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Lori MacVittie

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F5 Friday: The Value of a Full-Stack Partnership

f5fridayThere's a common movie and television trope (known as the Third Wheel) that revolves around a guy, his girlfriend and either his or her "bestie". You know it - it's the bestie hates girlfriend or boyfriend trope, and it's a common comedic line.

Only it's not as funny when it's real and in your data center.

Yes, your data center. Only the trope involves your Cisco gear and your F5 platforms and you.

For years customers have been integrating our respective technology. Cisco's network and F5's application services form the chain through which millions of applications are delivered every minute of every day. But customers wanted more; they wanted Cisco and F5 to come together as companies; as people. Customers were stuck in the middle of two friends that didn't really get along because they were always competing for attention. 

But unlike a television show or movie based on this trope, we weren't stuck to a script that kept us on opposite sides of the customer to fuel plot points forever. Customers wanted us more tightly integrated because they saw the value in the integration between our respective technologies and wanted more. They wanted a fully integrated solution that brought the best of Cisco together with the best of F5 to bring the automation and orchestration to achieve the agility and flexibility of a modern network architecture without the disruption typically associated with "upgrades" to the core network. F5's focus on the application permeates our entire architecture, which ultimately means we can bring the L4-7 multi-tenant capabilities to Cisco ACI environments that customers need and demand to operationalize their networks while maintaining existing application and architectural investments.

But to do that we had to go beyond the "shake hands and make up" partnership. We had to go full-stack. 

Which is what we did.

When we partnered with Cisco and became part of their ACI ecosystem, and they became part of our Synthesis ecosystem we didn't just integrate products, we didn't just create joint processes, we integrated people, too. Our respective teams work closely together every day on things like developing roadmaps, documenting joint solutions and understanding customer needs so we can design the right solution for them. 

A full-stack partnership of people, process and technology. 

The response has been overwhelming positive; the value of a full-stack partnership proving itself out where it really counts, in customer trials. So positive, in fact, that Cisco now recommends replacing ACE with F5.  

synthesis-cisco-integrationBoth F5 and Cisco are committed to the future; to automation and orchestration, to programmatic, application-driven services delivered by a best of breed full-stack network and backed by a full-stack partnership. That's why it was a pleasure to announce the results of our latest integration efforts, this round focused on F5 BIG-IQ and Cisco APIC. The integration is more than just management through BIG-IQ, it's also enabling organizations to customize the application services provisioned and configured through an APIC device package using BIG-IQ and its programmable templates, iApps. This application-centric approach to orchestration enables greater core consistency by enabling administrators to enforce through templates a common set of application delivery policies  while affording the flexibility to customize policies on a per-application basis. You can read more about the details of this integration here on DevCentral.

This level of integration means customers can take advantage of of the approximately 30 iApps that ship with BIG-IP as well as many more available here on DevCentral. Existing iApps, too, can be used now to provision and manage application services through Cisco APIC.

Whether we're hammering out roadmaps based on customer feedback and desires or working out the details of the next innovative integration  that brings greater choice, more flexibility and awesome automation to application deployments, we're doing it together. Not just on paper or in power point, but with people.

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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.