Cloud Computing Economics - There Is No Free Service

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Cloudonomics Authors: Lori MacVittie, Skytap Blog, David H Deans, Shelly Palmer, Tim Crawford

Related Topics: Cloud Computing, Virtualization Magazine, Cloudonomics Journal, SOA Best Practices Digest, SOA & WOA Magazine, SOA in the Cloud Expo, CIO/CTO Update, Telecom Innovation, Java in the Cloud, DevOps for Business Application Services, SDN Journal, DevOps Journal, Internet of Things Journal

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Software Defined Application Services

Everything as a Service has become nearly a synonym for cloud computing. That's unsurprising

Everything as a Service has become nearly a synonym for cloud computing. That's unsurprising, as the benefits of cloud - from economy of scale to increased service velocity - are derived mainly from the abstraction of network, compute and storage resources into services that can be rapidly provisioned, elastically scaled and intelligently orchestrated. We've come to use "Everything as a Service" and "Software Defined Data Center" nearly interchangeably, because the goal of both is really to drive toward IT as a Service. A world in which end-users (application owners and administrators) can provision, scale and orchestrate the resources necessary to deliver applications from app dev through devops to the network.

This journey, in part, gave rise to SDN as a means to include the network in this new service-oriented data center. But SDN focused on only a subset of the network stack, leaving critical layer 4-7 services behind.

Needless to say, such services are critical. Elastic scale is impossible without a combination of visibility and load balancing, after all, and a plethora of performance, security and even identity management focused services have become integral to modern data center architectures attempting to address pressures arising from trends like the Internet of Things, mobility, a steady stream of attacks, and an increasingly impatient consumer base.

The problem of what to do about layer 4-7 services has been bandied about and given a lot of lip service, but no one really had a good solution - not one that integrated both with application (cloud and virtualization orchestration) and network orchestration solutions.

Given F5's long-standing leadership in the realm of layer 4-7 services, we bent our heads together and found a solution. One that integrates and interoperates with SDN and compute orchestration solutions. One that applies SDN principles to application service networks. One that abstracts the application network resources necessary to deliver application services in a way that fills that gap between the network and compute orchestration layers.

That solution is F5 Synthesis, and what it enables is Software Defined Application Services (SDAS).

SDAS is the result of delivering highly flexible and programmatic application services from a unified, high-performance application service fabric. Orchestrated intelligently by BIG-IQ, SDAS can be provisioned and architected to solve significant pain points resulting from the whirling maelstrom of trends driving IT today.

SDAS relies on abstraction; on the ability to take advantage of resources pooled from any combination of physical, virtual and cloud deployed F5 platforms. End-users are empowered to provision services instead of devices, and to leverage the visibility inherent in F5's full proxy-based platform approach.


SDAS are highly flexible, owing to programmatic interfaces at not just the control (iControl, REST APIs) and data plane (iRules, node.js, Groovy) layers, but also at the configuration layer (iCall and iApps) to enable real-time, event-driven changes in behavior at the service level.

SDAS is the next phase in the lengthy evolution of application delivery. As the approach to data centers becomes increasingly software-defined, so must the components that comprise the data center. That certainly must include the application service that have become so critical to ensuring the reliability, security and performance of the growing catalog of applications delivered to employees and consumers and, of course, "things" that make up the Internet today.

Additional Resources:

  1. F5 Synthesis: The Time is Right

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.