Increase Your Innovation Velocity with BIG-IP Automation

Published April 23, 2024

An accelerating demand for digital transformation has pushed many NetOps teams to the limit. Just a few years ago, most NetOps teams managed 50-100 apps, but today, most organizations manage 250 or more. Some organizations even report managing more than 1000 apps. In today’s rapidly evolving digital landscape, the demand for efficient, scalable, and secure application delivery has never been higher.

Leading organizations know that time to market is a critical race for customer loyalty and attention. To win that race, companies must increase innovation while reducing application development/rollout time and expense, according to more than 70% of the organizations surveyed in F5’s State of Application Strategy Report.

How can NetOps teams who are already struggling to keep up make strategic shifts to break away and outpace their competition?

The answer lies in strategic automation.

Empowering NetOps Teams to Drive Competitive Advantage through Automation

By harnessing the power of automation, NetOps teams can unlock a multitude of benefits, ranging from increased operational efficiency and scalability to improved security posture and cost savings. 

Across multiple industries, F5 is helping companies rapidly adapt to evolving market dynamics. Here are a few automation use case examples with dramatic results:

Transform and Optimize App Deployment and Management

A leading manufacturer’s application rollouts hampered operational efficiency and effectiveness. Bogged down by two-week release cycles involving handoffs between multiple teams, everyone was frustrated by the fragmentation and interdepartmental barriers holding them back.

By embracing F5’s BIG-IP Automation Toolchain and implementing infrastructure as code (IaC), the manufacturer enabled a self-service catalog for application developers, resulting in streamlined operations and enhanced development agility. Specific efficiency improvements throughout the organization include:

  • Successfully migrated ~3000 apps in 24 hours while maintaining production
  • Reduced app deployment times from approximately 15 days to just a few minutes
  • Greatly reduced the training and subject matter expertise needed to manage and maintain the apps and services
  • Removed manual, error-prone processes

Improved Consistency and Cost Savings

Prior to automating their BIG-IP deployment experience, a leading bank struggled to maintain consistency in the configuration of its BIG-IP instances, applications, and services across their hybrid cloud environment. Their manual configuration and management processes led to deployment delays, instance discrepancies, and security policy variations. This resulted in configuration drift that threatened the security, reliability, and stability of their apps and overall infrastructure.

After adopting F5 automation, the bank could quickly scale their BIG-IP fleet, along with associated apps and services, to securely meet growing demand in minutes.

Further, because automation reduces the need for manual tasks and minimizes the potential for downtime and disruptions, the bank also achieved OpEx savings of thousands of dollars, per instance per year.

Increased Flexibility and Enhanced Security

F5 also provides automation services to a leading retailer who struggled to keep up with network changes required during seasonal demand fluctuations. This retailer requires the ability to move workloads from BIG-IP hardware to software and the flexibility to burst to the cloud during the heaviest parts of the shopping season. 

Automation now enables the retailer to scale their BIG-IP services dynamically based on fluctuating demand. By monitoring traffic patterns and resource utilization in real time, F5’s BIG-IP automation systems can automatically provision additional resources on the retailer’s BIG-IP hardware or spin up virtual instances in software-defined environments to handle the increased workload. This allows seamless integrations in a hybrid cloud environment and maintains secure, policy-based management across all instances, regardless of where they are located.

Breaking Barriers: How Declarative Automation Future-Proofs Your Business

Traditional solutions rely on manual imperative commands, and to leverage that power, you needed in-depth knowledge of the product and services you've deployed.

To empower our clients to thrive in an increasingly dynamic landscape, F5 developed a new API called BIG-IP AS3 (BIG-IP Application Services 3 extension). AS3 uses a declarative model, meaning you provide a JSON declaration defining the desired end state of your business objective, as opposed to a tedious step-by-step instruction set of imperative commands, and AS3 automatically configures your application services as requested.

By embracing BIG-IP Automation Toolchain, F5 clients enjoy all the benefits of automation with increased flexibility, scalability, collaboration, efficiency, and innovation.

Competitive Advantage Secured: Industry Leading APIs

While there are no questions about the benefits of automation, the questions are typically “how do we execute?” or “where do we start?” With a complete set of automation tools that cover the complete application lifecycle, you can start with onboarding an instance, managing your configurations or streaming your telemetry data to a third-party software tool. You can start where automation best suits your requirements for application services velocity and scale out from there. In addition, a single API call defines each desired end state to simplify deployment and activate BIG-IP services faster and more accurately.

With over 37,000 downloads of Automation Toolchain components in 2023, and thousands of customers live in production, F5 provides the right documentation, experts, and experience to help you on your automation journey—regardless if you are well down the road, have recently begun, or are just determining where to start.

Additional Resources

F5 BIG-IP Application Services 3 Extension Documentation

F5 Automation Toolchain Video

YouTube Channel from F5’s Mark Dittmer