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SDN Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Greg Schulz, Jerome McFarland

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You Can Have Your Cake (GUI) and Eat It Too (API)

It's all about choice.

Programmability is in F5's DNA. Since 2001 when we introduced iControl SOAP to the more recent additions such as iRules and iCall. Even looking at our most recent acquisitions you can see the common theme: an architectural vision based on extensibility and programmability.

BIG-IQ is the foundation for the Intelligent Services Orchestration capabilities within F5 Synthesis. BIG-IQ itself is a platform; it is designed to be extended to provide targeted orchestration and management capabilities across a variety of environments,  BIG-IQ centralizes policy life cycle management, enables automation of provisioning capabilities and serves as a central, dynamic licensing server for virtual editions of all services. It's also the mechanism that enables management of the Synthesis High Performance Service Fabric.

programmability-matrix

You can do a lot of things with BIG-IQ, maybe even more than you thought because you have a choice of how you do those things: you can use the GUI or you can script it via BIG-IQ's REST-based APIs.

It's like Burger King, You Can Have it Your Way
BIG-IQ is enabled with a REST-based API just as is the case with BIG-IP. This means you can use the GUI or the API, or both.

For example, the latest release of BIG-IQ includes UCS backup and restore capabilities for BIG-IP elements. This process can be managed via BIG-IQ or it can be scripted using, well, whatever your favorite scripting language might be. Python, Perl, bash and curl - however you roll when it comes to scripting, it's fair game as long as can talk to a REST-based (HTTPS) interface.

That means you can integrate BIG-IQ management capabilities with other orchestration systems. What that gives you is the ability to manage the entire Synthesis Service Fabric including F5 Software Defined Application Services. You can orchestrate the provisioning process via an external system like Chef or Puppet by simply plugging in the appropriate API calls, or integrate it with OpenStack to manage LBaaS.

The world is getting way more connected. It's not just devices and things and apps, it's also impacting the way in which we automate, orchestrate and ultimately manage the entire data center, from top to bottom, end to end. No single solution can do that on its own, there's no magic rainbow rack you can pick up at Best Buy that'll give you that.

But you can build a best-of-breed solution that will give you that by taking advantage of the increased programmability that's invading every aspect of the data center. BIG-IQ's RESTful APIs are one of the ways in which you can integrate and orchestrate F5 Software Defined Application Services within that best-of-breed environment.

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.

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