F5 Launches New ARX Platforms for File Virtualization

Dave Courbanou

July 13, 2011

3 Min Read
F5 Launches New ARX Platforms for File Virtualization

If you’re an SME looking for file virtualization, or a VAR working the virtualization space in need of some midmarket hardware, F5 Networks may have just the ticket for you. The company has launched two new ARX appliances to help budget-strapped IT departments manage their data better. I spoke to F5’s Product Marketing Manager Renny Shen about the announcement for a little color …

The additions to the F5 Networks ARX family are the ARX 1500 and the ARX2500 appliances, designed to sit between F5’s existing ARX platforms in both capacity, functionality and price. The ARX1500 sits between the ARX500 and ARX2000, and the ARX2500 sits between the ARX2000 and the ARX4000.

But both the ARX1500 and ARX2000 are major powerhouses for their class, with the ARX1500 offering eight Gigabit Ethernet ports and a theoretical maximum of 3,000 users. The ARX2500 features two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, and supports 6,000 users at 8Gbps, all inside 1U. This represents a beefy step up from the ARX2000 and enough for customers who don’t need the 4U monsters that is the ARX4000.

If you’ve forgotten why file virtualization is important, here’s a reminder: It allows a data center to simplify the way data is handled. Data can essentially exist anywhere across a multitude of storage platforms, and it’s completely transparent to the user, without having to remap file locations. That means less work for IT admins shuffling files around, and fewer headaches for end users when they do. According to F5, ARX has a special storage tiering and global namespace that allow for automatic file retrieval across a swath of data devices to truly create a unified data architecture.

The partner perspective? The new ARX platform can help channel partners “sell more storage and more technology that [can address] customer pain points,” Shen said, pointing out they also can help with customers who are moving files around due to frequent data system upgrades or even customers who are dealing with data overhead issues.

Thanks to the global namespace technology that decouples logical location of files, VARs and MSPs and customers can wrap policies around the handing of files and file types and where they’re accessed. Shen said the ARX1500 and 2000 platforms are a response to F5 partner feedback — they needed technologies that would “make the [file virtualization] solution more attractive to existing customers,” in addition to hitting opex and capex demands from SMEs.

There are, of course, other use-cases for the ARX system — Shen noted the platforms are perfect for new data system or infrastructure refreshes. The price tag for the ARX family varies from $30,000 to $2oo,000, so be sure to find out exactly what your customer needs.

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