F5 Launches 'Biggest Refresh' Opportunity For Partners In Years With New iSeries Platform

F5 Networks said its new BIG-IP iSeries line of application delivery controllers would help solution providers drive a high volume of product refreshes within their enterprise customers.

"This is the biggest refresh we have done in years and provides a tremendous opportunity for partners to go back to their current install base," said David Helfer, vice president of worldwide channels for F5, in an interview with CRN.

The Seattle-based vendor's flagship BIG-IP application delivery controller platform is expanding with iSeries, which it calls a "software-defined hardware platform."

The description refers to the inherent flexibility of the platform, which Helfer said allows enterprises to tailor their systems for all kinds of evolving infrastructure needs, enabling them to dynamically manage, secure and optimize the flow of traffic between end users and the physical or virtual servers providing the data or applications they're using.

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"iSeries brings massive scalability and performance improvements through its software-defined hardware platform," said Rich Fennessy, CEO of Kudelski Security, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based F5 channel partner. Holt said the new product should help "catapult a new era of growth and expansion" at F5.

"Not only are we going with a new product, but we're also helping our customers with great data, and analytics, around some of their installed bases and also a prospector tool to identify those net new customers that would be an ideal fit for iSeries," said Helfer.

F5 also unveiled the expansion of its software portfolio including three components that help provide better cloud connectivity, application security and applications delivery.

The company's new Application Services Proxy provides basic load balancing and application traffic visibility. That gives organizations flexibility in developing, testing and scaling applications along with services for cloud and container environments, according to Helfer.

Additionally, the company has created Container Connector offerings to enable the provisioning of services for containerized applications, making it simple to integrate capabilities from management and orchestration systems, he said.

Finally, the company also debuted a new Application Connector aimed at simplifying access to enterprise applications hosted in the public cloud, while also providing the security and services those apps require.

In addition to the list of new application delivery controllers and components, Helfer said F5 wants to help partners boost their iSeries sales by providing professional services assistance.

"For iSeries sales, we're helping them not only in incentives for making sales, but we're also bundling in some professional services to help and assist [partners], and the professional services are from us to the partners only," said Helfer. "It's a great opportunity to complement them."

The application delivery specialist also unveiled an enhanced partnership with the global data center giant Equinix. F5 is offering access to application delivery, security and cloud services through the Equinix Cloud Exchange. Additionally, F5 has combined its cloud gateway with Equinix Performance Hub to provide customers a hybrid interconnection model allowing for high-speed and low-latency connectivity between multiple cloud providers and enterprise networks, said Helfer.

"This is for companies needing management of security for those mission-critical apps that are transitioning to the cloud," said Helfer. "This partnership provides that service delivery in a co-location environment that I think a lot of our partners have relationships with Equinix as well in that environment."

BIG-IP iSeries platforms are currently available for partners to sell as well as the offerings from F5 and Equinix. F5's Application Services Proxy, Container Connector and Application Connector technologies will become available shortly, according to the company.