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SDN Journal Authors: Elizabeth White, Dana Gardner, Chris Janz, Michael Jannery, Lori MacVittie

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F5 and VMware Bring Software-Defined Application Services to Software-Defined Data Centers

F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV) and VMware, Inc. (NYSE:VMW) today announced interoperability between F5’s BIG-IQ® management platform and the VMware NSXnetwork virtualization platform for rapid orchestration of layer 2–7 network and application services in the software-defined data center (SDDC). Today’s announcement focuses on enabling customers to combine the VMware NSX platform’s network service automation with F5’s application delivery service management. This marks the latest in a series of collaborative efforts between the companies to bring compelling IT benefits to their mutual data center customers.

Typically, provisioning services for new applications—or changing parameters no matter how slightly for deployed applications—is a long, manual process. With a combined F5 and VMware solution, customers will be able to leverage the full suite of BIG-IP® services directly from within the NSX Manager as part of the normal virtual machine deployment process, enabling them to reduce provisioning time from days to minutes.

The F5 and VMware NSX technologies interoperate with management plane-level REST-based APIs that are used by F5 BIG-IP to register and deploy application services that can be consumed by F5 users in their software-defined data center. The NSX traffic steering capability enables traffic to be redirected to the F5 service. This combination allows F5 iApps® to be leveraged by NSX, and to be consumed as vendor templates that F5 customers can instantiate with application-specific parameters.

With F5 and VMware products, customers will be able to automate the deployment of policy-driven services for multi-tiered applications in their software-defined data center. The solution will be able to be deployed non-disruptively, enabling customers to leverage BIG-IP and BIG-IQ features in NSX virtual environments. Users will also be able to continue to use their custom iApps templates through native F5 interfaces.

KEY BENEFITS

  • Simplified Management – Customers will be able to take full advantage of F5’s broad range of application services without management complexity. NSX provides operational agility for application-specific (rich layer 7 protocol) services for acceleration, availability, and security. The integration will provide customers with greater control over how services are holistically applied, along with unified services across L2–3 networking fabric and L4–7 application delivery fabric.
  • Scalable Services and Automation A consistent consumption model and API-based integration will enable customers to set and configure polices for acceleration, security, availability, and virtualization services for data center and cloud deployments. The joint solution will give IT teams the ability to automate the way VMware and F5 systems perform and respond to changing conditions, without disrupting production infrastructure or impacting revenue-generating business applications.
  • Smooth Application Rollouts – By combining the strengths of each vendor’s approach, organizations will be positioned to maximize network and application performance with Software-Defined Application Services. Integrated capabilities extend the utility of F5 iApps templates, providing prescriptive guidance to optimize popular applications and additional deployment scenarios.

SUPPORTING QUOTES

“Many organizations have VMware and F5 solutions in their infrastructures, and our goal is to make it even easier for customers to reap additional benefits by combining the companies’ technologies. The F5 Synthesis framework and Software-Defined Application Services provide an ideal fit for VMware-based data center initiatives. Looking forward, we see many opportunities to build on existing partnership efforts to help customers add capabilities without complexity and maximize the effectiveness of data center and cloud deployments.”

Manny Rivelo, EVP, Strategic Solutions, F5

“Customers are adopting networking virtualization on the path to the software-defined data center, and our world-class ecosystem of partners such as F5 will help customers accelerate SDDC implementation. Customers will be able to extend the use of F5’s L4–7 services through a Software-Defined Application Services model into the SDDC. The interoperability between VMware NSX network virtualization and F5’s application delivery architecture—and the unique ability to provision and consume iApps—allows our mutual customers to create more agile data centers.”

Hatem Naguib, VP, Networking and Security, VMware

“Automation for agility and high-quality application performance is a top driver for the data center. The integration between F5 BIG-IQ and VMware NSX answers these requirements by providing orchestration and shared management of virtualized networks and application services, delivering significant benefit to their enterprise and service provider customers.”

Cliff Grossner, Ph.D., Directing Analyst, Data Center, Cloud, and SDN, Infonetics Research

AVAILABILITY

VMware NSX 6.1 and BIG-IQ 4.4 will both be available during the third quarter of calendar year 2014. For F5 solutions, please contact a local sales office for availability in specific countries. An F5 reference architecture for VMware NSX is available today at https://f5.com/solutions/architectures/vmware-nsx. This integration and other F5 and VMware solutions will be showcased at this week’s VMworld event in San Francisco—please visit F5 at booth #1621.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

About VMware

VMware is the leader in virtualization and cloud infrastructure solutions that enable businesses to thrive in the Cloud Era. Customers rely on VMware to help them transform the way they build, deliver and consume Information Technology resources in a manner that is evolutionary and based on their specific needs. With 2013 revenues of $5.21 billion, VMware has more than 500,000 customers and 75,000 partners. The company is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the world and can be found online at www.vmware.com.

About F5

F5 (NASDAQ: FFIV) provides solutions for an application world. F5 helps organizations seamlessly scale cloud, data center, and software defined networking (SDN) deployments to successfully deliver applications to anyone, anywhere, at any time. F5 solutions broaden the reach of IT through an open, extensible framework and a rich partner ecosystem of leading technology and data center orchestration vendors. This approach lets customers pursue the infrastructure model that best fits their needs over time. The world’s largest businesses, service providers, government entities, and consumer brands rely on F5 to stay ahead of cloud, security, and mobility trends. For more information, go to f5.com.

You can also follow @f5networks on Twitter or visit us on Facebook for more information about F5, its partners, and technologies.

F5, BIG-IP, BIG-IQ, F5 Synthesis, Software Defined Application Services, iApps, and DevCentral are trademarks or service marks of F5 Networks, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

VMware and VMware NSX are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. in the United States and other jurisdictions. The use of the word “partner” or “partnership” does not imply a legal partnership relationship between VMware and any other company.

This press release may contain forward-looking statements relating to future events or future financial performance that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "predicts," "potential," or "continue," or the negative of such terms or comparable terms. These statements are only predictions and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these statements based upon a number of factors including those identified in the company's filings with the SEC.

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