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Visibility: Where Effective App Service Management and Troubleshooting Begin

Zach Westall Thumbnail
Zach Westall
Published April 23, 2020
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As the old adage goes, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” In light of digital transformation initiatives quickly becoming a “checkbox” for modern enterprises, effective management of app services—and the devices that power them—is paramount. It’s also not easy, simple, or straightforward, especially in the multi-cloud world. That is why F5 is so dedicated to delivering end-to-end app visibility and control from code to customer.

According to F5’s latest State of Application Services report, 58% of respondents say that the most challenging aspect of multi-cloud operations is maintaining security, policy, and compliance of apps and the services that power them. If visibility and control are such big issues for networking pros, security teams, and app owners alike, it stands to reason that successfully identifying and fixing problems when they occur is equally challenging.

So, in this complex world of multi-and-hybrid cloud architectures, digital transformation, and app proliferation, the question becomes, “How can one maintain consistency, gain visibility, and enable simple troubleshooting of applications and the services and devices that support them?”

Enter BIG-IQ Centralized Management

In a previous post, we covered the BIG-IQ 7.0 release and how it helps network, security, and app teams effectively taking control of their F5 estate and ensure that application capital is protected. BIG-IQ essentially creates a “one-stop” BIG-IP management shop with features and functionality that include end-to-end app services management, security-specific dashboards, and tight integrations with the declarative F5 Automation Toolchain.

In short, BIG-IQ is an easy button for taking control of BIG-IP.

But no product is perfect. At F5, priority one is delighting our customers. And that means when they provide us with input and feedback, we listen. When talking to customers about BIG-IQ there is a common thread: A particular adoption and deployment blocker that involves deploying an application service without using a template or without using BIG-IQ. This “brownfield” or “legacy” application service scenario could result in limited visibility of that application service—no application dashboards, no deep analytics, no simple troubleshooting.

We thought customers would find BIG-IQ’s robust app-centric visibility compelling enough to redeploy their applications with a template—and it was for some. But others, especially those with particularly large estates of existing application services, were not as interested in this approach. It simply wasn’t feasible for them to redeploy all of these BIG-IP services.

We Heard You Loud and Clear

BIG-IQ 7.1 is exciting in part because it directly addresses the issue mentioned above. For the first time, users can gain an app-centric view into legacy application services that were either deployed without a template or not using BIG-IQ at all.

That means both administrators and application owners (with appropriate permissions) can gain visibility into the overall health, security status, and performance of BIG-IP app delivery and security services from a unified application-centric dashboard.

In addition to visibility, BIG-IQ 7.1 makes it possible for administrators and their trusted application owners to enact basic changes—such as enabling and disabling virtual servers and pool members—to their legacy app services and devices from the app-centric dashboard. App owners can now move faster, as they no longer have to submit tickets to network teams. Networking teams will no longer “drown” in these request tickets or have to find extremely narrow windows to work in—pain points that we heard and actively work to address.

Beyond support for legacy app visibility and control, BIG-IQ 7.1 includes:

  • Overall simplification of security and networking operations
  • Analytics, monitoring, and visibility into TCP app services profiles—one of the most common app protocols used
  • Presenting and grouping of interrelated app services as a “single” service
  • Increased scale of BIG-IP device management

Additionally, BIG-IQ 7.1 helps provide consistent security across platforms and enables unified management. Some of the highlights include: 

  • Support for anti-bot detection and protection profiles
  • Enhanced Behavioral DoS visibility and analytics dashboard
  • Improved web application security management through event logs 
  • Supports scaled deployment options 
  • Support for web app security policy template creation
  • Full web app security management and visibility on automated actions for AS3-enabled apps 
  • Integration with “Let’s Encrypt” for simplified certificate management
  • Enhanced logging capabilities for SSL Orchestrator

In short, BIG-IQ 7.1 represents a series of vast improvements to an already powerful solution for holistic management of your BIG-IP estate.

For more information on this exciting development, visit: https://f5.com/bigiq

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