F5 Makes Virtual, Cloud Computing Push at Interop

F5 Networks unveiled its Dynamic Services Model architecture designed to help enterprises extend their physical and virtual infrastructures into the cloud.

F5 Networks is continuing its push to help enterprises extend their data center infrastructures into cloud computing environments.

At the Interop 2010 show in Las Vegas April 26, F5 officials unveiled an architecture they are calling the Dynamic Services Model, which touches on a host of the vendor's technologies for all types of environments, from physical and virtual data centers, facilities in different locations, and in private and public clouds.

F5 unveiled the latest version of its Big-IP software-Version 20.1-which includes new ADC (application delivery controller) hardware, an upgraded operating system and a virtual ADC platform.

The goal is to make it easier for enterprises to take advantage of the benefits offered through the on-demand cloud computing model, and to do so in a holistic way, according to Ken Salchow, manager of technical marketing for F5.

"There's more value to be had through the process of virtualizing services and moving to cloud than with the way it's architected now," Salchow said in an interview.

Enterprises now tend to view virtualization and cloud computing projects as individual efforts, such as consolidating resources or making their data centers more power efficient.

A goal of F5's efforts is to enable IT administrators to instead look at these initiatives in a more integrated fashion, according to company officials.

"The cloud is evolving as the next generation of IT," Erik Giesa, vice president of product management and marketing, said in a statement. "Whether a business is planning to deploy a private cloud or take advantage of external public cloud services, it need to put its enterprise requirements first and leverage an integrated architecture for on-demand mobility, orchestration and automation."

The new ADC series features the BIG-IP 11050 platform and the new 8950 appliance. The 8950 offers 20 Gbps of throughput; the 11050 42 Gbps. They also support 10 Gigabit Ethernet connectivity.

F5 also is rolling out production and lab versions of its Local Traffic Manager Virtual Edition, which when combined with the physical offerings, gives enterprises and service providers a hybrid way to build a scalable and adaptable application delivery network.

The production version offers throughput of up to 10Gbps. The lab version is best used in non-production environments, according to F5.

The LTM VE can work with other F5 products as well as with solutions from other vendors, such as VMware, the company said. F5 is integrating the product with Hewlett-Packard's Operations Orchestrator, Microsoft's Virtual Machine Manager and VMware's vCenter Orchestrator, with the goal of making it easier, faster and more automatic to provision virtual machines.

In addition, F5's new Big-IP Edge Gateway simplifies the management of such services as access, security and optimization in both traditional data center and cloud computing environments.

Brian White, an analyst with Ticonderoga Securities, applauded the moves by F5.

"In our view, these announcements highlight F5 Networks' continued product innovation, which is driving increased market share and positioning the company well for the trend toward virtualization, data center consolidation and cloud computing," White said in an April 26 report.