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Lori MacVittie

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#virtualization #cloud #sdas The release of Synthesis 1.5 brings more virtual edition options to the table.

Most organizations are in transit between running a traditional data centers and managing a more flexible, synthesis-logo cloud-enabled model. Their transformation continues to follow some fairly standard phases of adoption ranging from initial virtualization efforts to automation and finally hybrid environments. Each phase of this transformation brings with it new (and additive) benefits. From simplification of network architecture to scalability and on-demand capacity to the flexibility of deployment options, the transformation is certainly one most have determined to affect upon their business and the IT organization that supports (and enables) it.

datacenter transformation model

Pre-requisites abound, however. After all, without the availability of virtualization platforms we may not be on this transformation train at all. Cloud had to exist, too, before we could set it upon a pedestal and call it our ultimate goal. In between there are also pre-requisites; pre-requisites that enable organizations to continue on their transformation travels from virtualization to cloud computing (relatively) uninterrupted. 

One of those requirements is that more than application server infrastructure support virtualization. Virtualization of network and application services is critical to enabling organizations to reach their intended goals. That means vendors like F5 must not only support virtualization, but support it broadly.

After all, there are a lot of hypervisors and cloud environments out there that organizations can choose to adopt. There are also a wide variety of needs in terms of capabilities (throughput, connection capacity, etc...) that need to be available to ensure every application (no matter how big or how small) is able to take advantage of the application services they need to successfully execute on their intended purpose.

F5 Synthesis High Performance Services Fabric: Virtual Options

One of the tenets (or principles, if you prefer) of technologies like cloud and SDN are that they essentially abstract resources in such a way as to present a unified (commoditized, really) "fabric" on which services can be deployed. Network fabrics serve up network services and application service fabrics serve up, not unsurprisingly, application services. F5 Synthesis Services Fabric leverages a common platform to enable this abstraction. The underlying resources can come from F5 hardware (appliances or its VIPRION line of chassis), software or virtualized systems (data center hosted hypervisors or in the cloud). Supporting our own hardware is obviously pretty easy. Supporting the broad set of hypervisors and software options, however, can be a bit trickier. Not just for F5, but for any traditionally hardware-bound solution.

But organizations desire - nay, they demand - the flexibility of being able to rapidly deploy more capacity for services, which implies the need for more resources. Often times these may be temporary resources, or cloud resources, and that pretty much requires a software or virtualized form factor approach. But not only does it require support for a variety of hypervisors and software platforms, it also requires different capabilities. After all, adding a new department-level application and its related services is likely to consume a far different set of resources than launch the corporate flagship application.

To meet both these requirements and ensure the most flexible set of options, F5 has recently added  new performance tiers and hypervisor support for its VE (virtual edition) form factor. All F5 application services are available in a VE form factor and can deployed today even if your entire Synthesis Services Fabric is built on virtual editions.


The flexibility afforded by F5 Synthesis' broadest hypervisor and platform support ensures organizations can continue to transform their data centers whether the end goal is pure cloud, hybrid cloud, or just a highly virtualized and automated set of systems. Wherever organizations are today - and wherever they are ultimately going - they can rest assured F5 can support their applications' need for services, no matter how big or how small they might be.


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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.