virtual environments and will cost less than the ARX appliance, but F5 wouldn’t say how much it costs. It's available in the first quarter of next year, and comes in three models the 500, 2000 and 4000 for varying capacities.

Read more about cloud computing in Network World's Cloud Computing section.

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