F5 takes SaaS to the cloud with AWS Marketplace

F5 Networks is making a nimble move to the cloud with today's launch of its F5 Cloud Services on Amazon Web Services Marketplace.

F5 is now offering some of its capabilities through a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model on AWS Marketplace starting with a cloud-based secondary authoritative DNS service while also giving a sneak peek of its DNS Load Balancer Cloud Service. The load balancer offering will be available in the coming months.

F5 also has a whole new suite of security offerings in the works on its Cloud Service platform including web application protection, web application firewall, bot detection and mitigation as well as a few other ancillary services related to application protection in the cloud—all of which will be available on AWS Marketplace.

F5 used the AWS SaaS Factory and AWS SaaS Enablement Framework to architect, develop and deploy its Cloud Services platform.

"This is really an extension of our commitment to multicloud application services by delivering a new form factor in terms of how customers are going to use and consume our services," said F5 Networks' Craig Kitterman, senior director of product management, F5 Cloud Services, in an interview with FierceTelecom. "This is a fully SaaS-enabled model that's delivering our core application delivery services and security services through AWS Marketplace. We're optimizing our use cases for cloud-native workloads for things like microservices that are born in the cloud."

Cloud Services targets a wider range of customers for F5, including DevOps teams and developers who are used to consuming SaaS-based services and applications in the cloud.

"They may not be experts in networking, load balancing and security," Kitterman said. "We're really providing them a new user experience to consume the services where the configurations are much more straightforward while also providing a full set of declarative APIs to enable full programmability and automation."

RELATED: F5 Networks adds carrier-grade NAT to NFV platform

DevOps teams and developers can automate configurations with the APIs and integrate CI/CD practices for optimized performance throughout the lifecycle of the applications.

"All of these cloud solutions fit into a DevOps workflow," Kitterman said. "With these APIs, you can create accounts. You can provision, you can configure and you can manage the services through the APIs."

Kitterman said F5 plans to offer software development kits and CI/CD plug-ins to further speed up the development cycles while also providing better visibility into how they are being used.

"It's definitely on the roadmap to offer Jenkins, Ansible and other DevOps tools," Kitterman said. "But there's nothing stopping anyone from building scripting or programmable modules against those APIs today."

F5 expects to have its Cloud Services platform available on Microsoft Azure Marketplace over the next one or two quarters, according to Kitterman, while Google Cloud is on the roadmap and Alibaba Cloud is also under consideration.

The Cloud Services platform, which has been in the works for nine months, is a marked pivot point for F5 Networks. Kitterman said an engineering team was formed more than a year ago to start looking at how F5 could move its cloud-native application services portfolio into new SaaS-based use cases for its customers.

"I think it's the desire by customers to change the way they're delivering applications and services in an accelerated fashion," Kitterman said of customers' move towards SaaS-based applications and services. "We're adapting the way we deliver these capabilities to give them the most flexible set of options. If they want hardware appliances, that's great. If they want everything fully consumable as a service, that's great too. We want to be able to give them a full suite of consumption models to choose from across our portfolio."

Using its APIs, Kitterman said F5 was also interested in working with service providers, which could include different types of integrations with existing platforms and capabilities as well as white labeling applications and services.

F5 Networks CEO François Locoh-Donou was slated to join AWS CTO Werner Vogels on the stage at the AWS Summit this morning in Santa Clara, California, to announce the Cloud Services platform.