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F5 Friday: New Services from F5 Ease Migration and Upgrades

I get by with a little help from my friends…


While cloud and virtualization primarily focus on improving the provisioning process, there is a lot more to managing a data center and its critical components than just deployment. There’s upgrades – both software and hardware – and migration to new solutions as well as tweaking knobs and buttons to optimize and troubleshoot issues. While public cloud computing may alleviate much of the pain associated with forward movement, private and hybrid environments as well as traditional data center models must face the reality of dealing with these admittedly often tedious tasks.

It’s a foregone conclusion that new technology and devices like mobile, tablets, unified application delivery and cloud computing as well as an evolving threat spectrum put pressure on IT to maintain a healthy and modern set of services to ensure availability, performance, and security. As pressures increase on infrastructure services, vendors respond with new and or updated solutions to help IT combat the growing complexity of data center architectures.

But sometimes, IT needs a little help from its friends to get there, and that’s where professional service organizations enter into the picture.

One of F5’s top priorities is a world-class service organization. From implementation and ongoing support to migration and upgrades, our professional services organization continues to evaluate the technology landscape and address the most pressing issues facing IT through new offerings designed to ease those pain points introduced by a need to upgrade or migrate to new platforms.

New Services Offerings from F5

F5 is introducing three new services offerings that address many of these issues. Each assessment covers four phases: planning, analysis, a detailed report, and review with recommendations.

BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) Upgrade Assessment

f5 professional servicesUnderstand Your Infrastructure’s Readiness for Change

The flexible infrastructures made possible by BIG-IP LTM can drive efficiencies, support business growth, and optimize new capabilities that become available as the infrastructure devices evolve. Nonetheless, version upgrades require planning and analytical validation that new functionality will align with the organization’s infrastructure vision.

The BIG-IP LTM configuration is assessed in four broad categories:

  • Platform, including current TMOS release level, device health, network configuration, and system monitoring and management
  • Availability, including HA configuration, active/standby preferences, network redundancy, connection mirroring, and persistence settings
  • Performance, including optimized service profiles, CPU throughput, simple F5 iRules scripting, virtual server types, and health monitors
  • Security, including secure socket layer (SSL) cipher strengths, port lockdown settings, and administrative access configurations
Firepass to BIG-IP Access Policy Manager (APM) Migration Assessment

Migrate to BIG-IP APM for Faster, Flexible Access

The rapid proliferation of mobile devices, an increasingly dispersed workforce, and the need to secure and optimize content delivery combine to make high-performance, high-concurrency remote access solutions crucial to organizations. Migrating now from a FirePass device to BIG-IP APM ensures your applications remain fast, secure, and available. BIG-IP APM provides a flexible, high-performance access and security solution within an agile infrastructure that will position your organization to effectively support today’s mobile workforce.

The F5 Professional Services consultant reviews your current FirePass configuration and conducts a high-level design discussion to understand the target architecture requirements for meeting your organization’s remote access needs. The configuration review includes analysis of web services, landing URIs, authentication method, certificates, master and resource groups, and network, portal, and application access.

Proactive Assessment

Assess Your F5 Infrastructure Agility

An F5 Proactive Assessment Service audits your F5® BIG-IP® products to ensure optimal configuration. Specifically, the Proactive Assessment Service reviews your current environment to uncover potential issues or areas for improvement and makes recommendations that help optimize F5 technologies. The result is an action plan designed to boost your BIG-IP platform performance, strengthen security, and increase availability.

Network configuration is assessed with a comprehensive review of infrastructure characteristics in five categories:

  • Operating system, including hotfix level and consistency within products and across BIG-IP device high-availability (HA) pairs
  • Architecture, including virtual servers, pools, network address translation, and address resolution protocol (ARP) settings
  • Security, including password policy, authentication methods, and network forwarding
  • Availability, including fail-over, mirroring, HA configuration, health monitors, and backup policies
  • Performance, including CPU performance graphs, memory consumption, and throughput

Another great self-service resource can be found in iHealth, which enables you to verify the proper operation of your BIG-IP system and ensure your hardware and software function at peak efficiency. New to iHealth is a comparison feature that can assist with assessments as well as troubleshooting. iHealth requires registration, but is a free service from F5 designed to ease the support process as well as providing organizations with the means to self-support when desired.

Additional Resources:

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More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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