F5 Introduces Synthesis App Delivery Architecture for Cloud, Data Center

The new architecture will make it easier for organizations dealing with cloud and virtualized environments to deploy application services.

F5 Networks wants to make it easier for organizations to provision and deploy application services at a time when trends such as cloud computing, mobility, virtualization and software-defined everything continue to take hold in the data center.

F5 officials are unveiling the company's new architectural vision—F5 Synthesis—for what they're calling software-defined application services, or SDAS. Synthesis uses F5's existing technology—from its Big-IP solutions and ScaleN scaling product to Big-IQ management software and TMOS operating system—to create an environment where application services are easier to deploy in data centers, public clouds or both.

In addition, F5 is introducing new licensing models and reference architectures that make adopting the vendor's application delivery systems more cost effective, more secure and easier to optimize.

"This is our vision for how to deliver application services going forward," Lori MacVittie, senior product manager of emerging technologies for F5, told eWEEK.

Data centers are seeing a range of trends that will have a lasting impact on how they operate, MacVittie said. From software-defined data centers and the Internet of Things to cloud computing, mobility and security threats, the infrastructure needs to evolve to keep up with the rapidly changing demands. Application service delivery needs to do the same, she said.

"It's not just changing the economics, but also making it easier to get the services that they need," MacVittie said.

F5's architecture helps deliver Layer 4-7 services—everything from access control and load balancing to traffic management and authentication—more easily around the data center and in the cloud, and offers a set of management of control plane APIs to easily integrate with software-defined network (SDN), cloud and virtualization environments, including VMware and OpenStack, according to officials.

Synthesis essentially will enable businesses and service providers to pool their physical and virtual machines to create what F5 officials are calling a highly scalable Synthesis ScaleN fabric. A single fabric will be able to scale up to 2,560 multi-tenant instances of an appliance, support up to 9.2 billion connections and manage 20.5 terabits per second of throughput on the network, Alan Murphy, director of product marketing at F5, told eWEEK.

Centralized management capabilities enable automated discovery, topology and provisioning of service fabric instances, reducing the costs associated with traditional manual processes and speeding up the provisioning and scaling of the services.

F5 officials want to make it easier and less costly for customers to adopt the new Synthesis architecture. Organizations can leverage the F5 technologies they already are using without having to eliminate what they've already invested in and have access to a range of deployment models, while the vendor is adopting a tiered "good, better, best" licensing system to enable customers to embrace the licensing model that is best for them.

Other vendors are also looking to improve the way application services are delivered at a time of great change in the data center. For example, Cisco Systems and Citrix Systems in June announced that Cisco will integrate Citrix's NetScaler application delivery controller (ADC) into its Cloud Network Services architecture. The move will enable Cisco to deliver scalable and reliable application services to organizations, officials said.

The move came several months after Cisco ended development of its own ACE ADC, essentially handing the market to Citrix, F5 and Riverbed Technology.