I had the unique opportunity to speak to F5 users in Washington DC and Philadelphia this week.  John Shin organized these two great User Group meetings, and he started off both meetings by discussing the details of F5 support offerings.  Did you know that F5's worldwide customer support organization is ISO 9001:2008 certified?  That's important because it shows that the processes and procedures used by our F5 customer support teams adhere to the very strict standards of ISO quality.  When you purchase F5 gear, you want to know that you will be working with the best customer support in the business...and that's what you'll get with our F5 team.

John discussed the scope of what's covered with each support plan.  He also outlined the details of how to open a case and set case severity levels.  In addition, he shared some time savers and best practices that are sure to prove useful for any customer who contacts our support team.  For example, he talked about opening a "proactive case" which is done when you know something big is about to go down.  This is the "my company is upgrading our entire infrastructure next Saturday and I need to make sure F5 is standing by ready to support" scenario.  You can open a proactive case, and our team will be on hot standby ready to respond with their award-winning processes and procedures!

Here's a real-life picture of John Shin waxing eloquent about F5 customer support options...between the standing ovation and rousing shouts for an encore, there wasn't a dry eye in the house when he was finished!

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I feel bad for anyone who has to follow John Shin at a speaking engagement...unless your name is Brian Van Lieu.  This guy literally invented the Internet (with Al Gore's help, of course) and he knows just about everything there is to know about optimizing and manipulating network traffic.

OK, so maybe he didn't quite invent the entire Internet, but he really does know his stuff about DNS and security!!  Brian did a great job explaining some very complex topics related to DNS architecture.  He explained the full proxy capabilities of the BIG-IP, and he detailed the inner workings of the F5 HUD chain (the name is based loosely off The Hudsucker Proxy movie).

He talked about how you can utilize the super-fast DNS Express feature of the BIG-IP to answer DNS queries for you, and, by doing so, you can free up BIND to only do management functions.  It's super cool, super fast, and much more secure (DNS Express is not BIND, ipso facto, it's not susceptible to all the BIND vulnerabilities).

Brian talked about the DNS Firewall and some of the many benefits of implementing such a feature in your network architecture.  The DNS firewall can detect and mitigate Denial of Service (DoS) attacks (an attacker can launch a DNS DoS attack pretty easily with minimal resources).

If he said it once, he said it at least three times..."capacity" "capacity" "capacity".  It's a lot easier/cheaper/lighter to simply answer a DNS query than to prevent it or filter it.  So, increase that DNS capacity and you'll be all the better for it.

Brian also talked DNS iRules.  He outlined some of the differences between LTM and GTM iRule commands...it's important to know when a component in the HUD chain gets used because that will tell you what iRule command can be utilized.

Here's Brian showing everyone how awesome DNS is:

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So it was my job to talk about DevCentral.  I talked about how awesome this community is and how we help each other with all sorts of issues related to F5 technology.  I also encouraged the new-to-F5 guys to jump in and get involved by contributing with some questions or answers.  I look forward to everyone's participation in the community!

Here's a quick snapshot of the Philadelphia User Group at Ruth's Chris Steak House...the petite filet was delicious!

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If you ever have a chance to attend a User Group in your area, please go!  It's a great time to get a free meal (and maybe some door prizes), meet new friends, catch up with old friends, and learn all about cool F5 technology.  If you haven't heard about an upcoming User Group in your area, talk to your Sales Engineer and get the details.  You never know what might happen...you could learn something new and exciting, or you could be a guest speaker and turn into an instant rock star!