infoTECH Feature

December 08, 2009

F5 BIG-IP Products Serve AKO/DKO Emerging Technologies Laboratory

F5 Networks (News - Alert), Inc., a provider of Application Delivery Networking, has announced that its BIG-IP products offer a key infrastructure component that is foundational for maintaining application delivery and high availability for the Army Knowledge Online/Defense Knowledge Online, or “AKO/DKO,” Emerging Technologies Laboratory.

Established by Northrop Grumman (News - Alert) Corp., the AKO/DKO ETL is a scaled replica of the AKO/DKO production environment that provides for realistic testing, rapid prototyping and preliminary integration of new capabilities before implementation. The new laboratory is set to open August 10, 2009.

A partnership between Northrop Grumman and the United States Army, the AKO/DKO offers a single enterprise portal serving as the entry point for all U.S. Department of Defense and authorized users to access Defense Department and government intranets that support operations, missions and critical support processes for forces throughout the world.

Skip Magness, AKO/DKO program manager at Northrop Grumman, said that, from the beginning of the implementation, key factors for success with the AKO/DKO ETL included an infrastructure comprised of the most robust solutions for application delivery.
“The sheer volume of traffic that the AKO/DKO portal generates required solutions that enhance security, manage and redirect traffic, reduce server loads, and provide for disaster recovery if necessary,” Magness said. “With the continuing growth of service portal traffic, we also required scalable solutions to meet the needs of the users. We are seeing excellent results with the solutions we’ve implemented.”

For the launch of the AKO/DKO ETL, Northrop Grumman deployed multiple F5 BIG-IP solutions, including BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager to load balance, secure and optimize application traffic; BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager for WAN high availability with seamless disaster recovery and routing; and BIG-IP Web Accelerator to reduce server processor utilization and bandwidth usage.

This new laboratory will create a globally redundant test environment, much like that of the AKO/DKO production environment. The AKO/DKO Emerging Technologies Laboratory will be located in Northrop Grumman’s McLean, Va., facilities and is part of the Transformational, Research, Integration and Demonstration network. It is expected to bring new capabilities to AKO/DKO users more quickly and reliably than ever before and with reduced risk.

“Application security, optimization, and availability are critical, especially when portal usage increases,” Nick Urick, vice president of Federal Sales at F5, said. “Working together with Northrop Grumman, we determined which BIG-IP solutions would provide the highest levels of performance, security, and scalability for the AKO/DKO ETL. The goal for Northrop Grumman is to enable more usability and reliability for people using this important portal, and F5 BIG-IP solutions have a track record of success.”

Last month, F5 announced its new Application Ready Solutions for Microsoft (News - Alert) Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. These new solutions offer support for Microsoft’s recently released DirectAccess and BranchCache technologies. DirectAccess and BranchCache are two important new features of the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems.

The company also signed a deal  with Standard Life to enhance the company’s application security. In a project supported by information security services specialist Vistorm, the solution leverages F5 BIG-IP Application Security (News - Alert) Manager software running on multiple F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager devices.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire

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