Window on WANs

Feb 23 2010   4:48PM GMT

Free tool from F5 will help developers understand application delivery controllers

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

It’s a familiar old yarn: Developers whip up a nice application that works wonderfully in the lab. But when you deploy it on the WAN or in a public or private cloud, the app just won’t work. And then the networking team gets blamed by the development team. “What’s wrong with your network? Why won’t it support my application?”

As i reported in the past, collaboration between development teams and network engineers early on can save you from a lot of headaches later.

So, WAN engineers, do what you can to help the development teams understand how their apps will behave in your production network. You can insist they buy some WAN emulators, for instance.

Also, it’s worth showing them what will happen when the application is running through a Layer 4 through 7 network.  F5 Networks, for instance, just released a virtual version of its application delivery controller BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM). LTM Virtual Edition (VE) is available in a free trial version right now. Network engineers and app developers alike can download LTM VE, whether for evaluation, or simply to test how new apps will work in a production application delivery controller environment. It will certainly allow you to avoid any nasty surprises.

This free version has a throughput limit of a 1mbps, so it’s really only useful for evaluation and testing, but F5 is planning to release an LTM VE version with production-class throughput rates later this year. This version  will be ideal for cloud computing and virtualized environments. F5 customers will be able to use LTM VE in concert with physical LTM appliances, allowing for quick deployment of new ADCs without having to buy and set up a new hardware appliance. A customer quote from a recent press release explains the utility of the eventual production version of LTM VE. Mandar Ghosalkar, applications infrastructure manager at Byer California, said:

F5’s virtual BIG-IP LTM fits well with Byer’s IT strategy for several reasons. First, this will enable us to test new solutions in an isolated environment and then easily transfer them to our production BIG-IP devices. Second, it should save valuable time and resources by eliminating the need to purchase and rack additional devices, helping us deploy applications faster.

F5 envisions scenarios where the LTM VE can be deployed to manage application delivery within both private and public clouds, working in concert with physical LTM appliances that are already in place to manage the traditional Layer 4-7 networking that goes on in data centers.

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