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F5 Announces Winners of DevCentral iRules Contest

F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV), the global leader in Application Delivery Networking, today announced the winners of its third DevCentral iRule, Do You? contest. After evaluating the submissions, a team of industry experts and F5 personnel-along with votes from the DevCentralSM community-honored six application developers and network professionals for their BIG-IP® iRules development expertise. The winning contributors, and their iRules, are among the best at addressing real-world application delivery challenges and expanding the value of F5® technology investments.

"First held in 2005, the ongoing success of this global contest underscores the ingenuity of DevCentral members in leveraging iRules to meet complex and constantly changing application delivery needs," said Jeff Browning, Senior Director of Product Management at F5. "This contest showcases iRules' unique capabilities and celebrates the collaborative spirit that has helped DevCentral grow to a vibrant community of over 50,000 members worldwide. The F5 DevCentral team thanks all participants for their excellent entries. We are continually inspired by the new and thoughtful ways customers and partners deploy iRules to move their businesses forward."

Contest entries were divided into two separate categories: customers and partners.

iRules Contest Winners - Customer Division

First Place iRule: "Pool Member List" by Chetan Bhatt (USA)

This iRule was written to display the status of all pools and related members on a BIG-IP device. It allows application owners to view the status of their application quickly from web browsers as well as iPhone and BlackBerry devices. And the real success was to provide this information without the backend complexity of SNMP setups.

Without viable alternative options, this iRule helped uphold the customer's IT support model, simplified application access, centralized process management, and enabled mobile device access.

"iRule, Do You?" contest judges comments:

  • Jason Rahm, from the F5 DevCentral Team, commented, "Excellent use of an iRule that returns management status in client data streams."
  • Joe Pruitt, fellow DevCentral team member, said, "Good use of exception handling 'catch' and creatively storing status in an external class file via a cron job. Great example of building application logic into the network layer."
  • " F5's Jeff Browning added, "This iRule provides access by the application teams to key information (on mobile devices too!). It also reduces workload for the network/IT team-another bonus. Happier users and less work. Well done!"

According to winner Bhatt, "This iRule saved our support teams from being contacted at all hours to respond to a pool status question. Application owners can now effortlessly access their pool status information. The iRule also enables them to view the status through their iPhone and BlackBerry devices, which is extremely valuable."

Second Place iRule: "Siteminder Authentication" by Kris Weinhold (USA)

An organization wanted internal users to authenticate to the intranet using integrated Windows authentication and external or non-Windows domain users to be presented with a stylized login form.

According to Weinhold, "Siteminders' out-of-the-box authentication schemes allow these two forms of authentication independently, but do not allow us to conditionally select which form of authentication should be presented to which user. Using iRules, we have successfully implemented this logic, and optimized the number of browser redirects the user experiences when being redirected for authentication."

Third Place iRule: "RTSP Redirect" by Jari Leppala (Finland)

This iRule, contributed by a previous contest finalist, helps to more efficiently redirect RTSP requests to more than two video servers. Leppala added, "[The] video servers' own redirecting system had always been a single point of failure with no true redundancy and poor load balancing. Automatic failover saves us lots of time and effort. With intelligent load balancing, video servers scale for more customers and we save money."

iRules Contest Winners - Partner Division

First Place iRule: "EncryptOutgoingSOARequest" by Sake Blok of Ion-IP (Netherlands)

Ion-IP's customer was faced with the challenge of securely communicating with many information providers over an insecure network. To check all SSL credentials prior to this iRule, a virtual and a serverssl profile needed to be created for each distinct information provider, resulting in a significant administrative burden. This iRule makes it possible to create a general virtual and serverssl profile, and let the iRule dynamically check the common name in the certificate against the hostname in the HTTP header of the SOA request.

Comments from the judges:

  • Kirk Bauer, F5 engineer and iRule guru said, "Very original concept for a challenging problem, and quite a simple iRule to accomplish so much. Much cleaner than the alternative. I like it!"
  • Jason Rahm added, "It's amazing the business value that can be achieved in so few lines of code. I really like the use of the client-side construct within the server-side event to respond to the client."
  • Joe Pruitt stated, "This is a very creative way to reduce the need for hundreds of serverssl profiles for each application, moving the validation logic into an iRule. What's even better is that this iRule does not require external configuration of valid hostnames and is thus compatible when servers are added or removed from the system."

Winner Blok added, "This iRule initially saved hundreds of hours that were otherwise needed to configure a serverssl profile for each and every information provider. It also saves many hours needed to handle all the permutations."

Second Place iRule: "Cookie Tampering Prevention" by Henrik Gyllkrans of Advanced IP Scandinavia AB (Sweden)

Applications typically keep track of clients with the help of cookies by storing session information. In some cases, this means that session data can easily be tampered with by the client. This iRule prevents cookie tampering by keeping track of the data in the cookies sent out by sending along another (encrypted) cookie that contains hashes of all individual cookies. When the data comes back, BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager can make sure that the data has not been changed by the client.

"I'm proud and honored that my iRule was received so well by the judges," commented Gyllkrans. "I hope this iRule can help organizations around the world to deliver better and more secure sites."

Third Place iRule: "iRules Deny Repeat Login OK" by Levin Chen of Sinogrid Information Technology (China)

This iRule helps ensure that user sessions requiring a USB key are 'cleaned up' effectively after removal of the unique USB key. Due to an issue with certain browsers, a security vulnerability involving incomplete session cleanup had occurred, and this iRule helped eliminate the problem.

About the "iRule, Do You?" Contest

A panel of leading industry press and analysts, as well as the F5 DevCentral team of iRules experts, evaluated iRule entries based on a weighted scale for innovation, creativity, and business applicability. This year, a community vote also helped determine the winners. Prizes were awarded for the winning entries.

Industry experts and F5 judges included:

Full contest details are available on DevCentral at: http://devcentral.f5.com/Default.aspx?tabid=156

About iRules

iRules is an exclusive application-fluent F5 technology that provides customizable commands that leverage the power of F5's unique TMOS® platform. It defines how F5 products secure, optimize, and deliver any bi-directional IP application traffic or flow, giving customers complete and granular control over their application traffic. Based on the popular Tool Command Language (TCL) syntax and F5-specific extensions, iRules enables enterprises, service providers, and e-businesses to offload costly application functions that previously had to be performed by the applications themselves. With so many distributed applications, this centralized functional capability saves customers a tremendous amount of development work and can ensure successful application implementations without having to change the network or the application.

About DevCentral

To help customers and partners learn more about iRules, F5 created DevCentral (http://devcentral.f5.com). DevCentral is the first and largest website and community on the Internet offering practical, real-world solutions and discussions to support application delivery and bridge the gap that has existed between application developers and network professionals. Free of charge, DevCentral offers tools, techniques, and collaboration to help the F5 user community create and build solutions with iRules.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks is the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), focused on ensuring the secure, reliable, and fast delivery of applications. F5's flexible architectural framework enables community-driven innovation that helps organizations enhance IT agility and dynamically deliver services that generate true business value. F5's vision of unified application and data delivery offers customers an unprecedented level of choice in how they deploy ADN solutions. It redefines the management of application, server, storage, and network resources, streamlining application delivery and reducing costs. Global enterprise organizations, service and cloud providers, and Web 2.0 content providers trust F5 to keep their business moving forward. For more information, go to www.f5.com.

F5, DevCentral, iRules, BIG-IP, Local Traffic Manager, and TMOS are trademarks or service marks of F5 Networks, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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