Foundry Networks launches XML switching

Foundry Networks Inc. has released a new version of its TrafficWorks Ironware operating system, which is used in its upper-layer load-balancing switches.

A key ingredient of Version 9.0 is XML switching capability to control and direct traffic based on XML tags, which should make it easier to control e-commerce traffic over extranets connected to suppliers and customers, Foundry executives said.

Among other features, 9.0 also includes an enhancement to provide denial-of-service (DOS) protection, which protects servers against TCP SYN and TCP ACK attacks, according to San Jose-based Foundry. This protection comes at 1.5 million packets/sec., a 15-fold increase over previous versions.

Bryan A. Larrieu, vice president of voice, data and system security at CheckFree Corp. in Atlanta, has been testing Version 9.0 and is especially pleased with the DOS protection improvements. He said he has used prior version and had hoped for such an enhancement.

"Foundry's service is really what has kept us with them," Larrieu said, noting that he mostly uses networking gear from Cisco Systems Inc., except for the Foundry load-balancing switches. Cisco has not focused as much as Foundry on load-balancing improvements, he said.

CheckFree operates a nationwide network with 1,200 nodes, he said.

The addition of the XML switching capability marks a first in the market for Layer 4-7 switches, said Max Flisi, an analyst at IDC in Framingham, Mass. "It's a good move for Foundry."

Foundry's competitors include Cisco, Nortel Networks Ltd., F5 Networks Inc. in Seattle and Radware Ltd. in Tel Aviv, Flisi said. The market for Layer 4-7 switches is expected to be about US$500 million in 2003, Flisi said.

Version 9.0, which will be available in September, will be a free upgrade to customers with maintenance contracts for ServerIron switches. ServerIron pricing starts at US$34,995.

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