#50waystousebigip Everyone knows the BIG-IP system does great load balancing, right? Right. But there’s a ton of other things it’s great at. This week we look at performance. 



No one deploys an application with the intent that it be slow or unresponsive to its intended audience. The most optimized application in the world, however, can be thwarted by conditions beyond its control – network congestion, bottlenecks in the infrastructure, end-user device / client issues and high load – making it appear that the application is slow, when reality is that it’s due to conditions in the delivery chain or application infrastructure. 

It’s not that developers don’t write fast applications, its that they cannot necessarily adapt to conditions when the applications are unable to ascertain what those might be in the first place.

BIG-IP, while great at load-balancing, has a variety of other features and functionality designed to adjust the delivery chain to address exactly those issues that applications cannot.


When it comes to performance there are three critical factors that can improve – or degrade – the performance of an application:

  1. Network conditions
  2. Volume / load on application infrastructure
  3. Latency

Each of this challenges can easily be addressed by a strategic point of control; a data center component that deploys naturally at a point of aggregation that provides visibility into both “sides” of the equation as well as the ability to act intelligently to redress issues it sees with the network or application infrastructure. Optimizations of protocols (HTTP, TCP) and the way in which communications between clients and applications are managed can significantly impact the processing and memory requirements on application infrastructure in a positive way. By reducing the burden on application infrastructure, applications can focus on processing requests and serving content rather than on the tedious and performance degrading tasks that incur unnecessary overhead. Offloading tasks that are made more efficient and thus faster such as  cryptographic and other highly mathematically intense functions to BIG-IP further alleviates strain on application infrastructure that improves overall processing time of requests while simultaneously improving the speed with which such operations can be completed. Recognizing conditions in the network such as congestion or constraints is also a significant benefit of BIG-IP and its strategic location in the delivery chain. By recognizing these constraints and applying policies that counteract conditions in real-time, BIG-IP can improve the performance of an application by delivering it faster to the client.

Finally, latency is introduced by every “hop” along the application delivery chain. Routers, switches, application and network infrastructure, third-party points of integration, security and monitoring systems. Every one adds a fraction of latency to the overall equation that can impose enough delay – particularly under heavy load - to slow down an otherwise acceptably performing application. BIG-IP is an application delivery platform that can consolidate what have been traditionally “stand-alone” solutions, thereby eliminating most or all associated latency. Because of BIG-IP’s unique full-proxy, high-speed interconnect internal architecture, each module is fully internally integrated with the core message bus – enabling collaboration and the sharing of context across disparate application delivery functions (web application security, caching, compression, WAN optimization, load balancing) possible and ensuring that policies to improve security, availability and performance are appropriate given all the factors in the equation.

If you’re serious about performance take a deeper look at what BIG-IP can offer to improve application performance. As a bonus, you’ll enjoy the reduction in operational and administrative (and capital) costs by consolidating multiple performance-oriented solutions into a single, centralized and easy to manage (and scale) application delivery solution.


How do you use your BIG-IP system? We want to know, so tell us about it. If you’re one of the first 100 to share your story you’ll get an awesome cool t-shirt. If you’re one of the Top 4 stories (hint: don’t use the word ‘load-balancing’) you’ll win a Kodak Zi8 HD camera. Need to know more about the 50 (and counting) ways you could be using your BIG-IP system? Check out our (very short) presentations on the subject.

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