After disappointing quarter, F5 Networks banks on new product launches, acquisition

Enters BYOD market with mobility app management platform

After posting disappointing financial results in January, F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV), the application delivery controller (ADC) market leader, has been on a tear this month, entering the enterprise mobility management market, unveiling version 4.0 of its F5 Traffix signaling delivery controller (SDC) and acquiring software-defined networking (SDN) firm LineRate.

F5 Networks posted revenues of $366 million and non-GAAP net income of $91 million ($1.14 per diluted share) for its first quarter in fiscal year 2013. Analysts had predicted $367 million in revenue and earnings per share of $1.15.

The Motley Fool, for one. sounded the alarm on the firm. "F5 didn't have a great end-of-year quarter, as it missed on both top and bottom lines. In fact, the fourth quarter, which produced revenue and earnings-per-share growth of 15 percent and 6 percent, respectively, was the company's worst in terms of performance in more than three years," wrote Richard Saintvilus.

The company, however, took a number of bold steps in February, including jumping into the BYOD market.

With the F5 Mobile App Manager, enterprises can extend corporate applications and data to personally owned devices, while leaving personal content under the control of the employee, the company explained in a release.

F5 Mobile App Manager, which accommodates both Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) iOS and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Android devices, combines the policy management and application delivery features of the company's BIG-IP Access Policy Manager with the scalability of a software-as-a-service offering.

The platform provides PIN-protected and encrypted enterprise applications including corporate email, a secure web browser and an F5 App Store from which corporate applications and content can be securely downloaded.

Using the management console, IT can manage individual devices or device groups, push and/or retract applications and data on a device and lock or wipe only the secure workspace rather than the entire device.

Also this week, F5 Networks upgraded its Traffix SDC to enable service providers to control and manage network signaling in LTE networks and to provide connectivity between legacy and roaming networks with its Signaling System 7 interworking function.

Traffix SDC 4.0 extends protocol support for RADIUS, LDAP and other legacy protocols; includes a new graphical user interface with an improved dashboard; provides network-wide analytics and statistics that draw information from multi-SDC sites; and supports new hardware architecture.

Earlier this month, F5 acquired LineRate Systems, a software-defined networking firm, for an undisclosed consideration. Through this acquisition, F5 gains access to LineRate's layer 7+ networking services technology, intellectual property and engineering staff.

F5 Networks was not idle in January either. At the end of the month, it unveiled cloud-scale capabilities for its core ADC products.

For more:
- see F5 Networks' earnings release
- check out F5's releases on the F5 Mobile App Manager, F5 Traffix upgrade and LineRate acquisition
- read The Motley Fool's commentary

Related articles:
F5 Networks' high-end ADC appliance off to 'strong start,' says Dell'Oro Group
F5 Networks takes pole position in ADC market studies