F5 Networks, represented locally by EnterWeb, has announced the release of new Application Ready Solutions for Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. These F5 solutions provide support for Microsoft's recently released DirectAccess and BranchCache technologies, which are new features of the Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 operating systems.

Along with the release of Exchange 2010 and Forefront Protection 2010 for Exchange Server, this announcement is the latest in a series of solution updates from F5 Networks aimed at improving scalability and performance of business-critical applications from Microsoft. F5 Application Ready Solutions help to increase the capacity of Windows servers by offloading CPU-intensive operations, and ensure that F5 Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) are optimised for Microsoft environments.
Microsoft DirectAccess provides easier remote access to corporate resources with comprehensive management capabilities and integrated security enforcement, which allows IT departments to manage remote access at a lower cost. The F5 solution for DirectAccess enables enterprise customers to scale their deployments and enjoy the same benefits as other ADC-optimised applications. BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager can proxy DirectAccess connections to ensure that users have quick access to the best-performing server resources, improving the performance and scalability of DirectAccess across multiple servers.
In addition, F5's customisable iRules commands enable IT organisations to ensure that specific client requests will be routed through the appropriate DirectAccess server. With iRules, IT organisations retain DirectAccess functionality in large deployments with multiple DirectAccess servers without compromising functionality or security.
Branch office users are traditionally challenged by low bandwidth connections to the files and web content they need to accomplish their daily tasks. Low bandwidth results in long file download times and lost productivity. As a part of the Application Ready Solution for Windows Server 2008 R2, F5's support for BranchCache increases server capacity by offloading intensive computations used to alias web content requests from Windows 7 clients at branch locations.
This solution also functions as a transition technology to bring the benefits of BranchCache to all Windows 7 client users where web servers have not yet been upgraded to Windows Server 2008 R2. For servers not yet running Windows 2008 R2, the F5 solution provides the infrastructure visibility and intelligence necessary for those servers to participate in a BranchCache solution where Windows 7 clients are deployed, significantly reducing bandwidth consumption.
"Microsoft's DirectAccess and BranchCache technologies highlight the business value of Windows 7 client and Windows Server 2008 R2 working together to provide new, transformational features that increase user productivity," says Mike Schutz, director of Windows Server Marketing at Microsoft. "Mobile workers will realise tremendous productivity increases through anytime access, and businesses will lower their cost of delivering this access in a secure, manageable way using DirectAccess and BranchCache. F5's Application Ready Solutions amplify this value for end-users and corporate IT departments by providing tested, validated solutions to streamline application deployments."
Calvin Rowland, vice-president of application partner programs at F5, adds: "Application delivery and optimisation for remote users is becoming a more common concern for IT departments. In order to ensure the productivity and connection of these employees, companies need to deploy applications and technologies to enable remote access just as they enable onsite access. F5 has worked closely with Microsoft to increase our solution base for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. F5 Application Ready Solutions provide customers with increased worker productivity, greater ROI for IT departments, increased confidence of solution interoperability, and enhanced scalability for faster, easier technology deployments."