F5 Friday: Transforming the DC by Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

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Lori MacVittie
Published May 13, 2016

One of the biggest challenges organizations face today is how to “modernize” their traditional data center to meet increasing demands from the business and users alike. Whether it’s moving to the cloud, or enabling broader access from roaming, mobile devices, a traditional infrastructure architecture can be a significant obstacle in meeting those demands.

Most organizations have, after all, invested a great deal to ensure their networks are reliable and fast, because without the network there’s no way to deliver the app in the first place. Best practices having been followed, organizations across the globe are struggling under a heavy load of architectural debt incurred over the years, making it difficult to make the transition from traditional to, well, anything resembling a more agile, hybrid-based architecture.  Many are suffering from “service sprawl”, a condition suffered by many after years of deploying individual solutions or systems designed to address one specific pain point. Firewalls, caches, load balancers, application access. A web app firewall here, DNS over there. Nothing is integrated, very little is shared, and everything is individually managed.

It can make moving to a more automated, orchestrated and distributed architecture a nightmare.

Yet most organizations realize it’s a necessity. Scale (growth) of the business depends on speed and scale of applications which in turn depend on the speed and scale of the services that deliver and secure them.

As organizations begin to address the obstacles to achieving that kind of scale, they are likely to find the same opportunity discovered by Fraser Coast Regional Council (FCRC), a local government agency in the Wide Bay–Burnett region of Queensland which is responsible for providing local government services to more than 96,000 residents.

What FCRC discovered upon embarking on a firewall replacement project (because it was an obstacle to delivering services to its very mobile constituency) was the opportunity to re-architect a wider set of security and deliver app services to not only enable the speed of deployment they needed but also the ability to support a hybrid cloud architecture.

“In a hybrid environment, the ability to secure and differentiate access to the council’s applications and network is important. With F5, we are able to deliver applications to the users and ensure that the security posture doesn’t change no matter where the users are.”

FCRC took advantage of the situation by replacing a number of point solutions with a single, shared platform (F5 BIG-IP) to enable deliver and provisioning of app services regardless of where applications reside. These included services like user access, SSL offloading, and load balancing. By standardizing on a shared delivery platform, they were able to eliminate numerous single points of failure at the edge of their network.

In doing so, they were able to realize faster time to market, an improved security posture, and an agile infrastructure.

“In the past we were technically challenged, but today the challenge is minimized as we are in a more flexible and agile position to roll out new services within a couple of days,” said Rogers.

For a deeper dive into FCRC’s transformation – including how they transitioned applications – check out their customer story right here on