It was somewhat of a surprise that when North Bridge Venture Partners announced the results of its second annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey earlier this year that scalability topped the list of drivers of cloud adoption, with 57% of respondents citing the capability as a key factor.
It was surprising because scalability isn't something new or different brought to the table by cloud in terms of scaling applications (scaling operations or the business, of course, is a completely different matter). The simplicity with which it is implemented, however, is. And perhaps that's really what the survey is pointing to – the ease of implementing a scalable architecture in the cloud is significant. Without debating further whether "scalability" or "simple scalability" (we'll leave that for another day) is really the driving factor, the reality is that scalability is a core characteristic of cloud promising significant operational and business benefits that is certainly as good a reason as any to get out there and go cloud.
And when many organizations get out there and "go cloud" they go to Amazon. But some have been waiting for a mature, application-focused scalability service that is on par with the scalability services that exist in their own data center. A service that not only offers load balancing, but advanced application delivery features and – perhaps more importantly – operational consistency between the data center and the cloud.
Yes, they've been waiting for a version of BIG-IP that can run in Amazon Web Services.
The good news is the wait is over.
BIG-IP for AWS
Today F5 announced the availability of BIG-IP for AWS as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). BIG-IP for AWS offers feature parity with other BIG-IP form-factors (both VE and hardware-based systems) and up to 1 Gbps throughput per AMI. The new release offers advanced traffic management, global server load balancing, application firewalling, web application acceleration, and other advanced application delivery functions for deployment within AWS and expands on F5’s broad support for virtualized and cloud environments based on vSphere, Hyper-V, Xen, and KVM.
This first release is a "Bring Your Own License" offering – meaning you buy perpetual licenses from F5 and then apply these licenses to instances running in Amazon. License options include: lab, 200 Mbps or 1 Gbps. You'll need an m3.xlarge, m3.2xlarge or cc2.8xlarge instance in N. Virginia, Oregon, Ireland or GovCloud to deploy.
It's also important to note that the constraints of public cloud environments (there is no broadcast domain available) imposes a restriction on gratuitous ARP in Amazon Web Services, which means a traditional failover architecture (which is generally based on floating IP addresses and uses gratuitous ARP for several purposes) is not available in Amazon Web Services at this time.
Not wanting to be a complete killjoy by focusing on caveats, let's get to something included in this release that's really awesome: iApps for Cloud Bursting.
A quick refresher for those in need: iApps are F5's unique template-based system for managing the BIG-IP deployment lifecycle. It simplifies configuration and significantly reduces the possibility of human error.
With the introduction of BIG-IP for AWS comes an iApp designed to automate a configuration for cloud bursting into Amazon AWS.
Users can additionally leverage scripts to automatically spin up nodes as needed, enabling organizations to execute on an auto-scaling strategy without needing to build out a complicated system.
BIG-IP for AWS is available now. To evaluate or purchase BIG-IP for AWS, contact an F5 sales team or channel partner.
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