F5 Networks, represented in South Africa by EnterWeb, has announced integration between its BIG-IP solutions and VMware vSphere 4 and VMware vCenter Server, together creating a scalable and extensible platform that allows IT administrators to dramatically improve control over virtual environments.

Working in concert, VMware vCenter Server and F5 BIG-IP solutions enable customers to dynamically provision application resources, reduce costs, and maximise the automation and agility of their IT infrastructures.
Integration with VMware vCenter Server is made possible through F5's open API, iControl, which enables rapid integration with third party management systems. Due to the flexibility of iControl, organisations can tailor their networks to be more responsive to the dynamic changes happening in the virtual infrastructure.
Together, VMware vCenter Server and F5 BIG-IP systems provide a resilient platform that can continually optimise application delivery and enable IT organisations to more rapidly align with business needs by adapting to changes in business requirements or the overall IT environment.
"VMware vSphere and VMware vCenter Server help customers respond rapidly and easily to application demands," says Shekar Ayyar, vice-president: Infrastructure Alliances at VMware. "F5 BIG-IP solutions extend this agility to the network to enable consistency in application state throughout the data centre and in private clouds, enabling faster responses with less manual intervention."
This integration enables VMware vCenter Server to provide specific instructions on how F5 solutions should handle application traffic for newly provisioned or deprovisioned virtual machines. Instructions can include adding or removing virtual machines from BIG-IP's load balancing pool or even holding connections until the virtual machines are confirmed to be responsive. Instructions can even be given in the event that virtual machines are consolidated onto a reduced number of hosts by VMware Distributed Power Management. This automation minimises the need for manual intervention and greatly reduces the possibility of configuration errors.
BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager (GTM) complements VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager by extending business continuity/disaster recovery automation functionality to the network, reducing IT administration time and effort, and substantially mitigating the risk of human error. In the event of site failure, BIG-IP GTM works with VMware vCenter Site Recovery Manager to redirect application traffic to an alternative data centre or to the cloud, and ensure that applications remain available.
"With virtualisation, applications are becoming more dynamic and responsive to variable business and technical environments," says Jim Ritchings, vice-president of Business Development at F5. "However, there is more to delivering an application to an end user than simply the application instance itself. The rest of the infrastructure that connects applications and users must be as responsive and flexible as the applications to ensure maximum resource availability and efficiency. F5's integration with VMware vCenter Server helps to ensure business value and IT agility for organisations of all sizes."