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Automation and orchestration of application and infrastructure services is critical to the long term success of data center models that rely on software-defined precepts such as cloud and highly virtualized environments and even virtual networking.  The ability to orchestrate workflows that encapsulate the deployment of applications is an important step in the journey toward cloud and highly automated data centers.

vCenter Orchestrator (vCO) enables the encapsulation and execution of such workflows and simplifies provisioning by serving as a centralized software-defined management console, directing the provisioning of the many services required to support an application by enabling integration of those services through APIs.

One such set of application services is provided by F5 Networks.  F5 offers a robust set of software-defined application services (SDAS) spanning security, performance, identity and access management and availability.  While many may be familiar with availability services such as load balancing, F5 offers many additional application services that can help address the many challenges faced by customers, including those that emerge when moving to cloud or hybrid cloud architectures such as the need for cloud identity federation, performance, and location-based application routing.  DDoS protection, web application security, web fraud detection and mobility services are among the growing list of application services that are supported across F5’s portfolio.

F5 application services share a common service platform that enables automation, orchestration and programmability for all F5 application services.  This common platform enables the use of executable templates, called iApps, to speed application service provisioning and management.

Through F5 BIG-IQ Cloud – which serves as an orchestration control point between vCO and F5 BIG-IP application delivery systems – these application-driven iApps can be easily provisioned to F5’s high performance service fabric.  Integration with VMware vCO is accomplished transparently via an API, via BIG-IQ Cloud, ensuring a seamless vCO operational experience for administrators, operators and application owners.

The latest version of F5’s vCO plug-in (version 2.0) is now available, and it brings improved statistics handling for monitoring application health and status as well as new workflows to improve usability.  vCO integration is now accomplished via an F5 REST API, providing for a more consistent operational environment with VMware management products.

The continuing evolution and integration of application and application network services from partners like F5 with VMware management products ensures that our joint customers can realize the benefits of automation and orchestration to execute on their SDDC initiatives.

Find Out More with these resources:

VMware Solution Exchange: F5 Networks Management Plug-in for vCenter Orchestrator

F5 DevCentral Blog: Automating application delivery with BIG-IP and VMware vCenter Orchestrator

F5 DevCentral Blog: VMware vCenter Orchestrator plug-in – Version 2.0

White Paper: vCenter Orchestrator Automates F5 BIG-IP Platform