A Day in the Life: Maintaining Visibility and Control of BIG-IP

F5 Miniatur
Published March 02, 2021

The alarm clock rings out, jarring you awake and cutting short that amazing dream where you’re flying—not a care in the world. It’s OK, we all have that dream.

You decide to hit the snooze button and try to get yourself back to that feeling of weightlessness and freedom, but you just can’t do it. There really should be a smartphone app for that by now! You’re met with the same grating tone of your alarm nine short minutes later, disappointed, somehow more tired, but ultimately resigned to start the day—however grudgingly.

The order of operations for what happens next is pretty different depending on personality. Maybe you’re a superhuman that starts by working out, putting all us regular folks to shame. Or perhaps, like so many of us, you’re completely useless without that first cup of coffee. Then it’s a quick breakfast, shower, and beginning the long commute in hallway gridlock to the couch, desk, dining room table, kitchen counter, or whatever makeshift office you’ve created in the era of COVID-19…just in time for the morning team meeting on Zoom.

A Day in the Life

For network and/or BIG-IP administrators, it’s probably a little bit different. It usually starts—and ends—with their primary goal: ensuring that the network, BIG-IP deployments, and the apps running on them remain healthy, secure, available, and performing well. In the time before the pandemic, this was a crucial function for most organizations. With remote work (and remote access for corporate apps, data, and networks) now the standard, this task has become akin to Atlas shouldering the world. Coupled with mountains of one-off service request tickets, investigating alerts, and attempting to juggle shifting priorities, it can seem like fighting an uphill battle—but few things are more mission-critical.

After all, applications are what drive the modern enterprise. They’re how work gets done, how customers transact with brands, and how positive digital experiences are delivered. And make no mistake, every organization is now in the digital experiences business—especially as more aspects of life and work transition to being remote and online. In short, a good UX, high performance, zero downtime, secure transactions, and a high degree of personalization are no longer differentiators; they are the norm.

Ensuring apps can deliver these digital experiences by remaining available, performant, and secure isn’t easy. From last year's State of Application Services report, we learned that managing applications in multi-cloud environments comes with several challenges—maintaining policies and compliance being chief among them. For years F5’s flagship platform, BIG-IP, has been at the forefront of helping our customers (and their apps) meet this challenge. Admittedly though, effective management, insight, and automation of BIG-IP—especially for larger, multi-environment deployments—has been historically complex.

This is particularly true when a piecemeal, individualized approach to BIG-IP management is employed.

What to Do about It

It’s clear that a more modern strategy is needed to address previous BIG-IP administration challenges—one that combines RBAC-enabled visibility, analytics, and holistic management workflows for apps in different environments, as well as various automation and self-service scenarios. A centralized approach offers many benefits including lower TCO, streamlined operations, simpler compliance efforts, and deployment and policy consistency. BIG-IQ Centralized Management combines all of these benefits and helps organizations with BIG-IP deployments both large and small take control and get more out of their investments. In addition, BIG-IQ is enhancing management with the release of BIG-IQ 8.0.

This latest version helps network teams better maintain their BIG-IP deployments, streamline workflows, improve app performance, respond to dynamic changes in deployment environments, and enable better visibility and insight into application landscapes. Not to mention an overall hardening of the product in the form of updating the underlying code base.

Some exciting new features and capabilities of BIG-IQ Centralized Management 8.0 include:

  • Open API integrations that enable BIG-IQ to populate F5 Beacon—a SaaS solution for higher level visibility and application mapping
  • Compatibility with the latest versions of AS3 and Declarative Onboarding—part of the declarative Automation Toolchain
  • An updated underlying version of TMOS—reducing technical debt
  • Increased application management capacity scale—from 500 to 1000
  • Automated scheduling and exporting of analytics reports—ensuring the entire team has visibility
  • Compatibility with the latest versions of BIG-IP modules

For more information about BIG-IQ Centralized Management, click here. Also please join us for a BIG-IQ webinar and live demo coming up on Wednesday, March 17. We look forward to seeing you there!

...and stay tuned for the next blog in this series to learn how BIG-IQ 8.0 can enable better management and visibility of F5 security solutions—helping improve overall security posture and threat protection across your landscape.