iApp – What is it?
iApp is a seriously cool, game changing technology that was released in F5’s v11. There are so many benefits to our customers with this tool that I am going to break it down over a series of posts. Today we will focus on what it is.
Hopefully you are already familiar with the power of F5’s iRules technology. If not, here is a quick background. F5 products support a scripting language based on TCL. This language allows an administrator to tell their BIG-IP to intercept, inspect, transform, direct and track inbound or outbound application traffic. An iRule is the bit of code that contains the set of instructions the system uses to process data flowing through it, either in the header or payload of a packet. This technology allows our customers to solve real-time application issues, security vulnerabilities, etc that are unique to their environment or are time sensitive.
An iApp is like iRules, but for the management plane. Again, there is a scripting language that administrators can build instructions the system will use. But instead of describing how to process traffic, in the case of iApp, it is used to describe the user interface and how the system will act on information gathered from the user. The bit of code that contains these instructions is referred to as an iApp or iApp template. A system administrator can use F5-provided iApp templates installed on their BIG-IP to configure a service for a new application. They will be presented with the text and input fields defined by the iApp author. Once complete, their answers are submitted, and the template implements the configuration. First an application service object (ASO) is created that ties together all the configuration objects which are created, like virtual servers and profiles. Each object created by the iApp is then marked with the ASO to identify their membership in the application for future management and reporting.
That about does it for what an iApp is…..next up, how they can work for you.