F5 BIG-IP cloudbursts onto Amazon Web Services scene

Company envisions clients moving entire applications into Amazon cloud while using BIG-IP as a front end and management suite

Joining the ranks of companies like SAP, Microsoft, Eucalyptus, and CloudStack that are deepening their ties with AWS (Amazon Web Services), F5 this week announced a virtual edition of its BIG-IP suite designed for specifically for Amazon's popular public cloud. F5's aim here is to lure in customers who are eager to take to advantage of AWS extensive on-tap computing resources -- either through cloudbursting or moving entire applications into the Amazon cloud -- while maintaining control over scalability, security, and performance.

F5's BIG-IP Virtual Edition, as the name implies, is a version of the BIG-IP system that runs as a virtual machine. The BIG-IP suite itself includes modules for managing local and global traffic; for managing application security, access policies, and WAN optimization; and for accelerating Web traffic. Prior to today's announcement, F5 offered support for virtualized and cloud environments based on vSphere, Hyper-V, Xen, and KVM.

F5 is now offering enterprises native availability of its application-delivery tools in AWS, which means they can use the Amazon cloud for cloudbursting -- that is, the ability to access cloud-based computing resources on the fly to maintain application continuity when demand exceeds what the data center can handle. For example, a company might determine that it's more cost-effective to leverage AWS to handle occasional spikes in demand, rather than investing in costly hardware that will often go unused.

BIG-IP for AWS isn't just about cloudbursting, though. F5 envisions companies moving entire applications into the Amazon cloud while using BIG-IP effectively as a front end and management suite.

"Enterprises want the flexibility and scale of cloud services, yet they can struggle with application complexity and sufficient control," said Rohit Mehra, VP of Network Infrastructure at IDC. "The challenge lies in easily expanding IT's service portfolio with cloud and hybrid capabilities while keeping the applications fast, secure, and available. BIG-IP's native availability inside Amazon Web Services allows enterprises to deeply embed a strategic awareness of how applications behave in cloud adoption scenarios."

Current F5 users will be able to apply their existing BIG-IP configurations and policies and apply to BIG-IP running on AWS. The offering will use the AWS BYOL (bring your own license) model, meaning companies would buy perpetual licenses from F5 and apply them to instances running in AWS.

BIG-IP solutions for AWS will be available by the end of the year.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.