F5 Networks builds application delivery networking products that ensure the security, optimization and availability of applications for any user, anywhere. The company’s core technology is software for application delivery networking, including application security, secure remote access and WAN optimization.
Application Delivery Networking
F5 Networks' flagship product, the BIG-IP network appliance began life as a network load balancer but today includes such extensive functionality as access control, application security and acceleration, cloud computing, storage and virtualization. Add-on modules offer email filtering and intelligent compression to produce lower bandwidth usage and faster downloads.
More than 16,000 organizations worldwide trust F5 to keep their applications running. F5 has designed solutions to tackle the specific application delivery challenges of a variety of industries that include e-commerce, education, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing and telecommunications.
In the VistaOne portfolio because:
It provides high availability, improved performance, application security, and access control, all in one unit. One BIG-IP device can
do the work of a dozen single-purpose products, plus the modular BIG-IP product family is extraordinarily flexible and configurable. The The Seattle-based company dominates the crucial $1-billion market for application delivery controllers. Gartner gives F5 "a continued market-leading position."
All of F5's products are systems that integrate its software with purpose-built hardware. They combine commodity components with custom application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) to create highly tailored solutions for major enterprise applications like SAP, Oracle, Citrix, Microsoft and VMware.
The Company’s BIG-IP product family supports a growing number of features and functions as software modules, including Global Traffic Manager (GTM), Link Controller, Application Security Manager (ASM) and WebAccelerator. It also produces the standalone appliances FirePass, WANJet and WebAccelerator. The core of these products is F5’s full-proxy traffic management operating system (TMOS).
A Little History
F5 pioneered load balancing among servers with its original hardware product called BIG-IP. If a server went down or became overloaded, BIG-IP directed traffic away from that server to other servers that could handle the load. The use of multiple servers with load balancing capabilities increased reliability by directing traffic to a secondary server while the first was still processing requests.
Load balancing made it possible to provide a single Internet service from multiple servers or a server farm. Commonly, load-balanced systems include popular Web sites, large Internet Relay Chat networks, high-bandwidth File Transfer Protocol sites, Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) servers and Domain Name System (DNS) servers.
During their evolution, F5 moved from BSD to Linux to handle sys management functions (disks, logging, boot up, console access, etc.) and created a Traffic Management Microkernel (TMM) to directly talk to the networking hardware and handle all network activities. They developed a standard full-proxy mode that fully terminates network connections at the BIG-IP and establishes new connections between the BIG-IP and the real servers. This allows for optimum TCP stacks on both sides as well as the complete ability to modify traffic in either direction.
The latest versions of BIG-IP software contain new features to reduce latency and remove congestion and other impediments. The program now enhances application delivery with such features as symmetric adaptive compression between any two BIG-IP appliances. It has opened the door to data reduction, optimization and acceleration found in WAN traffic optimization products.
Aligning Business Strategy and the IT Infrastructure
An organization’s IT infrastructure determines the success of practically any major business initiative, from quickly integrating a strategic acquisition to bringing products to market cost-effectively. Traditional IT architectures are static and inflexible. Any sudden change in business requirements forces IT staff to respond with manual, one-off technology fixes that consume time and resources.
F5 provides strategic points of control throughout the IT infrastructure, enabling organizations to scale, adapt and align with changing business demands and drive business forward on a solid foundation of IT agility.
F5 is the only vendor that provides an open architectural framework, offering IT organizations new ways to deliver services that generate true business value. This unique framework includes:
F5 TMOS ® - The universal, shared product platform that adds intelligence and complete control to application delivery. Integrated geolocation services direct users to the closest server for best connection and enhanced security and permit regional and/or state-level filtering with no hard coding.
F5 iRules™ - The event-driving scripting language that customizes how application traffic is intercepted, inspected, transformed, and directed.
F5 iControl® - The open API that helps automate communications and eliminates the need for costly manual intervention.
F5 Data Management Operating System - The core of F5's scalable and intelligent file virtualization solutions that simplifies and automates data delivery.
As a result, F5 has DevCentral, a business-driven social networking site where a community of more than 35,000 users share innovations in creating scalable, dynamic networks. Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP all recommend F5 to their customers and continually develop joint innovation and integration with F5 through strategic partnerships.
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