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ODN Uses F5 Solutions for Caching, Load Balancing, and DDoS Protection

Internet service provider ODN needed to replace its server farm, which was quickly becoming outdated. With F5 solutions, the company was able to utilize a central source for caching, load balancing, and DDoS protection. ODN now benefits from standardized, reliable, and future-proof systems that can be managed systematically.

"Thanks to F5, our company and our customers are benefitting from improved security, simplified management, and new features.” Frank Horst, System Engineer, ODN

Business Challenges

Headquartered in Fürth (Bavaria), ODN developed from a standard provider to an Internet system house focused on IT consulting and server housing. Since 1997, the company has handled IT projects—from consulting to operation, and single server to server farm—for customers from a variety of industries. Its data centers in Nuremberg and Fürth deliver high-performance system operations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Qualified ODN professionals manage large server platforms, Internet portals, email servers, and database systems behind the scenes. In addition, they develop individual software, migrate systems, and manage entire websites. As a result, ODN requires a robust, failsafe, and high-performing infrastructure to offer fast and reliable services to customers.

"High availability and system speeds are fundamental requirements to provide our services," explains Frank Horst, System Engineer at ODN. "Our previous open-source-based server farm was not able to handle this since it was becoming outdated and the first components were already showing weaknesses. In addition, it required a comparatively complex administration which no longer corresponded to modern standards. Therefore, we were looking to replace it with a modern, standardized solution which offers protection from DDoS attacks in addition to caching and load balancing."

"With Silverline DDoS Protection and F5’s BIG-IP platform, we now have access to all relevant technology features from a single source." Frank Horst, System Engineer, ODN

Solution

During the selection process, ODN researched various providers. Since F5 RAM Cache supports caching and load balancing on a single platform, the ODN experts were won over. In addition, they could introduce new safety measures using F5 Silverline DDoS Protection, a service delivered via the F5 Silverline platform.

Silverline DDoS Protection uses integrated features for attack detection and mitigation, ensuring that even comprehensive volumetric DDoS attacks are not able to reach the network. F5 security specialists are available 24x7 and utilize comprehensive multilayered L3–L7 security solutions in a targeted manner, so that a customer's systems stay online during a DDoS attack.

"With Silverline DDoS Protection and F5’s BIG-IP platform, we now have access to all relevant technology features from a single source," says Horst. "The feature scope is so large that we are not even using everything at this time. This way, we are securing a future-proof solution that protects investments."

ODN is now using F5’s BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM), BIG-IP DNS, BIG-IP Application Acceleration Manager (AAM), BIG-IP Advanced Firewall Manager (AFM), BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM), and BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) modules. "The migration to the new solution went smoothly," says Horst. "Supported by the F5 consultants, we were able to clear requirements in advance and complete the installation within a short timeframe."

Benefits

Using the new F5 solutions, ODN is better able to protect its customers from DDos attacks and has simplified its environment by consolidating caching and load balancing onto a single platform. In addition, the Internet system house is better prepared for future requirements due to the increased range of functions.

Improved protection from DDoS attacks

The risk of DDos attacks is constantly increasing, especially with the arrival of the Internet of Things. Many connected devices like home routers, IP cameras, or baby monitors are poorly protected. As a result, they can easily be hijacked and integrated into a botnet. According to current estimates, these botnets consist of around 100,000 devices. Due to the size of botnets, cybercriminals can generate large amounts of data to paralyze company systems. At present, a company is attacked every day and the trend is still rising.

"Using F5 Silverline DDoS Protection, we are able to offer our data center customers a high degree of protection from DDoS attacks," says Horst. "This is becoming increasingly important these days since companies of all sizes and industries can become victims of DDoS attacks. The speed with which these threats can be detected and stopped is hugely important to secure service continuity and limit the damage. F5 offers seamless, flexible and readily available solutions that support fast responses—irrespective of the kind of DDoS attack that is being carried out. This way we are prepared for any incidents."

Simplified environment on a single platform

Where ODN previously used a heterogeneous caching farm preceding a load balancer (and in turn preceding the web servers), the company is now using all features on a single platform. The consolidation simplifies the environment significantly and facilitates administration due to greater transparency. At the same time, the new solution provides higher performance, availability, and reliability. It also offers sufficient capacities due to fast scaling options and is supported by F5 experts.

"The F5 solutions, we allow us to simplify administrative processes," says Horst. "This way, we are profiting from a reliable platform for caching and load balancing which, for the most part, is automated and does not require manual adjustments or ongoing maintenance. This offers an advantage with our customers since we are deploying standardized, known, and proven solutions from a leading manufacturer."

Future-proof solutions

The new F5 solutions offer a significantly enhanced functionality compared to previously deployed systems. This means that ODN is not just offering future-proof solutions that protect investments, but is also able to provide advanced offers to its clients. This is especially valid for two ODN customers in the media and insurance fields.

"A big German sports magazine is already using BIG-IP AAM to enhance application performance," says Horst. "Not only does this improve caching, but also supports a faster execution of detailed evaluations. It is expected that this customer will be applying additional optimization in the future. Another customer in the insurance field is also benefitting from the new F5 solution by deploying the web application firewall  to better protect online applications. Thanks to F5, our company and our customers are benefitting from improved security, simplified management und new features."