F5 Networks has announced BIG-IQ Cloud, a new software-based management solution that enables customers to deploy application delivery and network services in a consistent, fast, and repeatable manner across public and private clouds, traditional data centres and hybrid environments.
With an extensible, modular architecture, BIG-IQ offers an intelligent framework that centralises management of the application control plane to provide intuitive, flexible, and scalable management capabilities for the F5 BIG-IQ product family.
This solution is a key milestone in supporting F5’s goals of delivering application-layer SDN services and bringing superior application intelligence and programmability to software defined data centres.
“Organisations are pursuing a wide variety of on-premises and off-premises cloud solutions to bolster efficiency and reduce costs,” says Jason Needham, VP of Product Management and Marketing at F5.
“With BIG-IQ Cloud, F5 customers can seamlessly configure and automate application delivery services – such as availability and optimisation – in cloud and hybrid infrastructures. In line with our vision for application-layer SDN, BIG-IQ Cloud offers customers an effective way to dynamically scale services, infrastructure, and application resources in concert.”
Today’s organisations are looking to move their applications to the cloud as a means to increase infrastructure agility and reduce costs. However, many enterprises have found that dedicated orchestration and management tools are needed to fully realise the benefits of this transition while maintaining visibility across their systems.

BIG-IQ Cloud represents a unique approach in addressing these challenges as organisations integrate their application architectures with emerging cloud solutions. By leveraging the rich application intelligence and visibility inherent in F5’s market-leading BIG-IP solutions, BIG-IQ Cloud extends valuable services and control capabilities to the management plane.

Key capabilities of BIG-IQ Cloud include:

* Orchestrated application delivery and network services – with BIG-IQ Cloud, services can be federated across cloud systems to simplify management. For example, BIG-IQ Cloud can be integrated with VMware network virtualisation to simplify the process of provisioning application delivery and network services as part of a VMware workflow.
The solution’s REST API enables users to integrate F5 technologies with existing management and cloud orchestration tools to create customised solutions for enhanced infrastructure and resource control. Additionally, network virtualisation controller vendors can integrate their technologies with BIG-IQ via northbound APIs to co-ordinate and provision application delivery and network services.

* Self-service and automated service provisioning capabilities – with BIG-IQ Cloud, application services can be rapidly provisioned and made available to new users and systems in a matter of minutes.
Without automation tools like those offered in BIG-IQ Cloud, IT configurations can take weeks to implement manually. And, using F5 iApps templates, customers can easily create, update, and optimise services to suit their specific application mix, business priorities, and available IT resources.
Multi-tenant self-service portal for health monitoring – with its convenient management dashboard, BIG-IQ Cloud enables organisations to provide differentiated application delivery and network services while monitoring application health status. Administrators gain the visibility to effectively troubleshoot issues and assist in fault isolation analysis.
This is essential for organisations extending their applications into public cloud environments where visibility is required to pinpoint any cause of poor performance or application issues. Moreover, this approach also allows cloud providers to differentiate or tier the application services they offer to customers, increasing providers’ visibility into resource usage and opening up new revenue opportunities.
Taken together, these capabilities provide enterprise customers and cloud providers with a single, consistent, and actionable view of application delivery and network services, regardless of where these services are implemented.
As a result, organisations can simplify IT operations and considerably reduce the amount of time needed to tailor their application delivery systems for the cloud. Customers realise improved productivity with smoother application deployments, simplified management, and a reduction of manual tasks – which in turn lessens the chance of potentially costly configuration errors.
“As customers are looking to improve agility, flexibility, and security in their IT infrastructures, many are taking different routes to the cloud,” says Hatem Naguib, VP, Networking and Security at VMware.
“Our goal in working with technology partners such as F5 is to create seamless, fast, and secure solutions for customers to configure and deploy their applications with all the necessary network and security services – regardless of how individual IT teams choose to architect their systems. By combining BIG-IQ with VMware solutions, customers are able to scale their applications while maintaining control and visibility.”