F5 Blog

 
Archive Search Articles

Transition to the Hybrid Cloud

Applications are fundamental to today’s economy. And applications are exploding in sheer numbers, types, and sizes – to meet a large variety of needs. Users of these applications are also increasingly location-independent and mobile, and they have unforgivingly high expectations for flawless performance. 

IT organizations must respond aggressively to meet their customers’ needs, and the public cloud can be a primary tool to achieve this objective. Not surprisingly then, organizations are accelerating their journey to the cloud. Analyst surveys show that IT leaders are moving quickly to the cloud – 83% of CIOs are already adopting cloud, and 33% have a Cloud First mindset. And as a result, a significant amount of application workloads are forecast to be in public clouds within a few years.

Given their considerable investments in existing data center infrastructure, as well as other performance and regulatory requirements, many organizations will leverage hybrid cloud architectures – the combination of private infrastructure and public clouds – for the foreseeable future, as seen in a recent survey.2

F5 is a leader in virtual appliances
F5’s mission fits nicely with this journey to the cloud – because we aim to deliver the most secure, fast, and reliable applications to anyone anywhere at any time. 

Many people know F5 for its high-performance hardware platforms, ranging from entry-level appliances to the 8-slot VIPRION chassis. There are many reasons why organizations will continue to leverage hardware – to deliver the highest performance, handle processor-intensive functions like SSL processing, compression, and DDoS mitigation, and maximize throughput and connections. 

Less known is that F5 is an industry leader in delivering application services on commodity hardware for public cloud environments. In fact, F5 has now offered its BIG-IP Virtual Editions (VE) for over five years and has chalked up thousands of customer deployments in that time.

BIG-IP VE is a virtual appliance that delivers market-leading application services with the same user interface, management, programmability, and breadth of features as on BIG-IP hardware. BIG-IP VE can be used in private data centers and is available in leading public cloud providers. In addition, F5 now also offers the LineRate Point and Precision products, which are lightweight, cost-effective, and highly programmable virtual load balancers as part of its application services portfolio.


F5 is in many public cloud environments
One significant challenge that organizations face in the journey to the cloud is having to settle for using application services with different vendors, such as smaller “cloud-based” ADC vendors or open-source vendors, in these environments. Or the cloud provider may offer rudimentary load balancing and DNS services themselves. 

Unfortunately, across the hundreds if not thousands of applications that IT organizations must support in private data centers, hybrid, and public cloud-only deployments, this service fragmentation can lead to slow and expensive customized cloud implementations, a lack of cloud provider choice and mobility, and significant security vulnerabilities.

F5’s goal is to enable organizations to deploy a unified platform of leading application services across all their physical and cloud-based deployments of application workloads. 

As a result, F5 has worked closely with a broad set of cloud providers to make the full portfolio of F5’s application services easy to obtain and provision.  F5 is currently available in leading public cloud marketplaces like Amazon Web Services, VMware vCloud Air, and Verizon Terremark, and will soon be available in other cloud marketplaces as well.

Having F5 wherever needed in the public cloud enables consistent service delivery with a number of benefits:

  • Empowers you to maintain a consistent security posture across all of your clouds
  • Familiar platform and services so your team loses no time in delivering consistent application performance across clouds
  • Integrates with your preferred cloud technology and cloud/orchestration tools

In addition, through BIG-IQ, F5’s centralized management and orchestration solution, F5 removes the friction that IT organizations face with transitioning applications among traditional physical and cloud architectures.


F5 provides flexible licensing models to fit different business scenarios
F5 offers flexible licensing models to consume F5 application services in the public cloud, to best fit your needs. For example, for dev/test and temporary capacity use cases, F5 offers utility billing in hourly, daily, and monthly increments so you pay for what you use, with no upfront capital investment or risk. If you want to implement run-rate production workloads or disaster recovery capability, F5 offers BYOL that enable you to move licenses between public clouds and data centers as your needs change, as well as annual subscription licensing for flexibility and OpEx-oriented pricing. Finally, F5 offers volume licensing subscriptions (1- and 3-year subscriptions) for scale production of VE instances in private and public clouds.

Let’s get started
The best way to get started with F5 in the public cloud is to try out a free trial or contact your local F5 sales office to gain early access to other public cloud environments.

 

1 UBS CIO Report: June 30 2014

2 RightScale State of Cloud Report 2015