The traditional view of the datacenter is one that has little value of late. Virtualization, consolidation, and cloud technologies have all required that datacenter operators re-evaluate the way that their datacenters function and look to build more flexible and efficient operations that can deliver on customer and business needs as quickly as possible.
Rapid provisioning and management of servers and applications is an important component of the new datacenter but rapid provisioning and configuration tools have focused more on servers than on getting applications deployed and delivered throughput the enterprise. This is where F5 Networks thinks the latest version of BIG-IP application delivery services, v11, can make a difference.
By looking at applications and services as a whole, rather than as discrete components, users of F5 BIG-IP appliances (both physical and virtual) can make use of application -specific configurations that can reduce the deployment and provisioning of applications from hundreds of steps to less than a dozen. This is done by utilizing F5 iApps, which are user customizable templates that associate specific sets of services to applications throughout the enterprise. F5's claim is that utilizing their process will make provisioning of applications as simple and efficient as provisioning virtual servers
And additional feature of the application delivery services, iApps analytics, gives users a much better idea of what is going on with their running applications, providing a look into their operations, resources, and user performance. This real-time view can be used in conjunction with other management and operations systems to evaluate overall datacenter efficiency. Users will also find that iApps and their custom provisioning is portable between all of the BIG-IP appliances they should choose to implement in their infrastructure.
F5 will make it relatively inexpensive for potential customers to try out their BIG-IP approach to application management. The testing version of their software, suitable for use in a lab environment for long term evaluation, is less than $1000; full blown appliance solutions for the datacenter can run well over $100,000. F5 also offers an active and well supported developer community for the iApps at http://devcentral.f5.com/ where everything from help from F5 to active birds-of-a feather education on iApps is supported.