Another holiday season down, another complete lack of jet pack under the tree. That's a lot of years in a row. All of them, to be exact. All the years, and no jet pack…for shame. Don't get me wrong, it's been a great month with an appropriate mix of merriment and overly manic, anxiety inducing endeavors with family and friends. I'm not here to complain, generally speaking, but it's 20-fricken'-13. Throughout my entire childhood I was promised, via the magic of television and movies, a future filled with jet packs, phasers, transporters, hover cars and holo-decks. Alas, as much as life can tend to imitate fiction in many ways, it would seem these technological wonders are not yet to be. Fortunately for us, however, the new year has started off on the right foot in most other arenas not having to do with make believe, futuristic advancements in science. While I may not be floating through the skies on my commute to the office, I am at least getting to work with some darn cool stuff once I'm here. Fortunately the amount of articles, information and solutions being put out surrounding said technologies remains a pleasantly warming constant through the frosty winter season. As if that weren't enough, the fantastic platform team here in DCLand pushed out some massive changes in site layout and performance over the last month or so. DevCentral is leaner, meaner, and more responsive than ever, which should make for a new and improved user experience. Some things, however, never change, and as such I am here again to start out the new year by re-establishing one of my favorite time-honored traditions, digging through the goodness coursing through DevCentral's veins and cherry-picking my very favorites to share with the masses. I give to you 2013's first Top5.

 

iRules String Handling
http://bit.ly/V1XuHb
iRules has been, and will likely always be a passion of mine amongst F5 technologies. That is no secret. Getting even more granular, however, I have a special place in my heart, amongst the special place in my heart for iRules, for optimization and efficiency. It's where the 20 Lines or Less series came from, it's where several iRules optimization courses came from, and it's what leads me to share this particular piece by Jason. String manipulation and handling is one of the most common things done within iRules. Taking a deeper look at how to be as efficient at it as possible is something that absolutely appeals to me, on many levels. What actually surprised me most about this was not, at all, my enjoyment in reading it, but rather the results. It has a bit of a curveball twist for those that have some experience with iRules optimization and think you know what to expect. The second and third place finishers in this foot race especially caught me off guard. Regardless, this is a good read and a great reminder about optimizing your string comparisons.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About DevCentral
http://bit.ly/XXzg4w
What is DevCentral? Why did F5 create it? How and why join? What can I expect to see there? These are questions I see or hear many times over, every few months. Whether I'm traveling abroad or in the TechCenter, customers, partners and even new F5ers ask these questions and more all the time. Add to that the fact that we were recently looking to offer a helping hand to those looking to transition to F5 technology, and suddenly it seemed like an excellent time to dig in and answer a few of the more frequently asked inquiries. So that I did, and this is the result. If you'd like to know a bit more about this great community, this is the place to start without question. I'm hopeful that it will help enlighten the curious and perhaps even persuade some folks to join that may not have previously. It really is a fantastic place to be a member, after all.

 

BMC Cloud Lifecycle Manager and F5
http://bit.ly/UWHyJg
New partners are always at least interesting to me, when I hear about them. F5's partnerships are a big deal and offer a huge amount of flexibility and interoperation that are more than a little bit valuable to us and our many users. Sometimes, however, you hear about a particular partnership that, as a geek, is just plain old cool. Something like, perhaps, a command line interface that allows you to automagically configure and modify your cloud architecture directly from your BIG-IP. That, indeed, would be cool and worth reading about, right? Right?! Okay good, now that you've played right into my hands … ta-da! I present to you that very thing that I just described, the one with the command line and cloudy bits. Go check this out, as the BMC integration is already cool and headed for even more awesomer things in the future. If automation, intelligent infrastructure and/or perhaps cloud bursting are your thing…dig it.


Standardization versus Standards in the Cloud
http://bit.ly/WyGi9q
"Cloud" is everywhere. It's a term that gets slung about like salt in a kitchen, and sometimes that can take away from the impact that it has. Despite that, however, I tend to trust Lori's cloud posts more than most others. She has a solid grasp on the players, technologies and the landscape, as far as I can tell, and any time she writes about what's going on in the world of the cloud(s), I tend to take a look and let her keep me up to speed on happenings, concepts, debates and the like. This entry into her broad and growing bevy of cloud posts is no exception to that rule. There are pros and cons to every decision we make in IT, and just because we offload some of the heavy lifting to a remote service hosted elsewhere that doesn't magically change. Lori does a good job of walking through one such scenario here, and I found it rather worth the read.


IT Style (Gangam Style Parody)
http://bit.ly/WyGnK4
Last, but certainly not least, I bring you some Friday levity. It's the first Top5 of the year, it's Friday night, and it's time to put on your dancing shoes and your sunglasses at night, and rock out IT style. This parody has already been talked about and posted just about everywhere, so I'm a bit late to the party. I probably shouldn't bother posting it since everyone and their cousin has  seen just how funny and entertaining this thing is already. Frankly? I don't care. I'm posting it anyway because it truly was one of my favorite things in the last few weeks. If ever you doubted F5 having fun with what we do, I dare you to wonder after watching this. I've seen it about 15 times so far, and it hasn't gotten old yet. Yes, Gangam parodies are done to death, but this beats that horse in the best possible way, and I can't help but grin every time. As a matter of fact, if you'll excuse me, I've got some speakers to turn up, and a video to watch.

 

That'll do it for this year's first of many Top5s. I'll be back in a couple of weeks with more DevCentral goodness to rock your socks off. In the meantime be sure to check in often to see what's new on the newer, faster, better than ever DevCentral.