Earlier this week we announced the release of ControlPoint (its codename was spaten). The full details of the press release can be found here.

Personally I find this to be extremely cool because we are taking the next step along our the path to making our products be easier to maintain and manage. With Enterprise Manger we started down the path to making it much more simpler to deploy, update, and control BigIP boxes. As a former customer we could have really benefited from  this vs. having to ‘roll our own’ solution.  As soon as we solve this problem, we needed to solve another – which was to demonstrate the ROI for our BigIP investments. Sure we could build business cases on how we used the BigIPs to manage upgrades and roll backs; we often used BigIPs to divert to less content rich sites during large surges of traffic;  and in general the BigIPs we a critical and valuable part of our network.

With the ROI information at hand, we then could easily and quickly build business cases for upgrades and show the value for ourselves and our execs. In my case we had to take a series of open source tools; divert a few development resources away from their regular jobs and come up with a monitoring solution that helped show the ROI.

With ControlPoint you don’t need take that expense and can just get it off the shelf. I’m all up for engineering skunk work projects to build tools that are helpful to the company and keep engineering skills sharp. That said the big test in my mind is ‘if it is not your core business then look for off the shelf technologies’. If our core business is monitoring products then we should spend the time and effort to build a home grown solution. If it is not, and in most companies that is the case go out and get something. With ControlPoint we now can offer something – not only something that works great with F5 but is also based on a Microsoft technology that very well may be already part of your network / server management suite.

I’m glad to see this second step and certainly would have put it to quick use in my previous company.

- James