One of the great and terrible things about the F5 platform is that it’s very hard to fit into a convenient bucket.

Let me give you an example: I’ve been spending a bit of time looking at the kind of infrastructure and process you need to deliver ‘web scale’ (or shall we just say big?) applications. It’s clear that the fail-fast DevOps driven micro-service based  designs have some keen promoters and some definite advantages. And while I’m not the guru at F5 or beyond on this topic  - it does beautifully illustrate my point.

In the micro services design we have focused teams comprising all disciplines  designing, coding testing, deploying and monitoring  small atomic components of a greater application. The app or feature is the unit of management, not the silos of IT function. To make this work well you obviously need a solid infrastructure that is built for automation and speed – not just throughput speed, but deployment speed.The infrastructure services need to be exposed via API so that new environments, services or configurations can be quickly created by the workflow of creating, testing and deploying a  microservice.

This sounds like a classic F5 use case, infrastructure services (like load balancing, SSL termination, firewalls)? Check. Rich API to enable automated operations? Had that for years. Great there we go then.

Hang on. What about all the business or application  logic that the microservice might need? Taking different actions based on a client’s location, or device type? Maybe you need to log specific events or monitor server responses for a certain string and fire off an alarm when you find it? This, again ,is classic F5 programmability uses (just ask the 120 000 or so DevCentral users).

So are we this API driven infrastructure component that can provide layer 4 through 7 application services or are we fantastically useful programmability layer that add easy flexibility and logic to a particular microservice?

Simple, we are both. So watch for the Reference Architecture that I’m currently working on that will show you how.