Once upon a time, there was a young lad who reached out to the executives at F5, including the CEO, COO and Product Management. The lad had an idea, in which F5 could extend its BIG-IP/Global Traffic Manager functionality to the cloud. The lad was successful in presenting the idea to the F5 Product Management team, but in the end, the idea fell flat on its face. F5 wasn’t ready to entertain far-fetched ideas. Fast forward five or six years, and looking back at the idea, it was simply ahead of its time. If F5 would have listened, maybe they would have been the leader in WAN as-a-service, giving Aryaka Networks a run for their money.
F5 made a brilliant move acquiring Defense.net. More than anything else, F5 displayed courage, and risk taking by jumping out of its comfort zone, and acquiring a cloud based security company. Maybe this is the turning point for F5, where they start to embrace the cloud subscription model, and start offering customer’s a choice between hardware based appliances, or cloud based services. What does F5 have to do with CDN? Plenty. The way I see it, the BIG-IP and Global Traffic Manager provide CDN like functionality. In a way, it is like CDN in a box.
The Global Traffic Manager was a good product for many years, but with DNS service providers like DynDNS, and those offered by CDNs, Global Traffic Manager doesn’t match up from a cost perspective, or scalability perspective to cloud based DNS services. The BIG-IP is a solid product that has been around for the last decade. It plays an important role in accelerating the delivery of web applications, web content, and securing data. But CDNs also do the same thing, but it do it on a global scale, and without the need to buy hardware, or deploy software. The good news, F5 is doing well financially. They haven’t been struggling like Riverbed. Adding cloud, and CDN like services is only going to help F5 maintain its leadership position in the highly competitive space for the next decade. It’s About Time F5