Why Application Capital Is Central to F5 Networks Unified View of Networking

The worlds of networking hardware, software and cloud-native microservices are often thought of as being isolated silos.

Kara Sprague, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Application Services at F5 Networks, however has a broader vision that sees software, services and hardware for networking coming together. F5 Networks has multiple networking assets that span the different silos and is working on a service mesh effort based on the open source Istio project, called Aspen Mesh.

In a video interview with EnterpriseNetworkingPlanet, Sprague outlines her unified vision for networking in the future and the potential role of service mesh technology.

Aspen Mesh

The Aspen Mesh effort is an F5 version of the Istio service mesh, which is an open source effort that is seeing a lot of interest from multiple vendors including, IBM, Google, VMware, Cisco and AWS.

“The idea being that the traffic management services between different logical entities has always been F5 Networks’ bread and butter and that is now going into the heart of container environments,” Sprague said.

The extra value that Aspen Mesh will bring is increased visibility and security. She explained that in the overall application landscape, things are getting increasingly smaller. As application components get smaller there is more opportunities for attackers.

“F5 has always been the doorway between logical components, so now there are just more doorways,” she said.

Application Capital

Pulling together hardware, software, services and cloud together in a cohesive strategy for networking is no easy task, but it’s one that Sprague and F5 Networks have spent a good deal of time thinking about.

“My grand unification theory is really about the concept of application capital,” Sprague said.

The idea behind application capital is that applications are already typically the most valuable asset within a modern enterprise. In her view, few organizations have a proper handle on their applications and associated data.

“The application portfolio needs to be managed at an enteprise-level,” she said. It needs to be manage with a set of application services that provides visibility, optimization and security.”

Watch the full video interview with Kara Sprague, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Application Services at F5 Networks below.

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

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