There was a nice little acronym we used around F5 a few years back (probably more than a few...). However, I was reminded of it today (thanks Annie and Joe!) while walking through the halls. It's simple. And, it's powerful. And, it deserves a "refresh" because there's no hiding from reality: there are more protocols, app flows, user distribution, and complexity challenging IT, not to mention shorter development cycles and performance demands challenging app teams.

The move to TMOS ushered in the opportunity to do this and well. Here's what it means (updated for 2008):

I = Intercept (as in intercept any part of the IP application stream... header, payload, etc.)

I = Inspect (look for cookies, values, variables... anything you want that designates the session)

T = Transform (rewrite to perform proxy functions or other things that fix bugs, simplify design, etc.)

D = Direct (route requests or responses to the best resource, under either LB or persistence, etc.)

Now, in today's world, more applies:

S = Secure (from the endpoint to core, using client checking to encryption and beyond...)

A = Accelerate (making sure that wherever the user is, however unique the application is, or other characteristics that compromise performance - apply intelligently for the best application experience)

Of course, all of these are done to optimize the user experience, server, storage, and application resources so that IT staff and application teams spend on flexible solutions that offer the right fit for today with graceful adaptation and scale as their needs change.

Seems pretty damn prudent and practical to me.