F5 Networks, Inc., the global leader in Application Delivery Networking (ADN), today announced the F5 Network Virtualization Solution for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. The solution gives F5 customers the flexibility to use the BIG-IP platform to deploy network services in cloud-driven data centers that are built on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V. This announcement underscores F5’s commitment to deliver a dynamic, efficient data center that will ensure scalability, security, and manageability across an organization’s IT environments and systems.
With this solution, the same network-based services that the BIG-IP platform provides—such as local and global load balancing, advanced traffic steering, access control, and application security and acceleration—can now also be used to deliver applications in the Microsoft cloud and virtualized network environments. The solution is enabled by F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) Virtual Edition (VE) running on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.
Virtualization Gateway Delivers Business Value
Organizations that use Hyper-V network virtualization to realize cost savings and operational efficiencies stand to gain many additional benefits from the F5 solution, including:
- Improved Flexibility – Working in conjunction with Hyper-V network virtualization, the F5 solution supports seamless, low-cost migration to the cloud by allowing organizations to use the same policies and IP addresses in the cloud that they currently use in the physical network.
- Cost Savings – The F5 solution accelerates data center consolidation by connecting hybrid cloud environments, enabling organizations to cut costs while extending their applications and services.
- Efficient Network Management – The F5 solution can intelligently manage network traffic at layers 4-7, mitigating the need for organizations to build and manage large layer 2 networks.
- Streamlined ADN Services – The F5 solution runs on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, and all services are applied in BIG-IP LTM VE, so no software upgrades or special code is required on the physical network.
Complements and Enhances SDN Architectures
The F5 solution is particularly important for enterprise customers, Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers, Software-as-a-Service providers, and independent software vendors (ISVs) who are adopting Software Defined Networking (SDN) for improved manageability and flexibility in their layer 2-3 network fabric. The F5 solution complements SDN by providing a strategic point of control for making application level (layer 4-7) decisions across the data, management, and control planes.
This latest advancement in F5’s longstanding relationship with Microsoft also marks F5’s entry into the Windows Server Hyper-V Network Virtualization partner ecosystem. “Windows Server 2012 SDN was built from the ground up to create new opportunities for networking providers to bring innovative solutions to market,” said Sandeep Singhal, General Manager, Windows Networking at Microsoft. “F5 Networks has taken advantage of this architecture to help customers accelerate cloud deployments when they use BIG-IP LTM VE running on Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V.”
Extends BIG-IP Platform Advantages to Microsoft Cloud
The F5 solution is one of the first available for Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V, supporting customer deployments of Hyper-V network virtualization for highly scalable, multi-tenant data centers. With the F5 solution, customers can use the same ADN platform they are already using to deliver and secure application services. This approach helps extend data center computing models to run any application workload on any server, anywhere—and to users on any device, anywhere—while keeping comprehensive security policies in place to protect the user and the business.
“This release marks an important milestone for F5,” said Calvin Rowland, VP of Technology and ISV Alliances at F5. “We are bringing together the application delivery capabilities needed to deliver applications into any environment, using the BIG-IP platform in close two-way communication with Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V hosts and Microsoft System Center 2012 SP1. This gives customers additional flexibility to operate across both physical and virtual networks.”
Easier, Lower-Cost, Rapid Application Deployment
The F5 solution opens up many new deployment scenarios because it helps customers more easily move virtual machines (VMs) within or across data centers for more cost-effective utilization of shared infrastructure. With SDN, customers no longer have to deal with the constraints of traditional networking environments where VMs are mapped to physical IP addresses and switches must be configured manually to ensure proper packet routing.
Furthermore, when VMs are moved, the rich set of ADN services provided by the BIG-IP platform moves with them. For example, when a line-of-business web application is moved to another data center, the security policy, access control, acceleration, global load balancing, and application firewall protections specific to that application automatically move with it. Workloads can also be scaled out from on-premises to off-premises environments as capacity needs, performance requirements, or cost concerns dictate.
This ease of movement enables customers to take advantage of hosting providers for backup data center services as an alternative to building their own secondary sites. Customers that use hosting providers can also benefit from the flexibility and pay-as-you-go models that cloud environments offer.
New Revenue for Channel Partners
The F5 solution also opens up a revenue opportunity for channel partners, who will be able to sell it as a new, specialized SKU in support of Windows Server Hyper-V network virtualization solutions in production environments.
“The F5 Network Virtualization Solution for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V demonstrates F5’s innovation and market leadership,” said Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research. “This solution is a perfect example of the flexibility and extensibility of F5’s BIG-IP platform. By helping customers to easily move workloads in and out of virtualized and cloud environments, F5 breaks down deployment barriers and makes the promises of cloud computing real for customers.”
The F5 Network Virtualization Solution for Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V will be available in the first quarter of calendar year 2013. Pricing and licensing details are yet to be announced.