At MMS 2012 this week, we found time to sit down with F5 Networks and learn how its BIG-IP solutions work with System Center 2012 to help organizations maximize cloud benefits and productivity. The company was demonstrating its highly regarded BIG-IP solutions for Microsoft private cloud deployments.

The focus of our conversation was the announcement of the company’s updated F5 Monitoring Pack for System Center, which helps customers optimize resource utilization by discovering available BIG-IP devices and surfacing health statistics within System Center 2012. As administrators shift the allocation of resources, the BIG-IP system is automatically updated to ensure that the network is in sync with changes to computing and storage resources.

The private cloud was the talk of the conference, and the F5 Monitoring Pack for System Center enables the key components of customers’ private cloud infrastructure to work well with each other. There’s a deep compatibility of System Center 2012 with F5’s BIG-IP platform that can help increase efficiency and reliability while helping reduce operational expenses.

According to F5, “Together, BIG-IP products and System Center 2012 provide a clear view into how applications are performing over the network. This gives customers the ability to update and optimize configurations to increase performance, scale, automation, flexibility, and security.”

BIG-IP solutions for Microsoft private cloud include:

  • F5 Monitoring Pack for System Center, which provides two-way communication between BIG-IP devices and the System Center management console. Health monitoring, failover, and configuration synchronization of BIG-IP devices, along with customized alerting, Maintenance Mode, and Live Migration, occur within the Operations Manager component of System Center.
  • The F5 Load Balancing Provider for System Center, which enables one-step, automated deployment of load balancing services through direct interoperability between the System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM) 2012 and BIG-IP devices. BIG-IP devices are managed through the System Center user interface, and administrators can custom-define load balancing services. 
  • The System Center Orchestrator, which provides F5 traffic management capabilities, takes advantage of workflows designed using the Orchestrator Runbook Designer. These custom workflows can then be published directly into System Center 2012 service catalogs and presented as a standard offering to the organization. This is made possible using the F5 iControl SDK, which gives customers the flexibility to choose a familiar development environment such as the Microsoft .NET Framework programming model or Windows PowerShell scripting.

The F5 Monitoring Pack for System Center and the F5 PRO-enabled Monitoring Pack for System Center are now available. The F5 Load Balancing Provider for System Center is available as a free download from the F5 DevCentral website. The Orchestrator component of System Center 2012 is based on F5 iControl and Windows PowerShell, and is also free.