clip_image002Grand Rapids is the second-largest city in Michigan, located in the lower peninsula (what we in the Midwest refer to more colloquially as “under the bridge”). There are no remarkable landmarks in Grand Rapids, like the Space Needle or the Golden Gate, both of which you can probably identify without needing the city names in which they’re located. Although Grand Rapids is growing at a rapid rate, when most people talk about Michigan, they think of Detroit and how it was long recognized as “Motor City.”

It might surprise you to learn that a significant player in the realm of virtualization happens to be headquartered in, yes, Grand Rapids. That player is Blue Medora, a leading developer of product extensions for cloud management platforms. Despite being a small company in the Midwest, they are a major figure in the VMware vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) ecosystem. Their True Visibility Suite for vRO spans multiple tiers of the data center, from data to app to infrastructure (that’s us, F5).

Now, the BIG-IP vRO plugin has been available as a community supported plugin for the last three years. Since that plugin has become the most requested third-party plugin on the VMware Solution Exchange, we’ve partnered with Blue Medora to develop a commercially supported vRO plugin for BIG-IP. A “supported vRO plugin” means we provide full integration into vRealize and have worked with Blue Medora to build a vROps management pack. This is the third such vROps plug-in from Blue Medora to support BIG-IP, and we plan to continue working just as closely with them on future plug-ins as we have been.

Customers look for fully supported plugins because organizations are would like the agility to configure and deploy application services using both F5 hardware and VEs (software). As the data center continues to bifurcate thanks to cloud and microservices, it becomes critical to be able to orchestrate and manage app services consistently without regard for its form factor. Some app services will be deployed in the “core” network, others in a virtualized, cloud-like environment, and another portion will be deployed as an integral part of the application architecture.

In many cases, a complete workflow will need to support all three combinations. A fully supported vRO plugin will allow customers to build those ‘full stack’ workflows to automate deployment and management of applications across form factors, respond to potential bottlenecks, and provide single-pane-of-glass management of their infrastructure. That means it is possible to build vRO workflows that combine BIG-IP and NSX workflows using the NSX plugin for vRO, enabling full layer 2-7 automation (the full stack).  

This complete workflow is increasingly important for IT Ops to be able to deploy faster, more frequently, and with greater consistency. We can’t enable continuous deployment until we can automate the full stack of services required to deliver apps that are fast, secure, and available.

You can virtually visit Grand Rapids and Blue Medora by heading on over to their website and requesting a trial of the new plugin.