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Operationalizing the Network

Applications should be the focus of an automated, policy-based approach to data center infrastructures

F5 believes applications are transforming business. Whether expressed through new business models, a need to deliver applications to market faster or to support the impact of new application architectures on IT, applications must also be the focus of data center infrastructures. Cisco and F5 share a common vision for solving key pain points in customer’s next generation data centers while meeting their critical data center requirements today. F5's strategy is embodied in Synthesis, Cisco in its Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI).

Cisco ACI enables an infrastructure-wide programmable model based on application policies as opposed to the network-centric approaches of earlier SDN models, which aligns with F5 Synthesis' application-driven approach to deploying and delivering the critical services IT needs to align security, performance and reliability outcomes with business requirements and customer expectations.

Both initiatives are focused on efficiently delivering applications by taking a programmatic approach to networking and services architectures. This approach enables organizations to realize the benefits of greater automation of on-demand IT tasks that support application deployments and meet expectations for secure, fast and reliable applications.

Today, Cisco is announcing that a number of partners will participate in the ACI policy model, and key components of the ACI infrastructure completely open, allowing for greater expansion of the ecosystem, alternative solutions, accelerated innovation and greater choice for customers.

Both Cisco and F5 believe that applications should be the focus of an automated, policy-based approach to data center infrastructures. We applaud Cisco’s efforts to make ACI an open architecture with standardized interfaces, reference implementations and contributions to the open source community.

Cisco's decision to open OpFlex, the southbound protocol for exchanging policy with the Cisco APIC controller, through standards, open source distributions and reference implementations will accelerate customer options by enabling leading hypervisors, switches and L4-7 services to self-configure using the ACI application policy. OpFlex agents that enable devices to participate in the ACI infrastructure will be distributed by Cisco technology partners and ecosystem vendors such as Microsoft, Red Hat and F5.

OpFlex will provide customers the option to integrate critical network and application services under common workflow automation and cloud orchestration tools to drive greater automation and efficiency in the data center architectures necessary to support the transformative impact of applications on today's businesses. This open approach aligns with F5's strategy of open, standards-based integration models.

F5 welcomes Cisco's decision to work with OpenDaylight to create a 100% open source, ACI-compatible policy model and OpFlex reference architecture. F5 Synthesis SDAS are designed to be the stateful L4-7 services complement to stateless L2-3 networking for SDN architectures and OpenDaylight is no exception. By working to build and release ACI-compliant policy models for OpenDaylight, Cisco will enable customers who choose OpenDaylight as the foundation for their SDN architectures the ability to also take advantage of F5 SDAS to support the breadth and depth of application services needed today to deliver applications successfully.

F5 is supportive of the efforts to make OpFlex a standard and to be part of the OpFlex ecosystem. We support Cisco Systems efforts to make OpFlex a standard policy language to communicate with the APIC controller and provide controller alternatives through Open Daylight.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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