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Lori MacVittie

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F5 Friday: Applications Aren't Protocols, They're Opportunities

An old adage holds that an individual can be judged by the company he keeps

Applications are as integral to F5 technologies as they are to your business.

An old adage holds that an individual can be judged by the company he keeps. If that holds true for organizations, then F5 would do well to be judged by the vast array of individual contributors, partners, and customers in its ecosystem. From its long history of partnering with companies like Microsoft, IBM, HP, Dell, VMware, Oracle, and SAP to its astounding community of over 160, 000 engineers, administrators and developers speaks volumes about its commitment to and ability to develop joint and custom solutions.

F5 is committed to delivering applications no matter where they might reside or what architecture they might be using. Because of its full proxy architecture, F5’s ADC platform is able to intercept, inspect and interact with applications at every layer of the network. That means tuning TCP stacks for mobile apps, protecting web applications from malicious code whether they’re talking JSON or XML, and optimizing delivery via HTTP (or HTTP 2.0 or SPDY) by understanding the myriad types of content that make up a web application: CSS, images, JavaScript and HTML.

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But being application-driven goes beyond delivery optimization and must cover the broad spectrum of technologies needed not only to deliver an app to a consumer or employee, but manage its availability, scale and security.

Every application requires a supporting cast of services to meet a specific set of business and user expectations, such as logging, monitoring and failover. Over the 18 years in which F5 has been delivering applications it has developed technologies specifically geared to making sure these supporting services are driven by applications, imbuing each of them with the application awareness and intelligence necessary to efficiently scale, secure and keep them available.

With the increasing adoption of hybrid cloud architectures and the need to operationally scale the data center, it is important to consider the depth and breadth to which ADC automation and orchestration support an application focus. Whether looking at APIs or management capabilities, an ADC should provide the means by which the services applications need can be holistically provisioned and managed from the Network Programmability important sourcedperspective of the application, not the individual services. Technology that is application-driven, enabling app owners and administrators the ability to programmatically define provisioning and management of all the application services needed to deliver the application is critical moving forward to ensure success. F5 iApps and F5 BIG-IQ Cloud do just that, enabling app owners and operations to rapidly provision services that improve the security, availability and performance of the applications that are the future of the business.

That programmability is important, especially as it relates to applications according to our recent survey (results forthcoming) in which a plurality of respondents indicated application templates are "somewhat or very important" to the provisioning of their applications along with other forms of programmability associated with software-defined architectures including cloud computing.

Applications increasingly represent opportunity, whether it's to improve productivity or increase profit. Capabilities that improve the success rate of those applications are imperative and require a deeper understanding of an application and its unique delivery needs than a protocol and a port.

F5 not only partners with application providers, it encapsulates the expertise and knowledge of how best to deliver those applications in its technologies and offers that same capability to each and every organization to tailor the delivery of their applications to meet and exceed security, reliability and performance goals.

Because applications aren't just a set of protocols and ports, they're opportunities. And how you respond to opportunity is as important as opening the door in the first place.

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.