F5 Networks gunning for more data center control

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Cisco owns networking, right? Not when it comes to the rapidly growing Layer 4-7 switching market. There, F5 Networks has managed to garner nearly 50% market share, while Cisco's share has actually declined. John McAdam, F5's CEO, attributes the company's success to having won ownership of certain strategic control points in today's consolidated data centers. In this installment of the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, McAdam talked with IDGE Chief Content Officer John Gallant about F5's efforts to make infrastructure more agile, how the company is helping IT leaders navigate the move to cloud computing, new security and mobility challenges facing enterprises and why his Seattle-based company so often beats Cisco when customers choose an application switching partner.

(Read more from the IDG Enterprise CEO Interview Series, including Q&As with Cisco CEO John Chambers, Riverbed CEO Jerry Kennelly and SAS CEO Jim Goodnight.)

F5 is described as an application delivery vendor, but that term is nebulous to some folks and it doesn't really convey all of the things that you do. You cover everything from application acceleration, wide-area network (WAN) optimization, security, policy and more. Can you crystallize F5's mission and what sets it apart from other infrastructure companies?

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