F5 rSeries: An Introduction
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When it comes to optimizing and securing applications, F5 is a name that comes up often. As discussed before, F5 is replacing the Viprion line of chassis with VELOS, no small change since the Viprion platform and name goes back to at least 2008. You can read more about VELOS here.
Not everyone needs a chassis based system though. F5's mainline appliances have been the iSeries, which have incredible performance. The problem is that iSeries isn't in line with where F5 and the application delivery market is going. It was time for a change.
The replacement the venerable iSeries is the new rSeries. The F5 rSeries is a suite of hardware and software solutions that are designed to provide high-performance traffic management, advanced security and comprehensive analytics. In this article, we'll take a closer look at what the F5 rSeries is, what it can do and why you might want to consider it for your organization.
At its core, the F5 rSeries is all about traffic management. It provides a suite of tools and technologies that help organizations optimize their network traffic for maximum efficiency and performance. With the rSeries, you can manage traffic at the application layer, the network layer and even the transport layer. This means that you can prioritize traffic based on its importance, minimize latency and packet loss and prevent traffic jams and bottlenecks.
The rSeries handles this complete differently than the load balances of yore. In the F5 iSeries and prior going back to November 2004 when F5 launched Traffic Management OS, or TMOS, it ran a 64-bit real-time OS (TMOS). With rSeries and the introduction of F5OS, this paradigm has shifted. The rSeries platform is built using modern application development principles and utilizes technologies such as RedHat's OpenShift and Kubernetes to accomplish it's tasks. This is will allow the new hardware to run kubevirt versions of classic BIG-IP but to host BIG-IP Next, which is F5's forthcoming rebirth of BIG-IP (to be discussed further in future articles).
One of the key features of F5OS, the operating system that powers the rSeries, is its inherent multi-tenancy. This means that the system can support multiple tenants, each with their own set of resources and management capabilities. This is particularly useful in environments where there are multiple applications or business units that require separate network resources.
F5OS utilizes a container-based architecture, which allows for greater flexibility and scalability. Each tenant is isolated within its own container, providing enhanced security and resource management. This also means that tenants can be easily added or removed as needed, without impacting other tenants on the system.
The inherent multi-tenancy of F5OS is a key factor in the rSeries' ability to provide high-performance traffic management and advanced security features. It allows organizations to prioritize and manage their network resources more effectively, while ensuring that each tenant's data is secure and isolated from other tenants on the system.
One of the key design principles behind the F5 rSeries and F5OS is API-first development. This means that the system is built from the ground up with APIs in mind, allowing for greater flexibility and easier integration with other systems.
The F5 rSeries and F5OS provide a comprehensive set of APIs that allow organizations to automate and orchestrate their traffic management and security tasks. This includes APIs for configuring the system, managing tenants, and monitoring traffic and security events.
API-first development also means that the system is designed to be modular and scalable, with each component exposed as a separate API. This allows organizations to easily add or remove functionality as needed, without impacting other parts of the system.
Overall, the API-first design of the F5 rSeries and F5OS provides organizations with greater control and flexibility over their network traffic and security. It allows for easier integration with other systems and provides a foundation for future growth and expansion.
WWT exclusively has been working with F5's PM and PD teams testing the rSeries platforms. Testing was done against the hardware, the F5OS software and finally full functional testing of rSeries platforms running classic BIG-IP tenants. We have found the rSeries gear to meet or exceed published performance metrics when tested with our traffic generators. Additionally, the flexibility of built-in multi-tenancy instead of the way vCMP accomplished this in the past is something we appreciated in testing.
After our testing, we can recommend the rSeries hardware platforms to customers who have demands requiring hardware. They allow customers to continue to maintain operations, while giving them the future flexibility to support where F5 is taking BIG-IP moving into the future. This coupled with F5's Flexible Consumption Program (FCP) can give customers the nimbleness to support applications on-premise today that will be multicloud tomorrow.