F5 Proudly Optimizing the Network for Microsoft’s Cloud Platform System

Certainly the single largest transformation of the traditional data center in recent history is the concept of the "Private Cloud". Nearly universally embraced in theory, the Private Cloud promises breakthrough advances in efficiency and automation that make self-provisioning and dynamic scaling a reality. Listen to an industry presentation on Private Cloud, and it's going to be difficult to walk away not thinking "I want that, and I want that now!"

Unfortunately several significant hurdles have persisted in making the vision of Private Cloud a reality. Up until this point the Private Cloud has remained elusive for many, primarily because of the costs and complexities of deployment and support. A true Private Cloud orchestrates all aspects of compute, storage, and network, which are almost always components delivered by different vendors, all of whom have adopted different APIs and management toolsets. This has traditionally put building a private cloud out of reach for all but the most well-funded and sophisticated data centers.

Instead of placing the burden on the data center owners to coordinate technologies and vendors, several vendors have started delivering pre-built offerings, designed to have all the necessary pieces working together before they reach the customers data center. One of these 'Converged Infrastructures' was announced by Microsoft last week, appropriately called Microsoft Cloud Platform System, or CPS. Microsoft's years of leadership in providing public cloud services now culminate in an offering that allows the enterprise data center to run the same technologies as found in Azure.

Digging a bit deeper into CPS, and you'll several distinct advantage of this offering:

1. A single vendor to purchase the complete Private Cloud system from

2. A single vendor management toolset (System Center) that automates and orchestrates the whole environment

3. A single vendor support model, meaning one number to call whenever anything goes wrong

Microsoft endeavored (and succeeded) to deliver a completely automated solution that included best of breed technologies on the compute, storage, and network components. For this reason, it is no surprise to know that Microsoft chose to partner with F5. BIG-IP's restful API provides System Center & the CPS management infrastructure the ability to automate both configuration and device management, while BIG-IP's traffic management engine allows the utmost in flexibility for tenant workflow traffic.

As a built-in component of CPS, a pair of VIPRION 2200 Chassis and blades will provide resiliency to the CPS management infrastructure (mainly Azure Pack) but also reserves most of its resources for providing traffic management to tenant workloads. On the management plane, CPS takes advantage of BIG-IP's REST API for device management, such as backup snapshots and versioning, while on the control plane, CPS can manage the creation of BIG-IP traffic management policies. This allows for functionality, such as load balancing, to be provisioned for tenants upon their request and completely "behind the scenes".

After working with Microsoft over the last year on the project, we're incredibly excited that the covers have finally been pulled off the Cloud Platform System. CPS delivers on a true Private Cloud model, managed with a single toolset, System Center/PowerShell, that data center administrators are already comfortable with. Having F5 as an integral part of the solution means that customers will also benefit from the best in class Traffic Management.

If you would like more information on our integration with CPS, please reach out to us at msfttechteam@f5.com. Better yet, if you happen to be in Barcelona this week at TechEd Europe, please stop by our booth (booth 88)!

Published Oct 27, 2014
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