Hosting company enters load balancing

Melbourne-based hosting company SmartyHost has deployed load-balancing network infrastructure to improve the reliability and uptime of its operations.

SmartyHost has installed two BIG-IP 6400 systems from F5 Networks, which allow traffic loads to be balanced between servers, to manage network traffic.

The BIG-IP systems include a compression module that optimizes bandwidth and accelerates the delivery of server applications.

SmartyHost claims the new systems have enabled new Web sites to be loaded five to six times faster.

The systems are also being used for Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption certificate management.

Anoosh Manzoori, SmartyHost managing director, said the hosting provider is now gaining a new customer every five minutes, so a "spontaneous and automated" approach to operations was needed.

"The BIG-IP systems are a huge competitive advantage for us, because they help us provide a better customer experience," Manzoori said.

F5 Networks claims its BIG-IP systems can help reduce page download times by more than 200 percent, and decrease bandwidth usage by 60 to 80 percent.

"For our developers, the BIG-IP systems proved to be straightforward to install into the network," Manzoori said. "They are also fairly easy machines to run and have a GUI that allows them to be managed remotely."

Dan Matte, F5 Networks' vice president of marketing and business development, said the company has been successful at the level above the infrastructure layer where there is "more intelligence" in the network.

Matte attributes much of F5's growth to a drive to consolidate infrastructure and a need to better look at the network.

"We developed our platform because deep packet inspection just didn't cut it," Matte said. "Customers need something that is as flexible as a proxy but doesn't sacrifice speed."

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