Cisco, F5 battle for application acceleration dollars

* Gartner reports its view of the application acceleration equipment market

The application acceleration market it set to grow, and according to Gartner, companies such as Cisco and F5 Networks will lead the way.

A recent report released by Gartner shows that revenue for application acceleration equipment vendors grew 6% over the first quarter to reach a total of $301 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2005. The research firm also predicts the trend toward multi-function boxes to increase in coming months.

"The trend toward powerful platforms that deliver four or more functions will accelerate as customers strive to simplify their infrastructure and vendors move to grow revenue and increase account control," Joe Skorupa, Gartner research director, wrote in the "Market Share: Application Acceleration Equipment, Worldwide, 2Q05" report. "Cisco, Citrix and Juniper Networks have entered this important market through acquisition, although substantive results will not appear until the second half of 2005. Consolidation will continue as strong platform players acquire promising software providers that have not reached critical mass."

Gartner categorizes the application acceleration market into two buckets: application delivery controllers (ADC) and WAN optimization controllers (WOC). According to Gartner, the ADC market grew about 12% between the first and second quarters to $177 million, notably due to a "rebound in Cisco revenue, as well as strong growth from F5 Networks." But Gartner found the WOC market shrank by 1.6% to $123.7 million, "largely due to a drop in NetApp's revenue."

Skorupa goes on to report that Cisco and F5 will remain neck-and-neck in a battle for market share leadership in the ADC market. And despite its obvious strengths in many areas of networking, Skorupa states that "Cisco is unable to leverage its dominance in enterprise networking to pull away from F5 Networks because of its dependence on out-of-date Layer 4 to Layer 7 switches."

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Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.