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Content switches (also sometimes called application switches) is a class of network device that is becoming increasingly common in medium to large sized data centres and web-facing infrastructures.

In functional terms what you get here is a dedicated computer running a real OS (the BigIP LTMs run a variant of Linux) with added hardware to handle the packet manipulation and switching aspects. The content switching application, running on top of the OS and interacting with the hardware, provides both in-depth control and powerful traffic processing facilities.

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