F5, considered the market-share leader in application delivery control (ADC), today released new versions of its flagship BIG-IP product that make it easier to use the company’s load balancer, firewall and other application delivery services not only in data centers but in the public cloud.
The maturation of BIG-IP represents a broader shift among ADC vendors to embrace public cloud. Traditionally these ADC products have been optimized for applications that are hosted on infrastructure controlled by customers. As more and more applications shift to the public infrastructure as a service cloud, vendors have evolved their products to work in those environments too.
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“With digital transformation and an increase pace of innovation come new challenges,” says F5 Senior Vice President of Public Cloud Calvin Rowland. “Companies are deploying more applications than ever at a rate never seen across infrastructures that are perceived to be, and in many cases are much more complex than traditional environments. Yet applications are expected to perform the same way.”
F5 today announced a new version of its BIG-IP platform that Rowland says has “investment protection” for carrying the platform into the public cloud. When customers buy a license for the company’s latest Big-IP iSeries, the license works in the public clouds from Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Oracle as well. It comes with new programmability features, it now supports the node.JS programming language and there are new integrations with private cloud platforms including from OpenStack, Cisco and VMware. BIG-IP iSeries starts at $17,995 for the i2600 model and is available immediately.
Other F5 news includes a new partnership, effective immediately, with vendor Equinix, one of the leading companies in cloud exchange platforms. Equinix data centers around the world host customer collocated infrastructure and typically serve as an on-ramp to using the public cloud. Through the partnership, F5 ADC services will be available natively from Equinix facilities.
F5 also laid out plans for future developments. New Application Service Proxies are designed specifically for use in the public cloud. These products are more simple to use and have a lighter weight footprint, making them ideal for distributed environments, Rowland says. An Application Connector feature discovers cloud-hosted instances and automatically connects them back to customers’ existing on premises infrastructures. F5 also has plans to support application containers in future ADC release. Application Connectors will come packaged with sales of BIG-IP iSeries, with some additional licensing costs for use in the public cloud. The proxies and container integrations will be free and all new features are expected to be available in the first quarter of the company’s next fiscal year.
F5’s top competitors such as A10, Citrix NetScaler, and Radware are fresh off their own pivots to embracing the cloud. A10, for example, earlier this year purchased cloud-based ADC vendor Appcito and is in the process of integrating those products into its platform.