The announcement a bit like a visit to some exotic bazaar: You could walk away with a really interesting set of stuff, but you have to do a bit of digging to find it. Here I’ll list the pieces I found interesting (or had the most to say about). It represents maybe half of what F5 is coming out with today.
Announced last fall, Synthesis is a collection of products aimed at what F5 calls software-defined application services (SDAS), or SDN for Layers 4-7. It includes virtual BIG-IP appliances and the BIG-IQ platform for managing and orchestrating them, and a series of reference architectures explaining how to wield Synthesis for cases such as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) response or cloud federation.
Here’s a taste of what’s new:
A new RESTful API, called iControl, for management of BIG-IP. F5 has relied on SOAP for BIG-IP APIs but has decided to catch up with the REST wave. “REST is a lot simpler than SOAP. SOAP is all XML, and it’s very heavyweight,” says Lori MacVittie, F5’s senior product manager for emerging technologies. (BIG-IQ, the management and orchestration environment for BIG-IP, already has a set of REST APIs.)
A pooling option for licenses. All of an organization’s BIG-IP licenses can be applied to BIG-IP Virtual Edition (VE) on a per-usage basis. When a virtual edition spins down, the license goes back into a pool for someone else in the organization to use. Living in California, it’s hard not to compare this with water conservation, trying to stretch a limited resource a little further. BIG-IQ manages the license pool.
Cloud support. You can now spin up BIG-IP instances in Amazon Web Services (AWS) and OpenStack environments, and you can federate BIG-IP instances that live in AWS, OpenStack, and VMware environments. The latter capability is called BIG-IQ Cloud.
More features around DNS for the BIG-IP fabric. Users can now replicate and monitor DNS environments.
SSD-enabled BIG-IP appliances, to be available later this quarter.
Except as noted above, all these items are available immediately.