In February I will have been with F5 for 9 years.  When I originally joined I never imagined that I would be with this funky little start up for this long nor did I really imagine that F5 would be where it is today.  I just thought that there was some interesting technology and that it could prove useful to all the Internet sites that were beginning to take hold at the time.  The company was about 10 people strong then and I'm the only one from that era who is still active with the company today.  Because of this, one of the types of questions I get a fair amount of is about F5 history.  One of the guys on our sales team got asked the following question and asked me to help him out: 

"I'm putting together a list of acronyms for my project and people are asking about the name 'Big IP'. Can you provide a little history of the name and what it stands for?"

Here is the response I emailed him:

BIG-IP as it's known today started off as BIG/IP.  The name isn't really an acronym for anything.  It's more of a play on TCP/IP.  The BIG portion is more of an acknowledgement of the fact that the device presents a virtual IP on behalf of many devices that are "behind it" making that IP "bigger" than a normal IP address.

While we're at it, GTM or Global Traffic Manager started off as "3DNS".  Again, not an acronym but a play on the terms "3D" and "DNS" meant to show that the system used more than straight forward DNS resolution techniques to determine to which IP address to resolve a client request.
 
Here's another old naming convention that caused some interesting conversations to take place...
A single system was a "BIG/IP".  A redundant set of them was a "BIG/IP^2" or "BIG/IP Squared".  An other version of the "BIG/IP^2" that used more powerful hardware was called the "BIG/IP^3" or "BIG/IP Cubed". 
Inevitably someone had to answer the question posed by a potential customer "if I get two systems when I buy the BIG/IP Squared, how come I don't get three when I buy the BIG/IP Cubed?"  Obviously, our naming convention needed a little work!