Office of the CTO


GENG LIN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT AND CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER

What is F5’s latest thinking?

F5 Chief Technology Officer Geng Lin recently wrote, “Applications have become the lifeblood of our global economy. As a result, enterprises in every industry sector have embarked on a digital transformation journey. Every business is becoming an application business and every industry is becoming an application-centric industry.”

Stay up to date on the latest trends in digital transformation, the future of application services, technology and architectures evolving from the transition to an AI-assisted future, and insights into emerging application security models with blogs from the Office of the CTO.

BLOG | Geng Lin

F5 Collaborates with NVIDIA to Accelerate and Secure Cloud and Edge Computing

Digital transformation and the associated data generation are threatening to overwhelm the systems and companies that rely on data to create value. Accordingly, organizations are looking for more efficient, modern computing architectures that can support multi-tenancy and deliver applications at data center scale with all the necessary levels of performance and security.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Modernizing our Perspective: Applications versus Experiences

Like Greek and Roman gods, multiple manifestations of the same persona are evident throughout many mythologies. At the core, each incarnation is a new face to an existing persona. A similar reality is true in the digital world; what we call “applications” can often be considered as incarnations of existing functionality.

BLOG | Geng Lin

The Future of the AI-Based Enterprise

We are living in an unprecedented time. Technology innovations routinely disrupt existing business models, and in some cases, completely replace existing industries—continuously and fundamentally changing the way we live and interact with each other. This post identifies three areas where AI is currently having a major impact on the enterprise.

BLOG | KEN ARORA

Living on the Edge: How we got here

The first in a series of blogs that looks at application-related technologies whose tide will be coming in during the next few years, especially as we evolve toward a more fully dispersed application delivery fabric and the emergent role of the edge. We’ll begin by examining where we are today (and the paths taken so far).

BLOG | Geng Lin

Fighting for a Radically Inclusive World

The fight for anti-racism in support of our friends, family, and coworkers of Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry is part of a much bigger battle. We are fighting for a world that is radically inclusive—where we, as a global community, don’t just tolerate differences, we celebrate them.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

The Rise of the Modern Monolith

While there’s a tendency to focus on applications that directly implement a customer experience, every business domain will see the rise of applications that ultimately become critical to their digital presence. These applications, then, become the modern equivalent of a monolith.

BLOG | Geng Lin

F5 Teams with IBM to Help Enterprises Manage Hybrid Cloud Workloads

IBM Cloud Satellite is designed to bring cloud services to where clients’ data already resides—and help them bridge to where they want to go. This aligns with F5’s ambitions for Edge 2.0 and our vision of distributing applications—at the data center, in the public cloud, and at the edge—to help assure a seamless, consistent, and secure user experience.

BLOG | MARTIN DUKE

QUIC Will Eat the Internet

QUIC has broad industry support and the potential to be the basis of most applications that deliver business value over the internet. Anyone delivering applications over the internet should start thinking about how their operations should change to reflect the new threats and opportunities that these protocols bring.

BLOG | Geng Lin

Edge 2.0 Manifesto: Redefining Edge Computing

F5’s completion of its acquisition of Volterra marks the beginning of the next phase of edge computing, ushering in the Edge 2.0 era. We envision that in the Edge 2.0 era, digital business in every industry sector will adopt edge computing platforms to deliver applications and to process and analyze data. The edge platform will be an essential component of the user experience for all digital services.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Your Product is My Digital Experience

It's no surprise that we all have at least a few devices in our homes that can and do connect to the Internet. What's surprising is that most of us—and most businesses, too—don't include the "IoT" as part of digital transformation. They should because digitizing products is absolutely a part of the business journey.

BLOG | KEN ARORA

Strategic Benefits of a Robust Data Architecture

The payoffs of a well-constructed data architecture go beyond operational process. The benefits extend into strategic operational efficiencies, deeper business insights, and the ability to reach adjacent business opportunities, all executed in a more agile manner.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

The Unfiltered State of Application Survey Respondents

Whether we’re talking digital transformation, application architectures, or the importance of telemetry in maintaining a digital business, the soon-to-be-released results of our annual survey help shape F5's understanding of the market and strategic decisions. This year, we gave respondents a bit more latitude in providing freeform answers. They did not disappoint.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

The Fourth Wave of Cloud is Imminent

We recently crested the third wave of cloud. Concurrently, the pandemic has shifted a lot of enterprise attitudes. One has been the approach to remote work. Another is that toward public cloud. In fact, just about every survey out there now says the market is full steam ahead on cloud migrations—but, while certainly related, an important distinction exists between cloud migration and cloud adoption.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Credential Stuffing Increasingly Targets Video Games

Gaming accounts and microtransactions are valuable enough to have become substantial targets for hackers. Given that these accounts—like those in other industries—can be used across platforms (website, console, mobile phone), they can pose lucrative opportunities with multiple attack vectors for those savvy enough to go after them.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Musings on Monitoring after App Modernization

Whether through a mobile app using APIs to interface with an existing monolithic mainframe app or via message queues that connect Slack to a traditional client-server based customer service application, the task facing enterprise IT today is not merely to transform monoliths to microservices, but to make microservices talk to monoliths.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Edge is Driving an Infrastructure Renaissance

As organizations ramp up their generation of data and seek to extract business value from it, analytics and automation powered by AI and ML will certainly be on the table as technologies put to the task. These are exactly the type of workloads that will benefit from optimized infrastructure, and yet they are the ones least likely to be able to take advantage of it today. 

BLOG | Ken Arora

Why a Structured Data Design Strategy Matters: An Example

A thoughtful and deliberate data strategy is fundamental to enabling the quality and cost-effectiveness of the most important business workflows. Further, when the workflows are instrumented to transmit their observed data exhaust to a collection and analysis infrastructure, the workflows themselves can be continuously analyzed and improved, resulting in constantly adaptive and optimized business workflows.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Scaling DDoS Protection at the Edge

While it's true that 2020 has seen different DDoS attack patterns emerge, what is also true is that DDoS attacks at the infrastructure layer are still DDoS attacks. They are what we might call "traditional" attacks. What is changing are targets and opportunities that come with a distributed workforce, along with considerations around 5G and Edge computing.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Adaptive Applications are Data-Driven

There's a big difference between knowing something's wrong and knowing what to do about it. Only after monitoring the right elements can we discern the health of a user experience, deriving from the analysis of those measurements the relationships and patterns that can be inferred. Ultimately, the automation that will give rise to truly adaptive applications is based on measurements and our understanding of them.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Detecting Fraud in Digital Workflows Requires More than Data

The industry saw nearly 250,000 attempts of credit card fraud in 2019. That breaks down to about one attempt every two minutes. Detecting fraud today requires a correlation of data, collected from as many points in the digital workflow as possible, and the ability to analyze it at speeds far greater than manual data processing can offer.

BLOG | JASON FELDT

Slow is the new Down

The central problem with measuring site performance today can be summed up as: "We don't measure the cost of slow. We measure the cost of downtime." Humans tend to work toward what they're measured on. This is not a new concept and, in fact, it's one of the tenets of DevOps and the reason the methodology includes a shift in measurements toward what matters most. Today, that means more than just available—it means fast and reliable too.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Packing Up and Moving to SaaS

While SaaS is not really all that new, what is new is the range of activities being commoditized and packaged as SaaS. All manner of business functions are joining CRM, SFA, productivity, and communications as SaaS offerings. And we anticipate that organizations will quickly jump at the chance to offload the operation of such software to a provider.

BLOG | RENUKA NADKARNI

Cloud-Native Architectures Accelerate Need for New Ways to Solve Security Challenges

Despite changes in architectures and location, security problems do not change. Customers still need to protect applications, ensure availability, and defend against DDoS attacks. Application security is just a bigger challenge now due to the expanding attack surfaces and vulnerabilities.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Beyond Visibility is Operability

There are two walls in the delivery path for applications. The first (which has been the cause of much friction) is between development and production. And while DevOps methodologies have begun to break down this wall, the other—the one between production and delivery to consumers—is not so easily breached.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Digital Transformation: Progressing from Automation to Workflows

In the three phases of digital transformation, the first phase is all about automation. The focus on digitizing of workflows in phase two will ultimately offer business a path forward to the third phase, where data-driven services will generate actionable insights that improve efficiency, reduce process friction, and increase both productivity and profits.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

The Next Phase of Application Monitoring is Predictive

First confined to the data center, Application Performance Monitoring (APM) has become increasingly context-driven around web-based user experiences. Today, it isn't enough to identify what went wrong after the fact. Businesses need to identify where trouble might occur before it happens.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

The Third Wave of Cloud is Cresting

There is an ebb and flow to technology cycles. Its inevitability is extant in many theories, such as the S-curve of innovation and a certain well-known analyst firm's hype cycle. Cloud is subject to these same waves. We've seen two very strong cycles over the past ten years, and it appears that a third wave is beginning to crest.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Privacy Matters in a Data-Driven Economy

Data comes from a variety of sources across the code-to-customer path. Applications. Platforms. Application services. Infrastructure. Devices. All are capable of emitting data that can be turned into business value by the right solution. The elephant in the room during any discussion on the use of data is, of course, privacy.

BLOG | KEN ARORA

The Foundational Role of Data Architecture (in an analytics-focused world)

The first step in a discussion about data architecture is to define what the concept of “data architecture” encompasses. Unsurprisingly, the answer turns out to be nuanced—it is layered and multifaceted. To help ground the discussion, it is useful to start by thinking about it in terms of the journey of collected telemetry data.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Corporate Payments Go Digital in the Wake of COVID-19

Digital payments have become as common as cash used to be. Shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have only accelerated the rate consumers rely on such services. But it has also accelerated digital payments on the corporate side. After all, businesses still have accounts payable and receivable whether they're open to the public or not.

BLOG | Geng Lin

F5’s Path to a Multi-Purpose Application Analytics Platform

Today, F5 offers the most comprehensive application services along the code to customer path. For the future, we are doubling down on application telemetries and analytics to help our customers discover insights about their applications, business flows, and user experiences. As we build out our cloud analytics capabilities, we'll further leverage ML/AI to help our customers to improve their business services. 

BLOG | MICHAEL WILEY & LORI MACVITTIE

The Evolution of Load Balancing is Tied to Application Architecture

It should be no surprise that as there evolves a new generation of application architectures that a new generation of load balancing accompanies it. Since the birth of load balancing, just before the turn of the century, the technology has moved in a predictable pace, which means it is time for innovation.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Microservices will be the new COBOL

Amid this pandemic, the systems processing unemployment claims in many U.S. states found themselves in peril. Developed using COBOL, the systems faced overwhelming demand, prompting urgent calls for those proficient in a programming language dating back to 1959. In parallel, many applications driving contemporary digital transformation efforts are microservices-based. These apps, like their COBOL forebears, are likely to be so critical that they, too, may still be running in 50 or 60 years.

BLOG | RENUKA NADKARNI

Security is (Still) Everyone's Responsibility

The expansion of applications tied to organizations’ digital transformation efforts also increases the number of attack surfaces for bad actors to target, with the effects of the current pandemic further accelerating this growth. Coupled with users’ tendency to reuse passwords, you’ve got an unfortunately prime environment for credential stuffing attacks. This article highlights established best practices that can help both businesses and consumers protect themselves.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

App Servers as Insertion Points

An insertion point is an architecturally distinct location in the code to customer data path at which it makes sense to add functionality that is often outside the purview of development or operationally more efficient. Insertion points include the client, infrastructure, and the app itself. So, what we're looking for are app services that are both operationally and cost efficient at the point of insertion; in this case, we're focused on the app server (platform) itself.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Optimizing Remote Access to Support WFH during COVID-19

The dominance of video and SaaS traffic today is, in part, why remote access services are being overwhelmed. In parallel, the rise of telemedicine during this pandemic is increasing and along with it, live video traffic. One way to increase capacity and improve performance for remote users is to update your remote access configuration to reflect the modern makeup of application traffic.

BLOG | KEN ARORA

The Next Journey for Applications: Extracting Value from a Sea of Data

"Data is the new oil" or "Data is the grease of the digital economy." If you're like me, you've probably heard these phrases, or perhaps even the more business school-esque phrase "data exhaust monetization," to the point of being clichés. But like all good clichés, they are grounded in a fundamental truth, or in this case, in a complementary pair of truths.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Telemetry: A Different Kind of Data

Are we just using telemetry because it sounds sexier than data? Ultimately both data and telemetry are organized bits of information. To use them interchangeably is not a crime. But the reality is that, if you want to be accurate, there is a difference. And that difference will become increasingly important as organizations march into the data economy.

BLOG | JOEL MOSES

AI and the Role of Application Services

Put simply, one can define artificial intelligence as “teaching a computer how to mimic aspects of human intelligence.” To understand how AI and application services will work together in the future, it’s first necessary to examine three distinct types of AI: Strong, Weak, and Assistive.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Dirty Data is a Business Risk

The inability to verify the integrity or correctness of data should be of significant concern to those organizations pursuing digital transformation efforts (which rely heavily on data). That data will be used not only to conduct business but it also forms the basis for pattern and behavior recognition. Accordingly, it will power advanced analytics that automatically make operational and business decisions without human intervention.

BLOG | RENUKA NADKARNI

Tackling the Next Generation of Threats with Shape and F5

What sets Shape and F5 apart is F5’s ability to capture high fidelity data from our position in front of millions of mission-critical customer applications combined with the sophisticated AI-assisted analytics platform from Shape. By integrating Shape and F5, we are executing on our vision to create an advanced set of security capabilities that can handle today’s most sophisticated attacks.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

In the Future, the A in API will Stand for Automation

API stands for Application Programming Interface. Over the years, it has evolved from a tightly coupled imperative specification to a loosely coupled declarative model. Regardless of implementation and the mode of invocation, APIs tend to be associated with app development. But another API economy has been steadily expanding. It lies within operations. And in that domain, the "A" in API stands for automation.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Inserting App Services into Shifting App Architectures

Application architectures have evolved several times since the early days of computing, and it is no longer optimal to rely solely on a single, known data path to insert application services. Furthermore, because many of the emerging data paths are not as suitable for a proxy-based platform, we must look to the other potential points of insertion possible to scale and secure modern applications.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Digital Transformation: 2020 and Beyond

Digital transformation is about moving technology from business interactions to processes to new models. At first, it's about apps. But as app portfolios expand, it turns to focus on automation and orchestration. With the increase in data generation, transformation becomes the pivot point for new business opportunities.

BLOG | RENUKA NADKARNI

The Proxy is a Key Component to the Future of Security

The future of security rests on telemetry that is more than technical data points picked out of packets. It requires a holistic view of interactions from client to application to behavior. Machine learning requires enormous amounts of data to establish and recognize patterns. This is why programmable proxies are such a critical part of an advanced security approach.

BLOG | Geng Lin

The Three Phases of Digital Transformation

Organizations are taking advantage of the proliferation of digital technologies to define new business models or to improve business productivity with existing models. While the pace of digital transformation varies based on the business and the sector it is in, overall, the journey of digital transformation has three stages.

BLOG | LORI MACVITTIE

Customer Experience Depends on Visibility

Visibility remains key for organizations to secure, scale, and speed up applications. And as apps are increasingly distributed—across containers, clouds, etc.—the more widely we need to distribute the application services that provide heightened visibility to enhance performance.

BLOG | RENUKA NADKARNI

When the Digital Mice Get Smarter So Must the Digital Mousetrap

Some attacks are merely a nuisance, degrading network performance or disrupting availability. Some others may be relatively rare but have far more serious impacts in the form of data breaches. Like the plagues spread by mice that wiped out cities in a bygone era, today’s attacks wipe out brand reputations and business value.