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F5 turns up the OpenStack heat

OpenStack continues to gain momentum as the basis for both private cloud in the enterprise and a network functions virtualisation (NFV) enabler in service provider environments.

OpenStack, an open-source software platform used to deliver cloud computing, continues to gain momentum as the basis for both private cloud in the enterprise and a network functions virtualisation (NFV) enabler in service provider environments, both of which are grappling with the challenge of scaling faster and further than ever before.

Leading cyber-security company F5 Networks (F5), whose solutions are distributed across more than 20 African countries by Networks Unlimited, is no stranger to scalability and is dedicated to enabling not only enterprises and service providers reach their goals of faster deployments with greater business agility, but also the community that has long supported and driven OpenStack to become the force it is today: its developers.

"It's not enough to just toss out plug-ins. It's critical to be active in the entire process. That means enabling customers to rapidly deploy the app services they need in production environments through OpenStack as well as providing developers the means to easily access and adapt F5 services," says Lori McVittie, principal technical evangelist at F5 Networks. "That's why we're excited to announce a number of initiatives supporting OpenStack in several ways."

F5 first released its LBaaS v1 plugin to GitHub so developers could easily adapt it to suit their needs, especially when it comes to integration with other tools and systems.

Following this, F5 committed itself to supporting OpenStack Heat templates, and released the first of its templates on GitHub, with plans for more.

"F5 is absolutely committed to templates and its critical role in enabling organisations to deploy a broader and more robust set of app services beyond plain old load balancing through OpenStack, including advanced and app-centric load balancing. Those app services are essential to the successful delivery of the apps business relies on to become and remain competitive and to improve productivity - and we're not the only ones who think that," says McVittie.

In F5's latest "State of Application Delivery" survey, more than half of respondents (58 percent) viewed API-enabled infrastructure as important, and nearly half (49 percent) said the same of templates. A plurality (60 percent) use 10 of the 24 app (L4-7) services, including: load balancing, identity federation, DDoS protection and performance-enhancing services.

"The ability to deploy those services through OpenStack instead of as disjointed manual processes is important to ensuring users are realising the benefits they're looking to experience by adopting OpenStack," continues McVittie. "In fact, we're making our Heat plugins and templates open source to support these efforts within OpenStack and our plugin is also pip (python package management system) installable, as an added bonus. That's because both are important not just to us but to deployment efforts in general, and we want to make sure organisations can succeed in those efforts. We'll continue actively contributing both in the community and at home, where we're feverishly working on the next version of our LBaaS plugin."

F5 is also working with partners and the community at large to ensure what it is doing works with what they are doing. To that end, in addition to F5's RedHat OSPv6 certification and HPE Helion Ready certification, it has also completed certification with the Mirantis OpenStack platform.

"We've are most pleased to offer the African community solutions that speak to the interoperability of OpenStack, one of the most important cloud platforms for business, ensuring that your operation is not left in the dust when it comes to the future of business IT," adds Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited.

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