F5 Networks Extends SDN Reach to Include Load Balancers

Mike Vizard
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Basketball Tournament Leads to Network Madness

One of the new realities of IT is the emergence of micro-services based on containers that will dynamically invoke a wide variety of network services. To help enable that to occur, F5 Networks today unveiled an F5 LineRate Point Load Balancer that allows IT organizations to deploy Layer 7 load balancers in a virtual form factor. The Point Load Balancer is based on software-defined networking technology that F5 Networks gained when it acquired LineRate Systems last year.

Lori MacVittie, principal technical evangelist for F5 Networks, says the basic idea is to be able to quickly deploy load balancing functionality anywhere it is required. That capability, says MacVittie, is going to become more significant in the age of micro-services that will see a large number of containers, such as Docker, invoking network services.

MacVittie says that F5 LineRate Point Load Balancer is an extension of the F5 Synthesis orchestration software that the company has been developing to make network infrastructure more responsive to changes in the application environment.


While organizations have been talking about managing IT as a service for years, the management of the underlying network for the most part continues to be a manual set of processes. But as networking continues to evolve, it’s clear that organizations are looking to SDN technologies to create agile networks that can respond to calls for services using application programming interfaces (APIs).

Naturally, it’s going to take a while for a transition of that scale to play out. But unless organizations find ways to make networks more responsive to applications, most of the recent advancements made in every other aspect of IT will be for naught if it still takes IT organizations weeks to provision the network services.

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