DevCentral Basics

tl;dr - F5's iWorkflow creates a centralized endpoint allowing automation and orchestration services role-based access into their BIG-IP environments.

Creating, managing, and securing application environments proves to be a daunting task as your business grows.  Five or ten apps, no problem.  Two or three hundred spread across different DevOps, SecOps, or NetOps teams and you're ducking for cover the moment you walk in the door. DevOps teams employ quick and automated infrastructure but these workflows can hit roadblocks from monolithic ADC administration practices and mandatory corporate IT policies. Building on BIG-IP's extensibility, iWorkflow enables F5's BIG-IP to participate in the DevOps-preferred management and orchestration (MANO) ecosystems.


To understand iWorkflow we need to define a few terms that will show up in the product:

  • Clouds - The connectors for BIG-IP ADC services to iWorkflow. Use by Service Templates to connect Tenants to iApps.
  • Tenants - A permission-defined role within iWorkflow. Tenants map users and user groups to service templates through cloud assignments.
  • iApp Templates - Application templates used in deployment and management of multiple ADC features and objects. iApp templates deployed in iWorkflow are used to create one or more Service Templates.
  • Service Templates - Service Templates are the customer visible options of an iApp available for deployment within a specific cloud connection.
  • L4-L7 Services - These are the deployed from service templates by the tenants of iWorkflow.

How It Works

iWorkflow consolidates BIG-IP environments into a REST API accessible solution for your orchestration system. Managing access and services are made through role-based access controls (RBAC). Using iApps, orchestration providers will deploy applications through iApp-defined service catalogs.  iWorkflow maintains the connections to your cloud and on-premise BIG-IP infrastructure and manages the access that each business unit will need to successfully deploy one or more applications.

iWorkflow Basics for DevCentral Basics

iWorkflow installs to your preferred virtual environment connects via F5's iControlREST API to existing BIG-IP ADC services through one of the following:

  • Existing L3 Connections (Datacenter/AWS/Azure/3rd Party Cloud Providers)
  • Cisco APIC
  • VMWare NSX
  • BIG-IP Virtual Clustered Multiprocessing (vCMP)

iWorkflow administrators will create a service catalog for his users to access through their orchestration providers or directly through the iWorkflow GUI.  An high level deployment workflow is shown below.

Typical iWorkflow Order Of Operations

Using iControlREST for interfacing with BIG-IP and your orchestration providers, iWorkflow allows BIG-IP to participate in fast Agile DevOps workflows.  RBAC allows security, network, and development teams access to their areas of administration all controlled by iWorkflow.  For further reading on how iWorkflow integrates into your existing infrastructure and development plans, please review the below links.  If there is more you would like to see related to iWorkflow please drop us a line and we'll be happy to assist.

iWorkflow on DevCentral - The best repository for all things iWorkflow (Requires Login)
iApp Template Development Tips and Techniques (Requires Login) 
iWorkflow 101 and 201 Series on Youtube (relax and learn to the sweet satin sounds of Nathan Pearce)