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Lori MacVittie

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#interop #fasterapp #adcfw #ipv6 Behind the scenes in the Interop network


Interop Las Vegas expects somewhere in the realm of 10,000+ attendees this year. Most of them will no doubt be carrying smart phones, many tablets, and of course the old standby, the laptop. Nearly every one will want access to some service – inside or out. The Interop network provides that access – and more.

F5 solutions will provide IT services, including IPv4–IPv6 translation, firewall, SSL VPN, and web optimization technologies, for the Network Operations Center (NOC) at Interop. 

The Interop 2012 network is comprised of the show floor Network Operations Center (NOC), and three co-location sites: Colorado (DEN), California (SFO), and New Jersey(EWR). The NOC moves with the show to its 4 venues: Las Vegas, Tokyo, Mumbai, and New York. F5 has taken a hybrid application delivery network architectural approach – leveraging both physical devices (in the NOC) and virtual equivalents (in the Denver DC). Both physical and virtual instances of F5 solutions are managed via a BIG-IP Enterprise Manager 4000, providing operational consistency across the various application delivery services provided: DNS, SMTP, NTP, global traffic management (GSLB), remote access via SSL VPNs, local caching of conference materials, and data center firewall services in the NOC DMZ.


Because the Interop network is supporting both IPv6 and IPv4, F5 is also providing NAT64 and DNS64 services.

NAT64: Network address translation is performed between IPv6 and IPv4 on the Interop network, to allow IPv6-only clients and servers to communicate with hosts on IPv4-only networks
DNS64: IPv6-to-IPv4 DNS translations are also performed by these BIG-IPs, allowing A records originating from IPv4-only DNS servers to be converted into AAAA records for IPv6 clients.

F5 is also providing SNMP, SYSLOG, and NETFLOW services to vendors at the show for live demonstrations. This is accomplished by cloning the incoming traffic and replicating it out through the network. At the network layer, such functionality is often implemented by simply mirroring ports. While this is sometimes necessary, it does not necessarily provide the level of granularity (and thus control) required. Mirrored traffic does not distinguish between SNMP and SMTP, for example, unless specifically configured to do so. While cloning via an F5 solution can be configured to act in a manner consistent with port mirroring, cloning via F5 also allows intermediary devices to intelligently replicate traffic based on information gleaned from deep content inspection (DCI).  For example, traffic can be cloned to a specific pool of devices based on the URI, or client IP address or client device type or destination IP. Virtually any contextual data can be used to determine whether or not to clone traffic.

You can poke around with more detail and photos and network diagrams at F5’s microsite supporting its Interop network services. Dashboards are available, documentation, pictures, and more information in general on the network and F5 services supporting the show.

And of course if you’re going to be at Interop, stop by the booth and say “hi”! I’ll keep the light on for ya…

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Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.