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F5 execs: We're blasting virtualization beyond Layer 3

John Gallant | Nov. 12, 2013
F5 Networks puts focus on network and service virtualization.

Orchestration is critical, so the BIG-IQ product was a critical stepping stone to that. We've also been introducing simplified business models and licensing as well, which is very much associated with the whole concept.

Which is one of the things I want to talk to you about as we go further along here. I read a piece that Zeus Kerravala did for Network World in which he said "The easiest way to think about Synthesis is to consider it a Layer 4-7 overlay fabric that sits on top of the software-defined network fabric." Is that an accurate description?
Rivelo: Yeah, that's perfect. We couldn't have asked for a more accurate article written.

So tell me — I'm an IT leader: What does this allow me to do in the data center that I can't do today? Boil it down for people.
Rivelo: For example, whether you're using VMware's NSX environment or Microsoft's Hyper-V environment for network virtualization, or now Cisco's announcement that just came out, those are all different solutions in the market segment. You'll be able to orchestrate your environment. And what I mean by that is design your environment and instantly deploy all the application services tied to that application and the network. You're getting the environment up and running in minutes, whether it is running on your prem or in the cloud.

From a pure technology perspective, the other thing we do is consolidate the services. When you deploy our technology, we have multiple services inside that. We carry services around performance, availability, security, mobility, just to name a few. So depending on what service or services an application needs, we can automatically stitch them together in one instance, and that reduces device sprawl, if you will. You need fewer devices, instead you're managing services. And it reduces the cost of the infrastructure for the organization. We did some interesting TCO models that [show] depending on the solution you can get anywhere from 50% to 80% five-year total cost of ownership reductions. 

It really comes down to four things. One is the business benefit of application velocity, helping customers deploy apps quickly. But obviously, that means that they have to be available, reliable, secure. They need to perform in all those characteristics. The second thing we do is really increasing IT capability. We give you a platform that is hardware, software and cloud, so that allows you to deploy your applications wherever you want and you're not making a hardware or software decision. You have a common platform, and you can deploy or let your apps sit, if you will, where they work best. We talked a little bit about the third benefit, which is reduced total cost of ownership. The fourth major benefit is really the future-proof environment. What I mean by that is we not only work with open industry standards and open technologies, but we are highly extensible. We open up our control plane, our data plane and our management plane. So if you need to do something, you need to build a service that doesn't exist, that a vendor hasn't delivered, we allow you to do that. One of the technologies we use is called iRules. Over a third of our customers tend to deploy iRules when we look at sample data. So that means you yourself can create business differentiation. Where the industry may not be doing it, you can do it for yourself.


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