The BIG-IP Public Cloud team has developed many solutions over the years to enable customers to easily deploy BIG-IP with a few steps. The latest Cloud Solutions Templates 2.0 (CSTv2) have been designed to improve the user experience with fewer templates, simplify full-stack deployments, enable customization via a new modular nested/linked architecture, and more. In this article, I plan to cover the BIG-IP cloud template history from v1 versus v2 along with some available examples and concepts.
The BIG-IP platform has been supported in public cloud and available in AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) Marketplaces for many years. While the BIG-IP can be deployed in variety of ways, let's focus on one method of deployment for this article, using Google as the example (of course, it applies to Azure and AWS as well): Google Deployment Manager (GDM).
The F5 Public Cloud team originally created the GitHub repo for v1 BIG-IP GDM templates. The popularity of v1 templates via customer adoption resulted in the explosion of template options as well as GitHub feature requests for customizations. As a result, it became difficult for the product development team to engineer solutions when they were stuck in "fixing mode".
Skipping forward a few years, now we have the GitHub repo for v2 BIG-IP GDM templates. Compared to the v1 templates, v2 utilizes a modular approach to deploy the items like BIG-IP, network stacks, and application stacks. A modular template design enables you to use related resources that fall under different administrative domains, group together those resources, and reuse them without one-to-one resource mappings. For example, if the team deploying BIG-IP does not have permission to create IAM roles, they can point a security team to the ACCESS module section for an example of the minimal permissions needed.
As a bonus, onboarding now uses BIG-IP Runtime Init for even greater customization control. The BIG-IP Runtime Init uses the F5 Tool Chain declarative APIs for initial setup of the BIG-IP system, IP addresses, routes, application and WAF security policies. The declarative configuration consists of Layer 1-3 system and network settings using Declarative Onboarding (DO). You can configure observability and analytics with Telemetry Streaming (TS). You can also configure Layer 4-7 application settings using Application Services 3 Extension (AS3).
Example v2 Templates
The v2 example templates should be treated as examples only and will require customizations for your environment. They are meant to act as helpful guides that will assist in a quick deployment of BIG-IP and network stacks.
As of the April 2022 release, the following BIG-IP example deployments are available in GCP:
This article covers the differences and benefits of the F5 BIG-IP public cloud templates as they progressed from CSTv1 to CSTv2. The next article in this series will show you the "How-to" of deploying BIG-IP with the example v2 templates.