New F5 software advances application security, management, and orchestration

F5 Networks' software-based solutions that enable customers to seamlessly integrate availability and security services, simplify device management, and better orchestrate IT infrastructure are now available in more than 20 African countries from value-added distributor, Networks Unlimited.

To lower costs and boost efficiency, organisations are evolving toward more dynamic infrastructure models that combine physical, virtual, and cloud components. Supporting this transition, F5's innovative, versatile solutions give customers the ability to take advantage of the benefits provided by traditional data centre, cloud and hybrid architectures.

F5's introduction includes:

* BIG-IP 12.1 software, delivering leading application services with enhanced public cloud integration and more sophisticated security policies for on-premises and hybrid cloud environments;
* BIG-IQ Centralised Management 5.0, providing expanded management for F5's BIG-IP solution portfolio with significant scalability and performance advances; and
* iWorkflow 2.0, enabling the orchestration of F5 services with SDN-focused solutions like Cisco ACI and VMware NSX, as well as continuous deployment scenarios using DevOps tools from vendors such as Ansible, Chef and Puppet.

Programmable application services for ultimate flexibility

With the release of BIG-IP version 12.1 software, no other Application Delivery Controller (ADC) vendor offers F5's level of programmability across traditional, cloud, and hybrid architectures. F5's new iRulesLX technology marks a substantial advance in programmability, providing the ability to manipulate and selectively deploy service capabilities via Node.js, and includes easy access to over 250 000 community Node.js packages. These capabilities are especially important in delivering advanced functionality for Web applications that require optimised throughput, scalability, and unique traffic steering services. In addition, a new plug-in for the Eclipse Integrated Development Environment (IDE) – commonly supported by other enterprise technology vendors, such as CA, Google, IBM, Oracle, Red Hat and SAP – enables the rapid delivery of reusable code that drives advanced functionality.

Strong policy-based security with protection for applications everywhere

The proliferation of Internet-facing applications has led to pervasive threats on business-critical Web services, along with an increase in the sophistication of attacks. F5's security enhancements allow organisations to more effectively ensure application availability and performance, resolve critical app protection gaps and strengthen overall defences. F5's announcement reflects a number of new security capabilities, with highlights including:

* BIG-IP 12.1 enhances industry-leading Web application defence via BIG-IP Application Security Manager (ASM) with unique, customisable bot detection methods that enable detailed analysis and extensive device ID tracking.
* BIG-IP ASM accelerates the blacklisting of malicious IPs in hardware at high rates for layer 7 threats, providing coverage until feed lists are updated.
* F5 gives visibility into HTML5 WebSocket connections for comprehensive policy protection where other WAFs fail.
* BIG-IP Advanced Firewall Manager now offers enhanced capabilities that automatically mitigate L3–7 attacks upstream in the ISP realm and control SSH channel user-initiated actions with simple custom policy enforcement.

Tight integration with leading public cloud environments

Application architects and developers must rapidly implement apps and services as part of a continuous deployment pipeline, while ensuring that they remain fast, highly available and secure throughout. F5 solutions are designed to let customers use the same services in the cloud that they can in the data centre.

New technologies offer expanded support for AWS and Azure environments, including integration with AWS autoscale to dynamically scale app services, active/standby high availability across availability zones, and added F5 WAF capabilities for Azure Security Centre.

Powerful management and orchestration capabilities for simplified operations

For network architects and administrators, F5 has updated its BIG-IQ Centralised Management solution. The platform provides visibility, reporting, licensing, and management capabilities that simplify operations for F5 BIG-IP products, and now includes support for F5's award-winning BIG-IP Access Policy Manager. F5 is the only vendor that combines centralised, role-based management for application delivery, security, and identity management into a united framework. In addition, with this new version of BIG-IQ, customers can now simultaneously manage, update, and configure application services for up to 200 physical and virtual devices, and handle up to 5 000 BIG-IP licences.

F5's new iWorkflow platform accelerates the deployment of applications by enabling the orchestration of network services, such as traffic management and security. Available as a virtual appliance, iWorkflow is a multi-tenant solution for deploying application delivery policies with BIG-IP solutions to support a variety of IT environments, including hybrid clouds. Using smart templates, policies can be deployed directly via the iWorkflow GUI, via third-party management solutions such as Cisco ACI or VMware NSX through connectors, or via other orchestration technologies such as Ansible, Chef, and Puppet with an SDK.

"F5's industry-leading service programmability promotes flexible deployment capabilities, policy-based controls and hybrid cloud support, meeting both the integration and open source needs of our customers in Africa," adds Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited.

For further details, please contact Alexa Gerber, F5 product manager at Networks Unlimited at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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