F5: Evolving from an ADC company to a Multi-Cloud Application Service Company

F5 Networks was originally best known for its load balancers, a market that has since evolved into application delivery controllers (ADCs). However, François Locoh-Donou, F5 President and CEO, now sees his company evolving further to become a multi-cloud application service company.

Locoh-Donou made the comments during his company’s 2Q18 financial results call on April 25. For the quarter, F5 Networks reported revenue of $533.3 million, up 2.9 percent year-over-year. Net income was reported at $109.6 million, up from the $93.1 million reported in the second quarter of 2017. Looking forward, F5 provided third quarter guidance for revenue in the range of $535 million to $545 million.

“We are evolving from an ADC company to a multi-cloud application service company that will reach every app anywhere,” Locoh-Donou said. “Our conviction that multi-cloud application services will define the next phase of F5’s growth is only bolstered by my conversations with our customers.”

BIG-IP Cloud Edition

F5’s core product platform has long been named BIG-IP, and on April 25 the company announced its new BIG-IP Cloud Edition.

“This release allows us to better reach the next tier of applications within our existing customers through improvements in usability, comprehensive per-app visibility, analytics and auto-scale capabilities,” Locoh-Donou said. “The solution gives customers a lightweight option when developing, deploying and securing all applications at every step in the testing and production pipeline, including use cases designed around public and private clouds.”

Locoh-Donou explained that most of F5’s software business is via its Virtual Edition, though a growing part of the consumption of the Virtual Edition is across multiple clouds, including the public cloud.

“The introduction of our Cloud Edition today really makes the consumption of Virtual Editions in the public cloud a lot easier,” Locoh-Donou said.

The Cloud edition of BIG-IP provides a lighter weight Virtual Edition to be used on a per-app basis, Locoh-Donou explained. Additionally he said that the BIG-IP Cloud Edition includes a centralized orchestration mechanism that allows customers to turn Virtual Editions on and off, or even to scale the deployment of Virtual Editions across multiple clouds, or across on-premises and public clouds.

Locoh-Donou also noted that he’s not worried that the BIG-IP Cloud Edition will cannibalize F5’s classic Virtual Edition. He said that customers who use the Virtual Editions today, typically use it to support multiple applications, and the Cloud Edition is only to be used on a per-app basis.

“The other aspect of that is the per-app Virtual Edition also allows our customers to support and put Virtual Editions in front of applications that traditionally would not have had them,” Locoh-Donou said. “The Cloud Edition is a great vehicle for our customers to put, for example, a Web Application Firewall in front of all their applications, which increasingly they want to do and, sometimes, they’re required to do by regulation.”

What’s Next?

Looking beyond the cloud edition of BIG-IP, Locoh-Donou said that in the second half of this year F5 will be bringing more new standalone security products to the product portfolio

“You will see also from us in the first half of 2019 some exciting announcements, generally, in the software space and in cloud solutions,” Locoh-Donou said. “So I think over the next 12 months, we’re bringing to market some new solutions that essentially extend our addressable market into new use cases.”

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

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