Market research firm, IT Brand Pulse, announced their 2013 Open Compute Innovation Leaders as voted by major customers and end users. F5 Networks was given the award as the innovation leader for a Layer 4-7 SDN Services Platform. These awards were announced at the Open Server Summit conference in Santa Clara, California. The receipt of this award is significant for two reasons.

First, it is always great for this company to win awards as a leader and visionary in the networking industry. F5 Networks has been extending the reach and capabilities of application networking since the company was founded. What started as load balancing technology has evolved to become the application delivery controller (ADC) space. F5 will continue to be an innovation leader as we continuously redefine the role of the ADC by adding intelligence and programmability to IT environments and extending SDN deployments.

Second, and more importantly, it is important to recognize that the technology community is acknowledging that there is a legitimate role for Layer 4-7 SDN. At F5 Networks, we have been positioning application and content routing as key components to realize the benefits of a virtualized SDN architecture. F5’s Lori MacVittie has discussed this point often, examples here and here. I also discuss this in an article on SDN and network functions virtualization (NFV) as it relates to the telecommunications industry and the evolution of the network.

Layer 4-7 SDN is complementary to the other virtualization efforts being seen today. The creation and acceptance of this award shows that what we, at F5, are doing and innovating is not just interesting for us to develop and envision, but the technologies and concepts that we produce are delivering a real pathway towards next generation application delivery architectures through virtualization techniques. We are proud to be recognized with this innovation leader award will continue to justify our receipt of it.