The morning kicked off with keynote sessions from Karl Triebes, CTO and EVP Product Development, outlining the F5 proposition and roadmap, along with how the business is working with customers and partners to ensure F5 solutions are used to full effect to tackle agreed business objectives.
Karl outlined the huge investments F5 has made over the past eighteen months as we have evolved the platform and built a considerable amount of new functionality into the products – including 300 new features in BIG IP alone.
With the launch of Silverline and major acquisitions (such as Defense.net and Versafe) adding to the portfolio, the transformation of F5 from a traditional load balancing firm to primarily a software business is complete. The roadmap showed additional services being added to Silverline and SDN integration continuing apace; it’s set to be another exciting and transformative eighteen months ahead.
In Karl’s view, the network is emulating the changes in the server world a number of years ago. In an increasingly hybrid environment, customers want to run and manage application services, regardless of where they are positioned – cloud, datacentre or delivered as-a-service – and there needs to be tools and processes in place to manage this, based on business logic. Karl pointed out how programmability and automation have long been built into the fabric of the F5 platform, so F5 are well placed to help customers evolve their networks.
Much like the industrial revolution allowed for production at scale, we’re now changing the workflow of application development and deployment at scale, as part of this hybrid revolution. With the increasing prevalence of as-a-service tools, businesses now also have the option to purchase and run new tools without having to overcome upfront costs or skills shortages.
Karl centred in on SDN – once labelled “Still Does Nothing” – having become a game changer for businesses over the past year. Instead of a collection of devices you plug together and script, what organisations now want to do is to set up a connection, define how ports are connected and then let services plug in. F5 brings the ability to programme both the network and applications, to optimise the business within this environment.
Next up, Julian Eames, Executive Vice President, Business Operations took to the stage to discuss building resilience for non-stop organisations. Kicking off by suggesting today’s IT leaders must ensure that their systems are designed for failure, rather than built to spec, Julian focused on the importance of planning IT implementations in detail, with the business objectives and solutions required, along with who is responsible for any project, agreed up front.
Julian also focused his talk on how the incredible breadth of knowledge and commitment to the customer offered by the engineers at the heart of F5’s business (citing an average 9.2/10 customer support satisfaction score as proof). Whether you call it drinking your own champagne or eating your own dogfood, he reinforced customer and partner confidence in F5’s solutions by reminding the audience how F5 acts as the test case for all new solutions before they’re available to the wider market.