Guest Blog by F5 Networks: Where’s the (Infrastructure) Beef?

From the Dynamic Data Center Alliance Blog:


By Lori Mac Vitte, Technical Marketing Manager

The often touted benefits of "saving money" and "reducing expenses" associated with virtualization and cloud computing are often discussed in the context of reduction or elimination of servers. The softer savings associated with both technologies are rarely mentioned, perhaps because they are intangibles and peculiar to the organization.  These savings can be as substantial, however, as the hard dollars saved through consolidation or leveraging of cloud computing providers when virtualization capabilities move from the test lab into the production data center.

The dynamic nature of virtualization capabilities herald a new, more efficient data center that exhibits stronger fault tolerance and improved deployment procedures. Microsoft's Dynamic Infrastructure Toolkit for System Center (DIT-SC) is designed to help customers realize the benefits of a dynamic infrastructure. These benefits can be further increased when efficiencies extend into the operational processes that keep the data center running day after day, such as those encompassing network and application delivery network infrastructure solutions.

Realizing Higher Benefits with Leaner Provisioning Processes

F5's partnership with Microsoft will extend dynamic virtualization capabilities into the network. After all, if the network is not in sync with virtual images being created and/or moved on-demand, you've only got a partially dynamic data center, and probably only seeing half the benefits. By integrating with System Center Operations Manager 2008 R2 & Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2, F5 enables the same fluidity and flexibility enjoyed by servers, operating systems, and applications today.

DIT-SC is a free, partner-extensible toolkit that provides a framework for creating agile, virtualized IT infrastructures. F5 is doing just that by building on its proven, standards-based control plane, iControl, to integrate via PowerShell to enable customer control and efficiency into the application delivery tier of their virtualized architectures. Using DIT-SC customers can integrate the provisioning of application delivery services such as load balancing for rapid elasticity and automatic scalability.

Providing Complete Network Nutrition Information for More Informed Decisions

You can't choose a healthy meal without nutritional information on hand and the data center is no different; you can't make the best scalability and application delivery decisions without the right information. The "nutritional content" of the infrastructure provided to System Center allows the most efficient decisions based on current conditions across the delivery chain - from user to infrastructure to application. 

F5's integration with DIT-SC provides System Center with the network and application network data necessary for informed decisions including factors that may affect the availability and performance of virtualized applications. For example, using System Center Operations Manager with Virtual Machine Manager and F5's PRO-enabled Management Pack, customers can execute a script that re-provisions F5 BIG-IP to place a newly launched VM into an application pool - enabling it to start receiving end-user requests. While BIG-IP does not make the decision to launch the VM, the decision can be based on BIG-IP provided network, pool, and pool member state data. When invoked, the script executes a series of normally manually executed tasks automatically, moving customers toward a more dynamic - and ultimately both operationally and financially efficient - infrastructure.

By collaborating with Microsoft on extending the DIT-SC for load balancing and scalability services, F5 is enabling the dynamic data center to achieve greater efficiency of operational processes and more effectively control and manage the entire application delivery process.

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