F5 Friday: Addressing the Unintended Consequences of Cloud

Operationally unified architectures able to leverage cloud computing without compromising on control and security are key to mitigating unintended consequences of cloud

The adoption of cloud computing introduces operational challenges that would once required a single-vendor architecture solution. Today, thanks to service-focused APIs and control planes, it is possible to overcome operational challenges posed by the need for diverse infrastructure components and systems to collaborate. By enabling F5 solutions with a flexible, service-focused control plane architecture, F5 infrastructure can collaborate with components, systems and APIs to enable the automation and flexibility required to realize a dynamic data center. 

F5 solutions are deployed in strategic points in the network, forming the foundation for a diversified, dynamic data center powered by a flexible control plane and designed on the premise of integration. This position in the data center allows F5 solutions to enable integration, replication, and automation of policies, processes, applications, and systems in an operationally consistent way. By maintaining the cost savings and operational efficiencies of cloud and virtualization, F5 mitigates operational risks to performance, availability, and security across every environment - on and off premise.

This approach is necessary because the unintended consequences (side-effects) of cloud can directly impact operational complexity, costs, and risk, which may completely or partially negate its benefits. To avoid this requires a strategy that leverages operational consistency and the ability to replicate operational processes, policies, and data across multiple deployments. That means anywhere an organizational resource is deployed should be integrated into and subject to the same processes and policies that govern existing, data-center deployed resources. Strategic points of control form the framework for ensuring the benefits of virtualization and cloud computing are not lost to unintended consequences.

Technologies from F5 that specifically address these unintended consequences by supporting a dynamic and operationally consistent delivery platform capable of spanning environments and data center models include:


iApp is a feature name for what are fundamentally programmable application templates. These templates make simple user interfaces for complex system configurations.

  • Consistent, repeatable deployment processes that replicate infrastructure policies responsible for mitigating operational risk.
  • Makes repeatable, automated deployments of specific applications a reality, freeing operations and reducing possibility of mismatched policies and/or misconfiguration leading to downtime, poor performance, or a security breach.

ADDRESSES: Fast deployment of applications without compromising security and increases operational efficiencies through a more service-oriented, black-box style approach to deployment.


TMOS is the underlying, shared product platform for F5 BIG-IP products that is unlike anything else in the industry. TMOS application control plane architecture creates a unified pool of highly scalable, resilient, and reusable services that can adapt to dynamically changing data center and virtual conditions

  • Enables mitigation of operational risk – security, availability, performance – consistently across dispersed and heterogeneous environments.
  • As a unified platform TMOS is the foundation for an operationally unified architecture that enables control over policies, processes, and resources regardless of deployment location reduces administrative overhead, mitigates operational risk, and enables freedom to integrate the right resources at the right time without regard to location.

ADDRESSES: A shared platform allows consolidation of application delivery services onto a single platform, providing boosts for efficiency without requiring multiple management systems or frameworks.


The ScaleN architecture provides you with the ability to scale up or scale out on demand, creating an elastic application delivery controller (ADC) processing platform that
can grow as your business needs change. The ScaleN approach delivers a superior way to scale application delivery services that creates true deployment flexibility and simplifies system and application-level maintenance and departs from the traditional N+1 model.

  • Brings flexibility and scalability to infrastructure, ensuring the “network” is never a performance impediment; replicates policies while scaling out, even across environments.
  • Device Service Clustering (DSC) – a core component of ScaleN - provides the ability to group devices and services across an array of systems (appliances, VIPRION chassis, or virtual editions) to create a horizontal cluster across which synchronization of policies can be achieved.

ADDRESSES: Auto-scalability of both infrastructure and applications without sacrificing the elasticity associated with cloud computing models.


F5’s open-standards based API, iControl, provides granular control over BIG-IP solutions throughout the application delivery lifecycle.

  • Enables integration of F5 BIG-IP with management systems, automation frameworks, and orchestration solutions to ensure operational collaboration across the data center and into cloud computing environments.

ADDRESSES: Auto-scalability of applications by providing an integration interface for popular virtualization provisioning and orchestration solutions.


iStats are custom configurable control and data plane statistics that allow greater visibility into the business and operational performance of applications and BIG-IP.

  • Brings additional flexibility to visibility, enabling gathering of performance and availability statistics that better allow operations to set thresholds and parameters that form the basis for elasticity in application scalability.

ADDRESSES: Auto-scalability of applications by providing an greater visibility options.


By taking advantage of an operationally consistent application delivery tier to integrate cloud resources, organizations can mitigate the unintended consequences of cloud and realize its benefits without compromising elsewhere. 

Published Mar 09, 2012
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