A sea change


For years, businesses have invested time, resources and money in data centers to power the complex systems that run their business. Millions of dollars and years of work were put into infrastructure that enabled a wave of incredible growth for companies as technology went from enabler to true business driver.

We are now fully in the next era of technology-driven business transformation. The cloud, of course, is a driver of this transformation as it promises to enable people, organizations and things to connect and engage more efficiently in new deeper ways that benefit both companies and their customers. Artificial intelligence and machine learning, for example, are already making it possible to synthesize unfathomable amounts of data, identify trends and, more importantly, take action. All at the speed of light and, increasingly, without human intervention.

The power of applications


Despite this much change, there is a constant: applications. Just as before, applications are a powerful vehicle by which businesses are transforming how they operate and how they engage with their customers. But this has created a new set of challenges – businesses rely on an ever-increasing number of applications, deployed more rapidly than ever, increasing the complexity of their infrastructures and giving malicious actors a source of new vectors to mount attacks. All the while customer expectations of service and product continue to rise.

It is said that digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. Every company has a different route and is at a different place in that journey. Many companies are exploring ways to scale private cloud deployments by embracing open source. Others, while moving mission critical workloads to the public cloud, are struggling with the need to keep latency low and maintain security controls. There is also growing tension between new cloud-based app development models and traditional IT approaches that needs to be resolved. And underlining all of this is the need for consistent application management and policy regardless of where the app lives and who owns it.

Intelligent application delivery


F5 sits in a unique position at the convergence of cloud and traditional data center application services. Our vision is to bridge these worlds – to power intelligent application delivery services that will give companies the ability to succeed and thrive in the market today and tomorrow, all with the stability, security and compliance businesses require.

This vision has led us to a set of core beliefs:

  • Application development, deployment and usage should pace the business, not restrain it. This means the right people should be doing the right work to accelerate time to market and maximize investments. IT needs tools to be agile and responsive in delivering needed security, stability and compliance, while developers focus on delivering business value through their applications.
     
  • The customer defines the ecosystem, not the vendor. Every company has unique needs and uses combinations of vendors for the products and services that best meet those needs. Applications delivery services should work on any platform, in any scenario for all customers.
     
  • Application delivery services should surround the application, not weigh it down. They should be low friction, easy to obtain, and allow businesses to manage increasingly complex and sprawling app infrastructures.

Modern services for today’s applications


F5 is delivering on this vision by building application delivery services that are flexible, programmable and automatable. We are enabling customers to quickly develop and deploy scalable applications and services anywhere, on any platform. We give them the ability to apply consistent policies that span data centers, private clouds, public clouds and hybrids of all three. Ultimately, our goal is to help customers decrease the total cost of their application infrastructures, while increasing the speed at which they bring innovation to market.

Today, we’re taking a big step forward and announcing a series of solutions and innovations designed for customers requiring rich, consistent application services across private, public and hybrid cloud application deployments:

  • BIG-IP® iSeries™ line of Application Delivery Controllers: The new hardware platforms incorporate industry-leading programmability, with support for node.js via iRules LX™, enabling customers to tailor their systems for evolving infrastructure needs like enhanced DDoS protection, private cloud and SDN technologies. F5’s SVP of Product Management, Sangeeta Anand, has more on iSeries in her blog.
     
  • Partner solutions with Equinix: Through the Equinix Cloud Exchange, F5 provides direct, seamless access to its cloud services, bypassing the public Internet and thus increasing performance and security. By combining the F5 cloud gateway with Equinix Performance Hub, customers can take advantage of a hybrid interconnection model, providing high-speed and low-latency connectivity between multiple cloud providers and enterprise networks. For more about F5 technology and Equinix, check out this blog post (also published today).
     
  • New technologies: Finally, we are expanding our agile software portfolio by introducing three new, innovative solutions that provide a lightweight way for customers to deploy and manage application services in cloud environments:
    • Application Services Proxy provides basic load balancing and application traffic visibility in a small, lightweight form factor that can quickly be deployed. This gives customers ultimate flexibility in developing, testing, and scaling applications and associated services in concert with cloud and container environments.
    • Container Connector enables the provisioning of services for containerized applications, and make it easy to integrate capabilities from management/orchestration systems such as Kubernetes and Mesos/Marathon.
    • Application Connector dramatically simplifies the delivery of application services and security in the cloud by automatically discovering cloud-hosted instances and connecting them to the customer’s data center or hosted location.

Limitless possibilities


As companies progress on their individual journeys to the cloud, F5 is driving a world of opportunities. Imagine a hybrid cloud deployment that provides the ability to identify significant shifts in customer demand and pivot quickly to address those needs – all while customer data is secured and compliance enforced. Imagine developers and IT coming together to rapidly develop and launch an application that helps scale a line of business from hundreds to millions of customers – all with the same reliability, security and control of a traditional datacenter deployment. We want to enable future without compromises, where possibilities of what an organization can achieve will be dictated not by limits in technology and tools, but only by the vision and creativity of its people and products.