In recent weeks, I had the opportunity to attend F5 Agility US and Australia, and meet with several customers and partners of Cisco and F5. It was evident from these events that there is an increasing momentum in deploying F5 application services with Cisco ACI. There are several customers in production already who are benefiting from the automation and agility the joint solution provides. In particular, we showcased the recently announced F5 iWorkflow – Cisco ACI integrated solution at these events. What is so unique about this solution to which customers are drawn in big numbers? This blog will unravel all the excitement.
How the F5 iWorkflow-Cisco ACI joint solution works?
One of the key differentiators in the iWorkflow based solution is the dynamic nature of device package generation. F5’s iWorkflow lets cloud and DC admins dynamically define the F5 device package based on F5 iApps technology. Different flavors of device package can be generated dynamically based on required L4-L7 policies, thereby providing cloud & application teams the option of integrating F5 BIG-IP in Service Manager Mode (hybrid/partially managed) mode as described in my blog posted a few weeks ago. F5 iWorkflow acts as the F5 Service Device Controller and the device package is required to integrate F5 BIG-IP into Cisco APIC and expose L4-L7 policies to its tenants. Through self-service catalogues, iWorkflow tenants deploy highly-configurable and administrator-defined application services templates, a.k.a F5 iApps. Deploying services in a template approach provides the tenant an abstraction from device-centric operational complexity.
The benefits of such abstraction and simplification are twofold:
(1) Greatly reducing the learning-curve for deployment staff unfamiliar with complex application delivery services
(2) Simplifying the integration of application-delivery policy into 3rd party management and orchestration systems
In addition to presenting configurable services templates, the services catalogues also enforce user, group, and role-based access control, thus providing a platform that simplifies the journey to an integrated, self-service architecture. With the implementation of application-delivery services templates, operational risk, delay, and complexity are avoided, while increasing the speed of business.
Cisco ACI – F5 iWorkflow solution benefits
- Leverage best of breed for L2-L7 (Cisco+F5)
- Dynamic Device Package: Increase Services Coverage (beyond just load balancing)
- Collaborate effectively with app architects/teams
- Agile delivery: Present L4-L7 services to app teams in an intuitive fashion
- Reduce operational expense by enabling the rapid deployment of performance, high-availability, and security policy
- Simplify architecture through the abstraction of complexity
- Reduce exposure to operational risk that comes with manual configuration and processes.
Leveraging centralized policy management and smart templating technology, Cisco ACI – F5 iWorkflow integrated solution keeps application services provisioning simple, flexible and reduces operational risks, while enabling effective collaboration between network, security and application teams.
This app-centric architecture also opens up the possibility of future integrations between Cisco and F5 technologies, such as analytics & security to further bolster all the aspects of application delivery in a platform agnostic architecture, leading to efficient and complete services and applications’ lifecycle management.
We are also pleased to invite you to attend detailed technical webinars on this topic, one for US based customers and a series of webinars for European customers.
Register here for US webinar: https://interact.f5.com/2016Q4W-Cisco-ACI-SEP14_Social-Reg-Page.html
Register here for European webinar: https://interact.f5.com/2016Q4WEMEAWebinarCiscoACIENSEP21_2-RegistrationPage.html?regsource=cisco
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