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Lori MacVittie

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F5 Friday on Tuesday: Federating Application Network Services with BIG-IQ

We were serious about getting serious about managing hybrid #cloud and federating application network services


Last month I brought up the need to manage application network services - load balancing, acceleration, optimization, application security.. you know, application services that live in the data path.

These services are what address concerns that Our customers (and I'm sure the market at large) are having regarding application deployments. It's not the case that these services are any less needed or desired to address concerns related to cloud and emerging architectures, it's that they need to be more automated, more elastically scaled, and more broadly deployed across a variety of environments.


That's where BIG-IQ Cloud comes in. It's the first application available on our new BIG-IQ platform and its focus is on (as you might guess from the name) cloud.

BIG-IQ Cloud

BIG--IQ Cloud can federate application network services across cloud systems. It's southbound API manages BIG-IP systems irrespective of form-factor. That means physical, virtual or cloud-based BIG-IP can be managed centrally from a single, multi-tenant console.

BIG-IQ Cloud was architected with multi-tenancy in mind, and includes a console and API focused on each side of the multi-tenant equation: one for the service provider (be they enterprise IT or cloud provider) and one for the consumer (the application owner or devops team). The console's interface is simple yet powerful, enabling a application services to be rapidly provisioned and made available to new users and systems in a matter of minutes and offering a tenant-focused view into application health and performance metrics. big-iq-cloud-architecture

BIG-IQ Cloud includes a connector framework that enables the extension of BIG-IQ integration capabilities. BIG-IQ comes pre-integrated with VMware vCloud Networking and Security to simplify provisioning of services deployed on BIG-IP platforms as part of the broader application provisioning workflow.

That means all the goodness of VMware for application infrastructure deployments plus the added goodness of F5 application network services. 

BIG-IQ Cloud takes advantage of F5's iApps to streamline application network service definition and deployment across all environments. iApps simplifies packaging of application network services and enables providers to differentiate through services.

It's got a REST API that makes it easily integrated with other management tools as well as used for custom automation and orchestration solutions.

Summary of BIG-IQ Cloud Capabilities:

•     Cloud bursting—Gain on-demand use of public cloud resources with management of cloud-deployed BIG-IP virtual editions and integration with public cloud APIs.
•     Self-service application deployment—Reduce application network service provisioning time to minutes from weeks.
•     Application cataloging for service providers—Monetize application service delivery by categorizing application network services per service level agreements.
•     Tenant application access—Offer a self-service application network service portal for tenant use.
•     Orchestrator integration—Enable self-provisioning of application network services with northbound integration with VMware vShield Manager and VMware vCloud Director.
•     Solution racking and licensing—Centralize deployment and management of BIG-IP devices across environments.
•     Performance and health monitoring—Access statistical health and performance data for decision-making and troubleshooting.  

Taken together, these capabilities provide a single, consistent, and actionable view of application delivery and network services for enterprise customers and cloud providers, irrespective of location. BIG-IQ is a key milestone for F5's vision of application-layer SDN, offering an effective way to dynamically scale services, infrastructure, and application resources in concert.

BIG-IQ Cloud and the BIG-IQ platform are a significant step forward to realizing IT as a Service, providing the ability to automate and orchestrate the application network service lifecycle and span environments. It enables consistent operations and services across both private and public cloud environments, ensuring that application concerns can be addressed with the alacrity promised by cloud and virtualization.

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More Stories By Lori MacVittie

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.