F5 Networks takes pole position in ADC market studies

Cloud adoption, data center virtualization expected to fuel ADC market growth

F5 Networks was named as the leader in the application delivery controller (ADC) market in two separate reports--one by Gartner and the other by Info-Tech Research.

An ADC is a device that is placed in a data center between the firewall and one or more application servers and performs application acceleration and load balancing. "Enterprises use ADCs to optimize reliability, end-user performance, data center resource use and security for a variety of applications," said the report.

In the latest Gartner magic quadrant report, F5 Networks, along with Citrix System (Nasdaq: CTXS) and Radware (Nasdaq: RDWR), were placed in the leader quadrant for the ADC market.

F5 is the market leader, although it has seen increased competition during the last year. "F5's application life-cycle-focused innovation, centered on iApps, and performance enhancements, including an SPDY gateway, continue to lead the industry, and its broader security and remote access capabilities make the Big-IP/Viprion a powerful, multifunction system," the Gartner report said.

Following closely behind F5 is Citrix, which is one of the three largest ADC vendors in terms of overall revenue. Citrix is good at leveraging its existing customer relationships in server-based computing and hosted virtual desktop and provides strong support of advanced features based on an architectural vision and solid understanding of the application environment, Gartner said.

Radware offers a "broad vision of the role of the ADC and an architecture framework that encompasses a range of ADC capabilities, in terms of both product size and functionality," Gartner said. Its framework, known as virtual application delivery infrastructure (VADI), "supports scale-up (pay-as-you-grow), device consolidation (virtualized physical appliance) and scale-out (across clusters and multiple data centers)," said the report, adding that Radware offers products in areas such as mobile, security and SIP trunking, as well as multifunctional ADC platforms.

Gartner's judgments are supported by a recent ADC market report by Info-Tech Research, which identified F5 as the market leader and Citrix, Radware and Riverbed (Nasdaq: RVBD) as market "champions."

According to Info-Tech, Citrix offers a "feature-rich ADC solution at a very attractive price," Radware offers "flexibility of deployment" and is "easily accessible to most enterprises" and Riverbed's product can be "deployed into virtually any physical, virtual or cloud data center environment."

As enterprises move toward cloud adoption and data center virtualization, demand for ADCs will continue to increase. The next-generation ADCs are key components in cloud-based and virtualized environments.

For more:
- see Gartner's report
- check out Info-Tech's research (.pdf)

Related articles:
WAN optimization segment posts double digit recovery
Application delivery controller revenue jumped 5% in Q1 2012