Five of the top six services critical to cloud are application delivery services and available with F5 BIG-IP.
The big news at MMS 2012 was focused on private cloud and Microsoft’s latest solutions in the space with System Center 2012. Microsoft’s news comes on the heels of IBM’s latest foray with its PureSystems launch at its premiere conference, IBM Pulse.
As has become common, while System Center 2012 addresses the resources most commonly associated with cloud of any kind, compute, and the means by which operational tasks can be codified, automated, and integrated, it does not delve too deeply into the network, leaving that task to its strategic partners.
One of its long-term partners is F5, and we take the task seriously.The benefits of private cloud are rooted in greater economies of scale through broader aggregation and provisioning of resources, as well its ability to provide for flexible and reliable applications that are always available and rely on many of these critical services. Applications are not islands of business functionality, after all; they rely upon a multitude of network-hosted services such as load balancing, identity and access management, and security services to ensure a consistent, secure end-user experience from anywhere, from any device. 5 of the top 6 services seen as most critical to cloud implementations in a 2012 Network World Cloud survey are infrastructure services, all of which are supported by the application delivery tier.
The ability to consistently apply policies governing these aspects of every successful application deployment is critical to keeping the network aligned with the allocation of compute and storage resources. With the network, applications cannot scale, reliability is variable, and security compromised through fragmentation and complexity. The lack of a unified infrastructure architecture reduces the performance, scale, security and flexibility of cloud computing environments, both private and public. Thus, just as we ensure the elasticity and operational benefits associated with a more automated and integrated application delivery strategy for IBM, so have we done with respect to a Microsoft private cloud solution.
BIG-IP Solutions for Microsoft Private Cloud
BIG-IP solutions for Microsoft private cloud take advantage of key features and technologies in BIG-IP version 11.1, including F5’s virtual Clustered MultiprocessingTM (vCMP™) technology, iControl®, F5’s web services-enabled open application programming interface (API), administrative partitioning and server name indication (SNI). Together, these features help reduce the cost and complexity of managing cloud infrastructures in multi-tenant environments. With BIG-IP v11.1, organizations reap the maximum benefits of conducting IT operations and application delivery services in the private cloud. Although these technologies are generally applicable to all cloud implementations – private, public or hybrid – we also announced Microsoft-specific integration and support that enables organizations to ensure the capability to extend automation and orchestration into the application delivery tier for maximum return on investment.
F5 Monitoring Pack for System Center
Provides two-way communication between BIG-IP devices and the System Center management console. Health monitoring, failover, and configuration synchronization of BIG-IP devices, along with customized alerting, Maintenance Mode, and Live Migration, occur within the Operations Manager component of System Center. The F5 Load Balancing Provider for System Center
Enables one-step, automated deployment of load balancing services through direct interoperability between the Virtual Machine Manager component of System Center 2012 and BIG-IP devices. BIG-IP devices are managed through the System Center user interface, and administrators can custom-define load balancing services. The Orchestrator component of System Center 2012
Provides F5 traffic management capabilities and takes advantage of workflows designed using the Orchestrator Runbook Designer. These custom workflows can then be published directly into System Center 2012 service catalogs and presented as a standard offering to the organization. This is made possible using the F5 iControl SDK, which gives customers the flexibility to choose a familiar development environment such as the Microsoft .NET Framework programming model or Windows PowerShell scripting.
Private cloud – as an approach to IT operations – calls for transformation of datacenters, leveraging a few specific strategic points of control, to aggregate and continuously re-allocate IT resources as needed in such as way to make software applications more like services that are always on and secured across users and devices. Private cloud itself is not a single, tangible solution today. Today it is a solution comprised of several key components, including power/cooling, compute, storage and network, management and monitoring tools and the the software applications/databases that end users need.
We’ve moved past the hype of private cloud and its potential benefits. Now organizations need a path, clearly marked, to help them build and deploy private clouds.
That’s part of F5’s goal – to provide the blueprints necessary to build out the application delivery tier to ensure a flexible, reliable and scalable foundation for the infrastructure services required to build and deploy private clouds.
The F5 Monitoring Pack for System Center and the F5 PRO-enabled Monitoring Pack for System Center are now available. The F5 Load Balancing Provider for System Center is available as a free download from the F5 DevCentral website. The Orchestrator component of System Center 2012 is based on F5 iControl and Windows PowerShell, and is also free.
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