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F5 steers WAN optimization to virtual, cloud environments

Software upgrade and new products contribute to Dynamic Services Model

By , Network World
April 26, 2010 11:38 AM ET

Network World - F5 Networks is announcing at Interop an enterprise cloud architecture that incorporates its existing products with new ones to address the range of requirements put forth by businesses that base their networks on varying mixes of virtualization. 

Interop planning guide: Cloudy forecast

Called the Dynamic Services Model, the architecture covers load balancing, optimization, security and management features available through F5 platforms and defines how to deliver them to networks that are based on physical machines, virtual machines and public and private clouds, as well as data centers situated in multiple locations.

The company is introducing a virtual version of its BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager application delivery controller. The traditional BIG-IP LTM appliance can be used for traffic on a physical network but not among virtual machines or within a cloud. So if an application is moved to a virtual environment, the virtual LTM can follow it and apply load balancing, content switching, security and acceleration to it.

F5 is also announcing integration of LTM with HP Operations Orchestrator, VMware's vCenter Orchestrator, and Microsoft's Virtual Machine Manager http://www.networkworld.com/reviews/2009/041309-virtual-management-test-microsoft.html so they can be used to automate the provisioning and de-provisioning of virtual machines, an otherwise manual process that would consume enormous amounts of time.

This can include self-managed data centers where, for example, a rule might call for the automatic creation of a new virtual machine when capacity for an existing application instance exceeds 80%. Through integration with the orchestration platforms, LTM policies for that application can be applied automatically to the new VM.

For cases where a new virtual machine is created via live migration from a data center to a remote private or public cloud, the Dynamic Services Model introduces support for reliable completion of the process that might otherwise be hampered by network problems. This is accomplished via Layer 2 links between instances of LTM, either physical or virtual, that keep live motion sessions alive until they are completed.

To address access control between users and resources that might be spread out among physical networks, distributed data centers and the cloud, F5 is adding a feature to its Global Traffic Manager that proxies with authentication servers to both authenticate the user and choose the optimized route for the user's connection.

F5 also is announcing the capability to add Java script tags to applications at strategic points in the network via its application delivery controllers, making it possible to track application performance no matter where the application resides.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

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