F5 execs: We're blasting virtualization beyond Layer 3

F5's Synthesis Architecture aims to virtualize networking functions in Layers 4-7

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McAdam: Oh, yeah, totally. Take the DDoS reference architecture that we're talking about. That doesn't need to be in an SDN world. I mean that can be basically in data centers today. The beauty about having that sitting on top of Synthesis is that it allows us to really talk to the customer in terms they understand, about things they have issues with and relate to. It also makes it easier to implement. We're not waiting on product being available from our partners to do this. This is stuff that can happen in the data center today. As customers deploy SDN, it gets even better because it makes that deployment even easier from a customer perspective, because that extends into the Layer 2-3 world as well.

[FIREWALL: F5 data center firewall aces performance test]

Rivelo: And just to put a little bit more context around it, since we abstract ourselves from the network, [it works] any which way you can get a network to us. That could be a physical port off of a switch, that could be a VLAN, or the new generations of software-defined networks. Any way you get a network to us, we provide the services on top. Remember, the network is just the means to move data or packets back and forth, but what we provide is the stuff sitting on top. So all of these reference architectures are available for traditional networking solutions.

And just real quickly, in terms of timeline, when does it roll out?

Rivelo: Synthesis is out, we launched it. What we've tried to do, because it was at our sales event, was not only to launch this concept and this architecture with the reference architectures, all the collateral associated with it for our sales force. So they're in training, they're learning, they're excited, and we're going to market with it right now.

Beyond Synthesis, are there any other burning F5 issues that we should be talking about?

McAdam: There's a lot on our plate right now. We're going to be doing some fairly significant announcements in a few weeks as well regarding some cloud solutions, but it's really not the time to talk about that.

Solutions targeted specifically to cloud buyers?

Rivelo: Correct. You'll see more in the coming months here.

McAdam: On a similar subject, we also did a small acquisition. I don't know if you noticed an announcement pretty recently, a small company called Versafe, a fraud detection capability. They have a security operation center, so it's sort of an as-a-service type solution. You'll see us doing more of that type of solution in the future as well, not just point products.

That reminded me, one of the critical things that we're seeing customers wrestle with is how they integrate their own data centers with the cloud. So how will Synthesis help them with that?

McAdam: Oh, wow. I mean that's one of the user cases. We have a module called Cloud Connector, and basically it works with our software-only solutions, allows you to bridge. Let's say you wanted to move to the cloud maybe for seasonal reasons at Christmas because you needed more processing power, we can do that. You can go to Amazon, you can go to VMware, you can spin up our modules to make sure that's secure using our application firewall. And meanwhile you could be also using your own data center. That's available today.

That's great. So John, Manny, anything else that I should know about?

Rivelo: The way to think about that is that we give our customers different options on the way they procure technology. There are the traditional perpetual licensing models that are out there where they just want to own the technology, there's the subscription model. Some of it's just utility, meaning by the minute, by the hour for cloud solutions. Then there are bundles, if you will, groupings of technologies. We've launched, as part of our simplified business model, all of those, some of them that have existed and some new ones, and one that we call Good-Better-Best. And the principle is really straightforward. It's groupings of technology that work well together. The goal would be to make it easier for customers to deploy those reference architectures across their environment and that's gotten good reception by our sales organization. It reduces the complexity of all the feature functionality and makes it just faster for both the customer and for us to transact.

Read more about lan and wan in Network World's LAN & WAN section.

This story, "F5 execs: We're blasting virtualization beyond Layer 3" was originally published by Network World.

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