F5 offers new distributed cloud services for multicloud connectivity

Enterprise networking and application security company F5 is rolling out two new features to help businesses simplify different management tasks for today’s complex, multicloud environments.

The core problem with multicloud is heightened complexity and its associated costs in management headaches and security weaknesses. Distributed deployments, the company said in its announcement of the new capabilities this week, decrease visibility into the workings of complex systems, making it easier for security holes to go unnoticed.

F5’s new Distributed Cloud App Connect and Distributed Cloud Network are aimed squarely at addressing those problems via APIs designed to knit various applications and services together in a single-pane-of-glass management console.

Distributed Cloud App Connect applies the principle to, as the name suggests, applications. Wherever a given app is running — and regardless of whether it needs access to resources hosted on some other estate, everything from networking to visibility to security is linked into the control console provided by F5.

Distributed Cloud Network Connect works at the network level, bringing together connectivity services from cloud providers or edge environments or whatever is required under a single organizational roof.

“The proliferation of cloud and hybrid architectures has coincided with the rise of microservices and API-heavy distributed applications—all of which contribute complexity and diminish visibility,” said F5 senior vice president and general manager of distributed cloud platform and security, in the company’s announcement. “Distributed Cloud Services greatly expand our ability to serve customers’ hybrid and multi-cloud use cases, providing unparalleled agility and security for global infrastructure and app environments.”

According to Sid Nag, vice president in Gartner Research’s technology and service provider group, these new technologies represent a step forward that’s been in the making since F5 acquired multicloud and edge-as-a-service provider Volterra in 2021.

“These [clouds] have no way, in my opinion, of talking to each other natively,” he said. “The problem that F5 is solving, essentially, is that you want your system to behave as though everything’s running on the same system.”

Organizations are using multicloud regardless of the presence of an interconnection layer — it’s increasingly a reality of modern enterprise computing, according to Nag. That’s a problem if the issue of interconnection isn’t well managed.

“Basically, F5 is tapping into the cloud APIs and connecting all the different networks that are running on each of these different cloud providers and estates,” he said. “All of these technologies are there, but nobody has provided this kind of mega-layer for managing them.”

Distributed Cloud App Connect and Distributed Cloud Network Connect are available now as a part of any F5 subscription plan that has F5 Distributed Cloud Mesh platform capability. Pricing is consumption based and depends on the number of sites or nodes managed.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.

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