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Speeding Customer Innovation in the Cloud with F5 and AWS

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On October 23, F5 announced expanded technology partnership efforts with AWS. As a companion piece to the press release, Barry Russell, VP of F5’s Global Cloud Business, answers a few questions to add color to the news.


First off, can you give a quick summary of today’s announcement with AWS?

Absolutely. F5 and AWS have signed what AWS calls a Strategic Collaboration Agreement, designed to better define and extend the companies’ partnership efforts to serve the needs of customers migrating and building apps for hybrid and cloud environments. The agreement also provides ongoing structure for customer engagements centered on allowing companies to seamlessly enjoy the benefits F5 and AWS offer—particularly those tied to building new applications and ensuring those applications meet customers’ shared security model responsibilities on AWS. Essentially, we are focused on helping Enterprise, Government, and Digital-Native companies bridge functionality and extract additional value from applications by applying intelligent services throughout the cloud delivery infrastructure, from code to customer.

What new opportunities will this open up for customers?

While some of the specifics are still being ironed out, it provides a framework for the product development and engineering teams of both companies to collaborate and explore different scenarios  of integrating F5 and AWS services to make it easier for customers to digitally transform their offerings and consume services through AWS Marketplace (with operations across DevSecOps). At a high level, this is really about giving customers a clear path to best-in-class cloud application performance with F5 and AWS. We foresee giving mutual customers access to impactful outcome-based solutions and industry-specific solutions to speed migration of critical enterprise workloads, promote NGINX for leading web application introduction and API management, and drive the use of our F5 Cloud Services (SaaS) to make it even easier for developers to insert these technologies into modern application architectures.

Are there other benefits that you anticipate seeing going forward?

In the short-term, a primary benefit to customers is that F5 and AWS teams in the field can work more closely to help organizations with their application migrations and building new applications on AWS, particularly when addressing things like a security or meeting the needs for industry compliance, as well as bringing together customer teams across Network, Security, and Developer teams. This means removing guesswork from the equation when customers want to know how deploying F5 and AWS together will help them take cloud application performance to new heights. In the long-term, as the engineering and services teams spend more time together, we’re very optimistic that additional areas and opportunities will surface that unlock further innovation and spur customers’ digital transformation efforts.

How does this announcement fit within F5’s overall cloud strategy?

Building on last spring’s announcement of F5 Cloud Services on AWS and availability through AWS Marketplace, this is another big step forward in helping the thousands of customers who run millions of applications using F5 for their security, orchestration, and application management needs to do the same in the cloud.

As a long-standing partner of AWS and other cloud-focused organizations, our vision is to help customers deliver applications and services faster to end consumers by helping teams rollout new capabilities more quickly, and by doing so in a way that keeps applications secure, compliant, and performant across SaaS, container, and microservices deployments.

Can you provide any other color around how this fits with F5’s broader partnership efforts with AWS?

For us, these efforts all point to helping customers digitally transform, and helping developers and DevOps teams build and deploy new applications faster on AWS by leveraging a growing combination of F5 and AWS cloud-native services. Through the agreement and similar efforts, we see an expansion of how organizations will be able to use solutions like F5 Cloud Services and NGINX, extending the benefits well beyond traditional enterprise use cases to include startups building complete offerings as SaaS on AWS. By formalizing elements of the AWS partnership in this way, it signals that both organizations see tangible benefits for their customers on the horizon.

Digging into the details, how does the announcement tie in with F5’s specific offerings?

It’s easiest to give specific examples at this point, rather than a comprehensive list, so I’ll take that approach. For F5 Cloud Services, we’re anticipating significant advantages around how accessible those services (for instance, DNS Cloud Service and DNS Load Balancer Cloud Service) will be within AWS to developers, including the security services we offer today. There is also a significant emphasis around NGINX and the use of NGINX Plus by organizations who are building new applications on AWS.

In addition, we’re looking at co-selling motions related to customer outcomes, specifically around SAP migrations, Windows workload migrations, and others to follow that offer vertical-focused solutions that we’d take to market for financial services, public sector, service providers, and more.

As we round this out, what to you is the most exciting thing about the news?

I think it’s really cool to see over the last two years how F5 has pushed itself in terms of digital innovation and the pace our product teams are delivering new solutions for customers in container and SaaS deployment scenarios, with the ability to access those solutions directly from AWS Marketplace. To have this type of agreement come together, in my view, is all about how we’re going to be able to service customers better around the world. Extending it out a bit further, we see this as a way to deliver new capabilities to customers through smarter services leveraging AI, managed services, and growing technologies such as Lambda.

Is there anything else notable you’d like to call out that perhaps didn’t end up in the press release?

I’d just emphasize that this is a unique partnership, and the first time that an AWS Strategic Collaboration Agreement has been done with an ISV of our type in the security and networking space. This is particularly relevant because F5 and AWS share many of the same customers across enterprise and government sectors, as well as companies that were born in the cloud, and we are excited about what this means for customers in the coming days, months, and years.

For additional information on partnership between F5 and AWS, check out the technology alliance page on f5.com.

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