F5 Synthesis Takes Aim at Software Defined Application Services (SDAS)

F5's Synthesis effort brings technologies together in new services fabric.

By Sean Michael Kerner | Posted Nov 5, 2013
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F5 Networks is synthesizing its Software Defined Networking (SDN) capabilities into an overall architecture that enables application services.

The F5 Synthesis effort isn't about any one new particular product or service, but rather about defining an architectural approach for Software Defined Application Services (SDAS).

"Synthesis is the tying together of hardware, software, virtual and cloud technologies," Lori MacVittie, senior product manager, Emerging Technologies at F5, told Enterprise Networking Planet. "It's all tied together with our ScaleN scaling technology, and that enables an all-active environment for the platform layer."

ScaleN is F5's intelligent scaling technology. It first debuted in July of this year with the BIG-IP 11.4 release.

Application services can now more easily move around, across the data center and the cloud. MacVittie said that the Synthesis fabric can potentially cluster up to 32 F5 devices, supporting an aggregate throughput of up to 20 Tbps and up to 9.2 billion concurrent connections.

From a services orchestration perspective, the Synthesis Fabric will be able to integrate with VMware as well as OpenStack to provision services to a private or public cloud. In order to make using F5 in the cloud easier for organizations, the vendor will also provide a utility-based licensing approach for the public cloud provider market.

Synthesis also introduces a new pricing approach that MacVittie called "good/better/best." In the "best" bucket, an organization gets access to all F5 product services needed to build the fabric.

Existing F5 customers using the company's BIG-IP software with BIG-IQ for management can already take advantage of the Synthesis approach.

"You don't have to go out and buy all new hardware and software for BIG-IP. This is more about how it's architected, leveraged and managed, than being about brand new technology," MacVittie said.

Alan Murphy, F5's director of enterprise marketing, told Enterprise Networking Planet that some additional components hitting in the next few months will enhance and further deliver on the Synthesis vision.

The key components for Murphy are new reference architectures, including one for DDoS security that will help organizations deploy and manage application services at scale.

"Synthesis is about how we aggregate technology, deliver it to customers and couple that with new business models," Murphy said.

Murphy explained that, for example, if in the past a customer came to F5 with a DNS problem, F5 would have recommended its local traffic manager solution and global traffic manager appliances.

"Now we just come back with a reference architecture showing all the components needed for DNS with a better license that can all be deployed as part of the Synthesis solution," Murphy said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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