Just as my tour through the outback (well okay, major populous cities in Australia, but the outback sounds way cooler) was winding down, it was time to ramp back up for leg #2 of this year's fall pilgrimage to bring the goodness that is iRules and F5 to the masses. This time, however, I was bound for sunny but cold Chicago to chat at a most unique event the likes of which neither myself or anyone at F5 has presented at before. That is but one of the many hawesome topics that I bring to you today, however. As always I am here to help sort the wheat from the chaff. Though in the DC world the chaff is more like still pretty awesome but only slightly less awesome wheat. If only we could provide that "all wheat, no chaff" technology to the world over, we'd cure all hunger issues in no time. While solving world hunger we may not, we're still doing some darn cool stuff these days on DevCentral, and I'm here with my top 5 picks from the past couple of weeks:

Tcl Con 2012 Keynote: Hardcore Dev Geeks Galore, and Me

As alluded to above, my traveling and presenting duties in the past month didn't end with my trip to Australia. While that trip was pretty wicked and powerfully productive, there was still more goodness to be had. You see there's this group that meets every year, somewhere in the states, to sit around and discuss Tcl at length. They're the "movers and the shakers" in the Tcl community, as it were. The people that maintain the core code, add new features, work on developing new versions, etc. Well, as it turns out, this little iRules thing we do here at F5 is based on Tcl. That fact, combined with some of the writing I've done recently, and the fact that the Tcl overlords were more than a bit curious to hear about how we managed to amass a community of 105k+ people using this stuff, garnered an invite to be the keynote presenter at this year's Tcl con. This means I got to go stand in front of the who's who of Tcl geekery and talk to them about how awesome iRules and F5 are for almost two hours. It was a pretty killer experience in just about every way, but I've gone into the appropriately squee filled detail in this here blog. Take a look if you want to see a geek (me) rant about being amongst even bigger geeks (them) and feeling all sorts of excitement and a moderate amount of reverence at the experience.

Bare Metal Blog: FPGAs The Benefits and Risks

I'm going to wager a guess that a fair amount of you reading this right now have no idea what an FPGA is. It stands to reason, then, that you probably wouldn't be able to weigh the pros and cons of the FPGA vs. ASIC decision. Fortunately for you (okay, I'll admit it, for me too...) Don has done near exactly that in this informative, easy to digest blog post. If you've ever wondered how this stuff works but don't want to dive right into the deep end, this piece gives a nice, approachable overview into the world of hardware acceleration here at F5. This stuff is dang cool and helps make the devices capable of churning out the incredible numbers that they do. I read through this and learned something myself, and that's always a win in my book. Combine that with the fact that it's entertaining and goes down smoother than a bundy 'n coke and you've got a definite Top5 entry in the making.

Virtual Fragmentation Should Not Result in Network Fragmentation
Virtualization is not a new trend in any sense of the word in the IT world. Whether it's at home, in the ethos that is described as "the cloud", or in corporate networks, the reality is that this trend is not going away any time soon. We're moving things onto more swappable, moveable, re-usable virtualized devices, and we're doing so in a hurry. To accommodate this it often means we're making use of different means of virtualization, namely differenty hypervisors, to fit the varied needs of the applications being chucked off of old school hardware. In doing so, however, we are adding a layer of complexity that may not be accounted for just yet in most cases. As the needs of the multiple hypervisors increase, so does the demand on the supporting infrastructure, namely the network, to provide said services and functionality. If you don't find a way to provide a platform agnostic delivery path, you may very quickly find yourself with multiple, specific, complex solutions and that's almost never a good thing. Lori's take on this dilemma is an interesting one, and as always informative. Take a look for yourself and see what she proposes as a solution to this would be sticky situation.

Security iRules 101: Engage Cloak!

Resident security guru extraordinaire, Josh, is back again with another installment of his security iRules series. It's security, it's iRules, what's not to love? In this article he goes into HTTP resource cloaking. This is an age old topic that has been discussed and covered dozens of times, but Josh unsurprisingly has a fresh look at it. What is resource cloaking? What is it you're trying to actually achieve with said practice? How can you go about cloaking HTTP info easily via iRules? Those questions are just a few of the things that Josh covers in this quick, bite sized article that will get you up and moving in no time. Be sure to check the comments, also, as some good tips are playing out there as well.

20 Lines or Less #66: Restrictions, SSL, and Gzip

As always, last but never least in my heart, I bequeath unto you the 20 Lines or Less. Long time Top5 readers know the drill by now, but for those newly indoctrinated: The 20 Lines or Less is a look at three different iRules examples that each take up less than 21 lines of code. These are quick hit examples of iRules doing handy things in almost no space at all. They're easy to understand, easy to implement, and super handy to have on hand. I myself keep a file full of these things because they are fantastic utility functions that I can re-use later either by themselves or when constructing larger, more complex iRules. If you're looking for a place to get started digging into real world iRules examples, there are worse options than the 20LoL.

With that we have arrived at the end of this week's Top5 voyage. I'll be back in a couple more weeks to deliver another dose of DevCentral goodness. Until then don't hesitate with any questions, comments or otherwise and as always, code hard.