F5 Networks: Small Conference, Big Strategy

Jul.29.08 | About: F5 Networks, (FFIV)

The F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) executive team will step into the spotlight this week at the company's partner summit in New Orleans. It's the perfect setting to get a feel for F5's short- and long-term go-to-market strategy.

Back in January, I openly wondered if F5 Networks could become the networking industry’s next $1 billion company. I will have a chance to ask IT consultants that very question during the partner event. And I'll also listen to F5 CEO John McAdam’s keynote.

This is a critical time for F5 Networks and the broader networking industry. At first glance, Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) is burying numerous rivals; Juniper (NYSE:JNPR), Avaya and 3Com (COMS) have changed executive leadership; Brocade (NASDAQ:BRCD) recently acquired Foundry Networks (FDRY) for $3 billion; and open source companies like Digium are disrupting the VoIP industry.

Meanwhile, F5 Networks is quietly on track to become the networking industry’s next $1 billion company. Sure, F5’s most recent quarterly profits didn’t impress investors. But year-over-year quarterly revenue grew 25 percent. Not a bad showing in

And most importantly: F5 is the rare networking company that actually has a strong applications-focused strategy. The company’s technology bolsters the performance of big Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Oracle (NYSE:ORCL) and SAP (NYSE:SAP) applications, among others.

So, what do partners think of F5? And what’s the mood within F5? I will poke around in a quest to answer those questions. Yesterday’s speaker lineup at the conference included:

  • Steve Hale, VP of F5’s North American Partner Organization
  • John McAdam, President and CEO of F5
  • Andy Reinland, Senior VP and CFO of F5
  • And several other members of the executive team

And today, I will be sitting down with several of F5’s key partners to see how they’re feeling about the company, the economy and their overall business prospects.

Disclosure: none