This ski season, instead of buying the usual season pass to provide access to just one mountain here in Seattle, I wanted to explore more of the region so I committed to single-day and multi-day packs at a number of different mountains. This gave me the flexibility to explore more locations without feeling locked in because I had paid upfront to one place in full. In other words, my needs changed this year so I found a different way to meet them.

Using public cloud infrastructures can be similar. Sometimes you know you need a solution for the long-term, and other times you want to try before you buy, want to test multiple clouds, or only have a short-term need. One of the most attractive attributes of any public cloud environment is without doubt the amazing operational flexibility provided to users, who can exploit a seemingly infinite capacity to dynamically spin-up (or down) instances – at the click of a button.

We’ve always tried to give our customers that operational flexibility when using the public cloud. BIG-IP Virtual Editions (VEs) have been available in Azure for some time now through the Bring Your Own License (BYOL) option and through F5’s Good, Better, Best (GBB) licensing bundles, both offering the same breadth of application delivery and security services as physical BIG-IP devices.

Now, F5 is expanding the degree of flexibility available to its customers deploying their applications in Microsoft Azure with the introduction of Pay As You Go utility billing (PAYG) for its BIG-IP VEs in the Azure Marketplace. With F5’s utility billing, customers can now implement an application delivery infrastructure with no upfront costs, pay only for what is used on an hourly basis, and trade capital outlays that must be managed over time for more flexible operational expenditures. These BIG-IP VE PAYG licenses can be allocated and revoked in Azure as and when required, easily enhancing business agility while reducing overall deployment time.

Especially compelling is pairing PAYG utility billing with F5’s Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates, which provide developers and system administrators with a simple way to create automatically deployable templates that describe the Azure resources, dependencies or run-time parameters needed to run applications. F5 lets customers easily deploy the basic compute infrastructure through the creation of virtual private clouds (VPCs), subnets, and BIG-IP instances. These ARM templates can then be further customized by customers to suit their individual requirements, providing greater agility as they move toward a fully automated cloud infrastructure.

Utility billing may be most appealing to F5 customers considering a move to the cloud who want to try and test F5’s cloud-based services on a limited basis to determine the best way to support their applications and business needs. Alternatively, this payment model is usually the most cost-effective approach for customers whose applications typically experience inconsistent or variable traffic levels, as it enables dynamic application delivery services to extend to additional application instances during peak traffic times.

For the hourly pricing of supported BIG-IP VEs (25Mbps, 200Mbps and 1Gbps), F5 has taken a consistent approach across public cloud platforms. That is, VEs will cost the same in both the Azure Marketplace, AWS Marketplace and other public clouds where F5 may operate in the future. See the F5 Ready Cloud Program to learn about F5 utility billing in other major clouds.

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