The Programmable Network CleverBox(TM)

This year F5 is one of the sponsors of the Velocity Conference (Santa Clara May 27-29 - see you there). Getting ready for these shows takes more work than you might think, especially for an organization like F5 who has software, hardware and ‘as a service’ offerings that have such a wide range of functionality. Sitting with our creative and marketing teams to work out how to talk about this is a challenge. They keep asking me ‘what can F5 do for the visitors to Velocity?” hoping I’m going to come up with some witty tagline that will fit on our stand nicely. This rarely seems to go well for me.

Sometimes I wish we just did one thing – say just an HTTP/2 gateway. We could have a great stand talking about how we can help organizations get the benefits of HTTP/2 – faster page load times, more flexibility and security but without having to change their infrastructure . But HTTP/2 represents just a small slice of the F5 pie, what abut TCP optimization, traffic management, the node.js programmability that LineRate brings to the table, the power of our DNS services to get your customers to the best place every time, the content minification and image optimization tools, IP reputation and IP Location services and and and and…It just goes on and on. It’s not like these features are barely functional ‘check box’ efforts that we only really want to mention in an RFP – they all work really well and usually have a ton of flexible settings. Plus, our customers generally have use cases as wide as our functionality so we can’t just list two problems we can solve and hope you fit into that box – we’d be missing out on the chance to solve  dozens of other issues.

So how can we talk about the great technology we have to an audience of developers, DevOps teams, application owners, cloud architects and assorted technology experts (e.g. you) in a way that makes sense? My idea is to tell you what the F5 software is, and let you work out what you want it to do with it. So here goes: 

We  are an application proxy that can see and manipulate all of the traffic to and from your applications. We give you complete visibility and control to do whatever you want. Decrypt, encrypt, block, copy, log, redirect, alter – you have full read/write access to the traffic. What you do with that power is up to you. DNS traffic, web traffic, SIP, IPV4, IPV6, TCP UDP – we can manage it all. You can control what happens through inbuilt functions, or by writing simple code (if you really must know when someone from New Zealand hits a certain URL on a Friday from their iPad, for instance). What’s more you can control all this power through a REST API – so integrating with the management and orchestration tools of your choice is easy.

That still doesn’t fit on a banner, but maybe it’s a way to help people solve their IT problems. That is, after all, what we are all about.

Published May 01, 2015
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