F5 Web Site Unites VARs, Developers

The site provides quick-start guides, sample code, documentation and a discussion forum for network administrators and application developers, said Jeff Browning, iControl product manager at F5, based here.

F5's iControl, launched two years ago, enables applications to interact directly with F5 network devices through a Web services SOAP/XML interface.

Some 1,100 enterprises, ISV partners and solution providers have downloaded the iControl SDK so far, Browning said.

Also, software vendors including BEA Systems, Microsoft, Mercury Interactive, Oracle, Sanctum and webMethods have used iControl to integrate their products, he said.

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DevCentral's aim is to increase adoption of iControl, and thus, F5 hardware, Browning said. He added that he sees DevCentral as a place where networking professionals and application developers can come together.

Steve Giovannetti, founder of Hub City Media, an application development specialist in Highland Park, N.J., said iControl exposes all the functionality available to a network administrator as a programmable API. "The network engineer may still use the command line, but the application developer can now write code to manage the box or make it more aware of what's going on at the application level," he said. "We can influence the load balancing."

Hub City is partnering with Sales Strategies, a Metuchen, N.J.-based VAR and F5 partner, on iControl implementations, Giovannetti said.

Stephen Spressert, vice president of sales at Sales Strategies, said iControl and the Hub City partnership allow his company to get closer to the customer. "You have a stronger relationship when you are at the application level because the applications are solving business problems," he said.