When one-time rivals Cisco and F5 Networks announced a new partnership in late 2013, more than a few eyebrows raised in the IT world. Now about a year into the alliance, leaders from the companies reflect on how the joint solutions are delivering on the promise of Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI). In these two videos, execs talk about how the companies’ integrated solutions have been a boon to both organizations, and they give a sneak peek at what’s coming next.
Integrating Cisco’s ACI with F5’s software-defined application services (SDAS), the joint solutions simplify and automate Layer 2-Layer 7 application delivery. Cisco ACI, Cisco’s software-defined networking (SDN) architecture, defines a policy-based Layer 4-Layer 7 service insertion mechanism, while F5’s SDAS architecture Synthesis integrates with ACI via Cisco’s Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC). Using well-established and open APIs, APIC directly incorporates F5 application solutions into the Cisco ACI automation framework.
In the first video, Cisco Senior Director Shashi Kiran talks with F5 SVP of Business Development Calvin Rowland about how Cisco ACI’s open framework and simplified integration paves the way to having a “robust pipeline of customers” ready to move forward. The rapid pace in which this integration has happened enables the companies to move faster than any other competitors in the application delivery controller space, allowing them to stake claims in the market.
“Nothing is ever as easy as you hope it might be, but integration was significantly easier than anyone thought it might be because of the way ACI is architected,” Rowland said. “Leveraging open standards was a familiar model for F5. We have a long history of programmability in our data and control planes.”
In the second video, Dean Darwin, F5 SVP of worldwide marketing, and Cisco SVP Soni Jiandani discuss the evolution of the companies’ partnership in context of the rapidly changing IT landscape. How both companies are application fluent and application centric which supports their common customers’ DevOps movements and initiatives to develop applications more rapidly.
As customers move toward the cloud, Jiandani said, they want to be in a position to spin up applications, enable network services, and fulfill network requirements in agile ways. The integration between ACI and F5 Synthesis products makes that possible by bringing the best of both technology applications together.
For example, when F5 recently upgraded its BIG-IQ Synthesis component to enable centrally managed application delivery and role-based access control (RBAC), the orchestration updates also became available through the Cisco APIC. As a result, this joint solution unleashes new services capabilities for customers.
The integration adds multi-tenancy and security, the ability to move with agility, while protecting customers existing operational models without forcing them to change their already built iRules and iApps. Together, the companies deliver agility for the network and network services to application developers across the full L2 through L7 stack, the entire software-defined stack.
Dean sums it up nicely saying, “What I love about this partnership is it’s not just a marketing partnership; it’s a true development relationship with a very strong roadmap attached.”