F5 Introduces Synthesis Architecture for Software Defined Application Services (SDAS)

Published November 05, 2013


Nathan Misner
Sr. Director of Global Communications
F5 Networks
(206) 272-7494

Holly Lancaster
WE Communications
(415) 547-7054

F5’s portfolio of intelligent application services and flexible deployment models positions customers’ security, mobility, and cloud initiatives for success


  • The F5 Synthesis™ architectural vision helps customer improve service velocity and accelerate time to market through automated provisioning and intelligent service orchestration of application services.
  • The F5 Synthesis elastic, high-performance services fabric reduces the cost and complexity of deploying software defined application services™ (SDAS™) across all types of systems and environments, including software defined networks (SDN), virtual infrastructures, and cloud.
  • F5’s prescriptive reference architectures, optimized licensing models, and deployment options give organizations the tools to align services with user and business expectations for applications, overcoming persistent IT challenges around availability, optimization, security, and mobility.


SEATTLE—F5 Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIV) announced todaythe new F5 Synthesis™ architectural vision, promoting the delivery and orchestration of software defined application services™(SDAS™) throughout data center, cloud, and hybrid environments. Powered by an elastic, multi-tenant and high-performance services fabric, F5 Synthesis enables customers to rapidly and cost-effectively provision layer 4-7 services to anyone at any time without constraints.

The Synthesis architectural vision builds on signature F5®technologies like TMOS® and ScaleN™, adding new elements to extend the reach of intelligent application services further into IT infrastructures and cloud environments. As a culmination of F5 innovations to date, today’s announcement marks a significant step toward enabling customers to realize the goal of delivering a software defined data center with SDAS. SDAS complement existing layer 2-3 network and compute-focused efforts by filling the gap in support for critical layer 4-7 services. A comprehensive set of management and control plane APIs ensures integration and interoperability with SDN and virtualization systems, as well as in the cloud.

An all-active and multi-tenant application-driven services fabric enables a flexible model for provisioning and orchestrating services that can be extended from the data center to the cloud. Combined with new licensing options, F5 Synthesis reduces the costs of delivering services so customers can increase the value of a rich and extensible set of services for all devices, networks, and applications. In support of this vision, F5 is introducing a tiered licensing model to consolidate purchasing options for its solutions and significantly reduce customer costs when application services are deployed in concert versus individually. For additional information on F5’s new pricing options, please go to:

F5’s high-performance services fabric scales to meet the needs of the most demanding environments. Deployed across hardware, software, or cloud infrastructures, the Synthesis ScaleN services fabric can support up to 1.28 million instances in a combination of administrative domains and virtual instances with a combined throughput of 20.5 TB and connection capacity of 9.2 billion—more than three times the capacity needed to manage a connection from every Internet user today across the globe.[1] A centralized management system enables the automated discovery, topology, and provisioning of service fabric instances, reducing the operational overhead associated with manual processes and enabling rapid provisioning and scale of the most comprehensive set of application services available today across device, network, and application domains. To realize the economy of scale required to enable a “no application left behind” strategy, automated provisioning and orchestration is a must. F5 Synthesis enables enterprises and service providers to seamlessly manage, scale, and automate application services with BIG-IQ™. Complementing the services fabric’s multi-tenancy is BIG-IQ’s multi-tenant approach to management, enabling organizations to move toward realizing IT as a Service (ITaaS) and the operational benefits of a software defined data center.

To further provide tangible context for customers on the company’s vision, F5 is also introducing a collection of reference architectures focused on business solutions designed to help organizations accelerate time to market and address some of IT’s most pervasive challenges. As an example, the company issued a separate press release today focused on helping organizations defend against DDoS attacks.

[1]Based on Internet user population of 2.4B:


  • Improved Service Velocity – Business stakeholders today are highly sensitive to the time it takes to deliver new services and applications to the market. Trends and technologies such as agile, DevOps, cloud, and SDN have made great strides toward meeting service velocity requirements across development, operations, and networking teams but have not adequately addressed key layer 4-7 services. F5 Synthesis fills that gap with an open and extensible framework that allows a growing ecosystem of technology partners to collaborate on comprehensive, integrated provisioning and orchestration systems that address velocity requirements across compute, network, and application services.

    F5 Synthesis reference architectures further accelerate time to market by enabling rapid service implementation for key security, cloud, and mobility challenges with detailed architectural and implementation guidance.
  • Reduced Costs and Complexity – Standardizing on an F5 service delivery platform significantly reduces operational risk and improves business continuity through comprehensive management capabilities. Within the Synthesis architectural framework, organizations can centrally deploy, manage, and orchestrate application service topologies in a consistent manner across data center and cloud environments. This results in predictable and repeatable application deployments, thereby reducing the number of manual configurations and subsequent errors, and instilling the confidence in automated deployments necessary to move forward with self-service initiatives that can further reduce operational costs.

    Because the F5 platforms composing the services fabric can be deployed on the customer’s choice of F5 hardware, any of the most popular hypervisors, or in the cloud, customers can pursue virtualization and cloud initiatives such as software defined data centers without sacrificing the reach or effectiveness of vital application services, security capabilities, and network reliability.
  • Application-Driven Elasticity – F5 technologies (such as BIG-IP®, BIG-IQ, LineRate™, Traffix™ SDC™, and Versafe™) provide customers with a number of deployment options. F5’s physical, virtual, and cloud-based solutions provide a flexible, high-performance services fabric with core capabilities focused on application requirements for reliability and scale. F5 Synthesis enables customers to move from managing traditional reliability models to a strategic, service-based approach that focuses on application-level service provisioning, automation, and orchestration that better aligns application services with business and user expectations.
  • Cloud Enablement – Organizations looking to deploy applications in the cloud are often impeded by corporate requirements around security, compliance, and performance. In the Synthesis model, F5 application services can be deployed in cloud environments and managed centrally alongside services deployed in the data center, enabling consistent deployment and enforcement of the policies governing security and performance. This capability enables organizations to confidently take advantage of the benefits cloud has to offer.
  • Programmability to Better Meet Business Needs – F5 Synthesis directly enables service automation, supports emerging application and network architectures, and enables service creation through a policy-based, customizable approach. F5 customers can leverage powerful tools like iRules®, iControl®, iCall™, iApps®, Groovy, and Node.js to configure and programmatically adjust their environments dynamically, as well as extend the intelligence of business-focused decisions beyond existing service capabilities. Customers can create, deploy, modify, and extend services quickly to address variables impacting the security, reliability, and performance of applications and networks. With an emphasis on programmability and automation, F5 empowers organizations to align services with business and user needs.


“F5 is highly aware of the shifts transforming the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market, based on ongoing dialogue with customers, partners, and industry influencers. With Synthesis, we are better aligning around the priorities and deployment preferences of enterprises and service providers to best address the direction IT is headed—billions of users, trillions of internet-connected devices, and millions of essential applications. To support this growth, we view the ability to massively scale services, elastically provision resources, and interoperate with a variety of open and proprietary platforms as non-negotiable. This announcement reflects our belief that F5 is ideally positioned to help organizations take advantage of today’s exciting and disruptive technologies, without prohibitive complexity or tradeoffs in application performance and security.”
Manny Rivelo, EVP of Strategic Solutions at F5

“Under the Synthesis umbrella, F5 is making a number of thoughtful improvements to its go-to-market efforts. The company’s approach to SDAS fits in step with the broader industry’s focus on SDN topics. With an emphasis on fabric-based networking, programmable application services, simplified purchasing options, and dedicated reference architectures, F5 is evolving its sales and marketing practices to better align with organizations’ need to rapidly and efficiently deploy, provision, and prioritize IT services.”
Zeus Kerravala, Principal Analyst at ZK Research

“Changing application environments, user expectations and network services demand that network architects expand their thinking to ensure that the network supports new and changing business requirements. They need to address five dimensions—users, applications, devices, location and activity in a framework that best supports enterprise applications, both internally and externally hosted.”
Gartner, Inc., “Focus on Five Dimensions of Network Design to Improve Performance and Save Money,” March 28, 2013 (Andrew Lerner, Mark Fabbi, and Tim Zimmerman)


F5 Synthesis and software defined application services are supported by a growing number of F5 solutions. Contact your local F5 sales office for availability of F5 technologies in specific countries.


F5 executive videos, white papers, datasheets, diagrams, and additional information on Synthesis and specific reference architectures are available through

Additional commentary on today’s news is available on F5 DevCentral™ at:

About F5

F5 (NASDAQ: FFIV) makes apps go faster, smarter, and safer for the world’s largest businesses, service providers, governments, and consumer brands. F5 delivers cloud and security solutions that enable organizations to embrace the application infrastructure they choose without sacrificing speed and control. For more information, go to You can also follow @f5networks on Twitter or visit us on LinkedIn and Facebook for more information about F5, its partners, and technologies.

F5, F5 Synthesis, software defined application services, SDAS, BIG-IP, BIG-IQ, TMOS, LineRate, ScaleN, Traffix, SDC, Versafe, iCall, iApps, iControl, DevCentral, and iRules are trademarks or service marks of F5 Networks, Inc., in the U.S. and other countries. All other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

# # #

This press release may contain forward looking statements relating to future events or future financial performance that involve risks and uncertainties. Such statements can be identified by terminology such as "may," "will," "should," "expects," "plans," "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "predicts," "potential," or "continue," or the negative of such terms or comparable terms. These statements are only predictions and actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these statements based upon a number of factors including those identified in the company's filings with the SEC.