F5 Networks urged businesses in the Middle East to fully embrace the potential of “application capital” in order to unlock new levels of profit and innovation at its annual F5 Forum in Abu Dhabi on March 5. “The true value of the modern enterprise undeniably resides in its applications and data,” said Tabrez Surve, F5 Director for Gulf, Levant and Turkey, speaking to an audience of customer, partners and industry experts at the F5 Forum in Abu Dhabi. “Human capital once dominated the business realm, but times have changed. Today, application capital is the primary driver for differentiation and value creation.”
According to Surve, true digital transformation can only occur if enterprises put more focus on modernizing application portfolios and associated infrastructures. “Human capital needs basic services to thrive in an organization. So too do applications, for example traffic management, bot protection, and access management,” he explained. “This is why it is more important than ever for enterprises to embrace infrastructures, application development and management tools, as well as processes that balance effective controls with innovative freedom.”
Application services emerged from the disaggregation of capabilities formerly integrated into devices such as Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs). Today they are software-defined, loosely coupled, and easily consumed. It is possible to attach individual services to applications based on specific needs. It is also possible to achieve consistent quality and security across entire application portfolios.
“Consistent service quality means there is an additional layer of security, availability, and reliability that is enforced independently of whether the applications have such capabilities built-in or not,” said Surve. “This is critical at a time where much of the user experience is digital in nature, delivered via the cloud, and increasingly built by developer teams outside of the IT organization.”
According to F5’s recently published State of Application Services report, almost nine out of ten businesses surveyed globally have multi-cloud architectures in place, largely driven by application-first methodologies. The biggest cited challenge is to enforce consistent security and ensure reliable performance. Nearly half of all organizations (48%) undergoing a digital transformation initiative reported difficulties of this nature when applications are distributed across multiple cloud platforms.
As a result, F5 is rapidly adapting and innovating to help businesses cope with today’s most pressing multi-cloud issues, while also anticipating future shifts and deployment roadblocks. “F5 is no longer just an Application Delivery Controller company. We are the leader in multi-cloud application services,” said Surve. Recent F5 developments, innovations and commitments in this space include:
- BIG-IP Cloud Edition. The newest version F5’s BIG-IP Virtual Edition and BIG-IQ management platform delivered on a per-application basis. Customers want a much more consumable, easier-to-manage offering of Virtual Edition. They also want to cut the spin-up time for an application and reduce TCO per megabyte, while still offering secure and trusted application services. Cloud Edition delivers on all these fronts. It is currently available in VMware private cloud and AWS or Microsoft Azure public cloud environments, and there are plans to further expand its availability via Google Cloud.
- F5 Cloud Services. F5 is determined to keep pace with enterprises moving more workloads to the public cloud. Currently in public preview, F5 Cloud Services will enable “as-a-service” consumption of a broad range of application services, starting with DNS Delivery and Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB). Designed as a fully managed solution operated by F5, it will not require customers to deploy or manage the software in any way.
- Cloud-Native Application Services. F5 will soon introduce a new cloud-native application services platform, specifically designed for the applications DevOps and AppDev teams care about most. Customers need application services optimized for continuous integration and continuous deployment workflows. F5’s new platform will help to deploy traffic management services simply and cost-effectively with the speed and automation expected for modern cloud environments.
- Silverline. Businesses need more help when it comes to securing apps in the cloud or on-premises. This is particularly true when upfront investments in IT infrastructure and support are prohibitive. F5’s cloud-based, fully managed Silverline security services reduce the burden on oversubscribed security teams by protecting against a variety of attacks, including DDoS, OWASP Top 10, and malicious bots. Applications stay available and security teams can focus on what they need to do.
- Aspen Mesh. F5’s cloud-centric innovation credentials were recently bolstered by the recent announcement of Aspen Mesh,its fully support service mesh built on Istio. Businesses across the world are fast transitioning from monolithic to microservice architectures. While container orchestration tools like Kubernetes have solved microservice build and deploy issues, many runtime challenges remain unsolved. Aspen Mesh addresses this challenge by making it easy to manage the complexity of microservice architectures.
“Only the effective management of application capital will truly unlock game-changing innovation and profit. Going forward, it will be less about physical assets, infrastructure and staff volume. Applications are the real competitive differentiator,” Surve concluded.