Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Automic Blog, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, William Schmarzo, Kevin Benedict

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Three Things You Didn't Know About BIG-IP

Some of the things you didn't really know about BIG-IP

There's a lot of things people know about F5 BIG-IP and a lot of things people think they know about BIG-IP and some things people don't know at all about BIG-IP*.

So I thought it'd be a good idea to talk about some of the things you don't know about BIG-IP or in some cases, the things you didn't really know about BIG-IP. Kind of a myth-busting post, if you will.

So without further ado, let's get onto the list, shall we? It's Friday, after all, and there's an Internet full of cat videos waiting to be watched.

1. BIG-IP is not hardware. hardware-vs-software-big-ip

Oh, I know, F5 delivers BIG-IP on hardware that's called BIG-IP XXXX so really, what's the difference?

BIG-IP is a product family, a brand if you will. It's a way to identify that "these products are related" and go together. We could call it just the XXX hardware platform, but because it's specifically designed to enhance BIG-IP software, it kind of makes sense to group them together under the same name. I mean, it's not like you're going to deploy anything other than BIG-IP software on BIG-IP hardware, right?

But you might (and probably will) deploy BIG-IP software in a virtual form factor (we support all major hypervisors - Citrix, VMware, KVM, Microsoft) - or in a cloud like AWS, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure or VMware vCloud Air. That's because the BIG-IP software is not reliant on BIG-IP hardware. Oh, it benefits from BIG-IP hardware because the hardware is designed to enhance the performance and scale of the BIG-IP software but it's not a requirement. The BIG-IP software is enhanced by, not dependent on, BIG-IP hardware.

And software it is. With over 15 years of development, it's a significant piece of software. And most of that code is dedicated to TMOS and the modules from which our application services are ultimately delivered. Some of the code is specific to BIG-IP hardware, in order to eke out the most performance and scale out of the system, but that code is abstracted enough that the bulk of the software is deployable just about anywhere.

But that doesn't mean you have to pair the two together. You can certainly enjoy the benefits of BIG-IP software (which include the extensibility of any other software platform) without simultaneously employing the use of BIG-IP hardware.

2. BIG-IP is not just a load balancer.

I know, surprise right? Granted, BIG-IP is almost universally synonymous with load balancing because that's where we started and well, it's really uber awesome at load balancing. But that's just one service out of a large (and growing) number of services available for BIG-IP. That's because BIG-IP is not just software, it's a software platform. And platforms are meant to be extended. In the case of BIG-IP that's through software modules that deliver one or more application services. BIG-IP APM (Access Policy Manager), for example, offers not only SSL-VPN services but cloud identity federation services and application access control as well as identity services and protocol gateway services.

I will not deluge you with a complete list, but trust me that there are a plethora of services spanning device, network and application foci to choose from. And the list keeps growing. For example, just this past year we added secure web and HTTP/2 gateway services. Because it's a platform, not a product.

BIG-IP software is based on a full-proxy architecture, meaning its got a dual stack - one for the client-side and one for the app-side. That gives it tremendous flexibility in how it can interact with application traffic and data. Sure, it can load balance the heck out of your apps like nobodies business (and with more efficacy and intelligence than any other solution out there) but it can also do just about anything an app can do, too because the separation of the stacks means it is, technically, an app itself. It's an endpoint, just like your app server.

Now, you can't write just anything and deploy it on BIG-IP software because the platform is for us to use to develop new services. But you can write code that runs within the context of any service and interact with the platform to gather statistics, change behavior and call out to other services to share or gather information important to the app or the service itself.

That's a far sight more than just a "load balancer", isn't it?

3. BIG-IP delivers application services which are not the same as application networking services.

I know this might seem pedantic, but it's an important distinction that needs to be made sooner rather than later. I'm not going to diagram sentences to explain this one, but when we say "application services" we mean "services for applications." When you say "application networking services" you are saying "networking services for applications". There's a big difference there in what that ultimately means. Networking services are those that connect, transport, and secure network traffic. When they're focused on applications it means that those services are acting on behalf of applications.

When we say "application services" we're talking about intermediate services that reside in the data path and offer application-specific functionality. Web application security, for example, must (if it's going to have any degree of efficacy) be application-specific. It's not just about transporting traffic from point A to point B, it's about performing a service on behalf of the application that improves its security, availability or performance. They aren't "networking" in the traditional sense that networking is about routing and switching and firewalling. They are networking in that they operate at the upper layers (4-7) of the OSI network stack. But operationally they are targeted applications themselves (see #1 above) that just happen to be located "in" the network because it makes sense to topologically deploy those services upstream from the application.

After all, when the point of a service is to prevent bad requests from consuming resources unnecessarily or compromising an application it makes sense to ensure that process happens before the request actually gets to the application.

Yes, BIG-IP also provides some application networking services, like acting as a protocol transition point - from SPDY or HTTP/2 to HTTP/1 and vice versa or from IPv4 to IPv6 and its reverse or from VXLAN to VLAN to NVGRE or whatever combination of SDN overlay protocol you're looking to use. But the bulk of services delivered by a BIG-IP are application services. No additional modifier required.

There you have it. Three things you (perhaps | mostly | almost) didn't know about BIG-IP that now you do. And we all know that knowing is half the battle.

The other half is red and blue lasers.

Happy Friday!

* If that sounds sort of like Bilbo Baggin's farewell speech at his 111th birthday party then I did it right.

Read the original blog entry...

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.

@ThingsExpo Stories
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices t...
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.