F5 Addresses Slow Web Content with SPDY Gateway

F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) is revving up its engines in support of the new Google (NASDAQ: GOOG)-championed SPDY network protocol with the release of a SPDY gateway for its BIG-IP architecture.

“User experience and performance are very important topics in the industry,” said Jason Needham, senior director of Product Management at F5. “Mobile devices are the new dynamic, while apps and website content are getting richer.”

The SPDY protocol aims to accelerate the mobile and remote user experience by reducing webpage load latency and improving web security. And as more workers embrace the mobile lifestyle, corporate networks are having an increasingly difficult time keeping up with the resulting amount and type of traffic.

“Channel partners now have the opportunity to deliver some significant offload and cost savings and improvement in performance across mobile and remote user bases,” Needham said.

The SPDY Gateway sits in the data center and optimizes existing web traffic coming from and going to end users by reducing and simplifying the information that comes across with a web page. SPDY strips headers, reduces image quality and changes image formats from GIF to PNG to reduce file sizes as much as 40 percent, according to F5.
Currently, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox web browsers support SPDY, and interest in the technology is growing, Needham said.

“IT organizations could spend millions retrofitting their legacy apps to optimize their infrastructure but for most part the issue of optimizing the mobile and remote user experience is unaddressable,” he said. “The SPDY Gateway is an opportunity for the channel to speed customers’ adoption in the market and leverage the acceleration of legacy apps.”

Examples of VAR opportunities with the SPDY Gateway include companies using web commerce -- “This goes right into the bottom line,” Needham said -- and enterprises with a number of employees using back-office apps remotely. “A lot of companies are optimizing apps like (Microsoft) Sharepoint,” he said.

But, he pointed out, any app delivered via the web can benefit from SPDY. “This provides the opportunity for a company to do things more intelligently to better improve delivery to each device,” Needham said. “As companies continue the move into web-based applications, the performance challenge will become more difficult.”

The SPDY Gateway is generally available now.

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