From HTTP to SPDY, to HTTP 2.0. The introduction of a new protocol optimized for today’s evolving web services opens the door to a world of possibilities. But are you ready to make this change?

While the breakneck speed with which applications, devices and servers are evolving is common knowledge, few are aware that the HTTP protocol, such a key part of the modern internet, has seen only a few changes of significance since its inception.

HTTP – behind the times?

According to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), HTTP 1.0 was first officially introduced in 1996. The following version, HTTP 1.1, and the version most commonly used to this day was officially released in 1997. 1997! And we’re still using it! To give you some idea of how old this makes HTTP 1.1 in terms of the development of the internet - in 1997 there was no Google! There was no Paypal ! It goes without saying, of course, that since 1997, both the internet and the amount of traffic it has to handle have grown enormously.

Standardization of HTTP 2.0 by the IETF is scheduled for 2015. It’s unrealistic to expect most businesses to immediately deploy HTTP 2.0 in their organizations. However seeing the clear benefits of HTTP 2.0, which is to enable infrastructure to handle huge volume of traffic to access applications and services, many organizations will soon implement this new protocol.

F5: Ready for SPDY, ready for HTTP 2.0

The initial draft of HTTP 2.0 was based on the SPDY protocol. When SPDY was first introduced some years ago, the first company to provide a solution to enable businesses to “switch over” to SPDY was F5, we introduced a SPDY Gateway then. SPDY Gateway allowed our enterprise customers to overcome the biggest hurdle in the transition to adopt SPDY protocol on the server end, with the stable and secure ADC and gateway services of BIG-IP. Organizations have the option to make servers upgrade to support the protocol, or use the gateway to handle the connection. This gives businesses the time necessary to make a smooth and gradual transition from HTTP 1.0 to SPDY on the server side.

SPDY Gateway is just one example of the many ways ADC can contribute to a flexible and agile infrastructure for businesses. One of the well-known ADC use case in SPDY protocol is SSL termination. Similarly in the transition to HTTP 2.0, a HTTP 2.0 gateway will help organizations plan their adoption and migration to accommodate demands of HTTP 2.0.

Thinking ahead

F5 is always in the forefront of technology evolution. HTTP 2.0 Gateway is just one example of F5’s dedication in the evolution of Application Delivery technology, providing guidance to our customers making transitions to new technology as simple as possible. Currently, F5’s BIG-IP supports HTTP 2.0 under our early access program. We expect its general availability after HTTP 2.0 standardization is completed in 2015.

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