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F5 delivers cloud application services

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F5 Networks has unveiled a series of solutions and innovations designed for customers requiring rich, consistent application services across private, public, and hybrid cloud application deployments.
In addition, F5 announced combined solutions with Equinix Cloud Exchange and Performance Hub that empower enterprises to deploy business-critical applications in multiple public cloud infrastructures with leading security, availability, and performance.
As businesses transform to digital-first organisations, applications and associated services are vital for competitive differentiation. F5 is bringing these solutions to market as IT must enable both established and emerging environments to better integrate DevOps practices, agile development, and cloud resources. F5 sits in a unique position at the convergence of cloud and data centre application services, enabling customers to embrace modern infrastructures without sacrificing security and control.
“A digital economy means that applications and services must be easy to deploy, low-friction, and quick to scale to help organisations pivot toward new market opportunities,” said Ryan Kearny, EVP of Product Development and CTO, F5. “Only F5 provides programmable, feature-rich software and hardware to unify the delivery of apps across data centre and cloud environments, including container and microservices use cases. Our solutions further reduce deployment time through valuable integrations, native orchestration capabilities, and compelling partnership solutions, such as our colocation offerings with Equinix.”
Migrating IT workflows to the cloud promises significant advantages, but can place unintended stress on parallel management, security, and operations functions. While evolving their business models, organisations are challenged to deliver service enhancements to keep up with the changing requirements of growing user counts, applications, and traffic volumes. As enterprises travel different paths to the cloud, F5 is introducing technologies that bridge between established IT and more cloud-fluent infrastructure models.

The BIG-IP iSeries line of ‘software-defined hardware’ Application Delivery Controllers
F5 is expanding its BIG-IP offerings with the iSeries. The new hardware platforms incorporate industry-leading programmability with support for node.js via iRules LX, enabling customers to tailor their systems for evolving infrastructure needs. Unique to the iSeries, F5’s TurboFlex technology enables selectable performance profiles to maximise investment protection and deliver dedicated cloud, security, and app delivery optimisations. Similarly, iSeries platforms can be specifically configured to support enhanced DDoS protection, as well as private cloud and SDN technologies from organisations such as OpenStack, Cisco, and VMware.

Partner solutions with Equinix for application delivery services in colocation environments
F5’s comprehensive partnership with Equinix, leveraging both the Equinix Cloud Exchange and Performance Hub, enables enhanced global access to application delivery and security services. Through the Equinix Cloud Exchange–available in 21 markets–F5 provides direct, seamless access to its cloud services, bypassing the public Internet and thus increasing performance and security. And, by combining the F5 cloud gateway with Equinix Performance Hub, customers can take advantage of a hybrid interconnection model, providing high-speed and low-latency connectivity between multiple cloud providers and enterprise networks. The net result of F5 and Equinix efforts is an optimised, secure application delivery model that delivers the utmost in application performance and user experience possible.
Lightweight proxy and connector technologies to encourage cloud and hybrid deployments.
F5 will expand its agile software portfolio with solutions that are simple to use and integrate with management and orchestration tools. These technologies grant customers a more flexible approach to application deployment and better take advantage of the operations gains and efficiency of the cloud.
Specifically, F5 is introducing the following:
* Application Services Proxy provides basic load balancing and application traffic visibility in a small, lightweight form factor that can quickly be deployed. This gives customers ultimate flexibility in developing, testing, and scaling applications and associated services in concert with cloud and container environments.
* Container Connector offerings enable the provisioning of services for containerised applications, and make it easy to integrate capabilities from management/orchestration systems such as Kubernetes and Mesos/Marathon. For simple load balancing, Application Services Proxy can be used in highly portable environments; for more substantial application delivery services, the connector automates provisioning to a BIG-IP solution.
* Application Connector dramatically simplifies access for enterprise applications hosted in the public cloud, providing the security and availability services those applications require. To accomplish this, it delivers application services from the edge of the cloud by automatically discovering cloud-hosted instances and connecting them to the customer’s data centre or hosted location.
“F5 has defined goals of easing customers’ transition to the cloud and supporting their application-driven digital initiatives,” says Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at ZK Research. “Organisations can use the company’s hardware and virtual editions to migrate services to a cloud, hosted, or hybrid environment, with F5 technology effectively serving as an advantageous gateway.
“In the F5 framework, customers (and their app developers) can select cloud providers without limiting services to individual applications, confining themselves to restrictive use cases, or depending on shadow IT to support apps.”