F5 is offering users a chance to assess the capabilities of its Big-IP Application Delivery Controller. The company claimed that this will accelerate the time it takes to test and deploy applications - without buying additional hardware.

The company has launched a trial version of its free trial version of its new virtual appliance, the Big IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) Virtual Edition (VE).

According to Owen Cole F5's Technical Director UK Ireland and Sub Saharan Africa, the virtual appliance will be a real boon to organisations who want to assess how an application is going to work. "This is really for functional testing - not for capacity - to try to see what the application can do. It's not something they can do with the usual company network

He said that it was useful for potential customers who had used Big-IP before and needed to get a handle on how i-Rules, the company's scripting language worked. To tie in with the announcement, F5 has announced a free online training course,  'Big-IP LTM Essentials Training Class'. However, Coles said that iRules was very intuitive and IT professionals would not find it difficult to pick up.

The company has been offering the service as a download on its developers' website for some time but has now decided to offer it to a wider audience.