Cloud enablement

A10 Goes Beyond the Command Line

A10 Networks today introduced a new version of its Application Delivery Controller (ADC) operating system that allows network operators to manage their ADCs using programmable settings, without having to resort to the command line.

The new Harmony design philosophy for the Thunder Series ADC is designed to allow network operators to develop provisioning, analytics, application and security capabilities that automatically reconfigure the network rapidly.

The A10 Networks Inc. Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS) achieves programmability by making 100% of the software capabilities addressable via APIs. Previously, only 40% was addressable through APIs; the remainder had to be manipulated through command line interfaces, says Paul Nicholson, A10 product marketing director.

The new system will enable operators to more quickly integrate machines into the network faster. "If you are deploying lots of machines, physically or virtually, you can use the API and do it faster than using the CLI," Nicholson says.

A10 also added new capabilities to ACOS, including IPsec VPN for secure interconnection between ADCs, and Web Application Firewall.

The new version of ACOS combines a policy engine, SDK and RESTful APIs to enable provisioning, analytics and security for cloud, virtual or physical Thunder ADC appliances.

The policy engine allows operators to enforce detailed policies while also using analytics tools to improve visibility and analyze data to make better policies, Nicholson says.

Next week, A10 plans to announce Cisco ACI certification, to allow network operators to manage A10 devices from a Cisco management console.

The vendor is hoping the new capabilities will attract new customers and help it further its engagement with existing network operator customers: A10 took a hit in late 2014 from the slowdown in carrier spending and will be looking to broaden its customer base and lessen its reliance on a few major clients. (See A10 Latest Victim of Carrier Spend Slowdown.)

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The new operating system should help, as the APIs will make A10's ADC more useful to network operators, reckons Gartner Inc. analyst Andrew Lerner.

"APIs are the new IP/Ethernet -- i.e., the de facto way to integrate networking services and platforms together," Lerner writes in an email to Light Reading. "Large network operators are definitely looking for well-documented and full-featured APIs when making new networking purchases, so enhancements to APIs are generally a good thing -- provided the new APIs are backwards-compatible."

A10's core customer base includes large network operators, which value A10'S ADCs and carrier-grade NAT (network address translation) systems, Lerner says. In that market, A10's most visible competitors are F5 Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: FFIV) and Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS). A10 differentiates primarily on price/performance in a small form factor. A10 is making inroads into enterprise networks by adding capabilities such as Web Application Firewall, Lerner says.

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

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