F5 to acquire SDN vendor LineRate Systems

F5 says the startup's technology will help it expand software-defined networking to the application layer

F5 Networks plans to extend the reach of software-defined networking to improve application performance by acquiring software startup LineRate Systems.

The company didn't disclose how much it will pay for LineRate, which is based in Boulder, Colorado. It bought the privately held company for its technology, intellectual property and engineering talent and will incorporate those into its development efforts for software-defined data centers, F5 said in a press release on Monday.

SDN (software-defined networking) centralizes control of the movement of packets around a network, taking many functions of dedicated networking hardware such as routers and switches and placing them in a controller. F5 believes the way SDN in its current form can't scale up to the performance it needs to carry out application-level functions such as load balancing, security, fault tolerance and isolation and application performance enhancement. LineRate's technology will help make that possible, according to a Monday post on F5's blog.

The planned acquisition would help to bring F5 into SDN, an area that has been most associated with traditional networking equipment vendors and with startups hoping to disrupt that business. F5 has built its business around load balancing and application delivery, which involve different technologies at a higher layer.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

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