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Following through on the virtualization strategy it announced two years ago at 2009’s VMworld, F5 Networks is launching new products that enable faster long-distance live migration between data centers and enhanced desktop virtualization. 

In collaboration with VMware and EMC, F5 is introducing the third version of its BIG-IP technology to accelerate and simplify the migration of virtual
applications between geographically-dispersed data centers. Since its unveiling at VMworld 2009, 
F5’s line of BIG-IP products have been interoperable with products including VMware
vSphere, vMotion and Storage vMotion.

F5’s technology enables customers to
distribute application deployments across multiple data centers to gain
benefits including increased infrastructure resilience, greater availability, and
improved end-user performance. According to Phil de la Motte, senior business development manager at F5
Networks, the addition of the
ability to use vMotion-based data centers without requiring a stretched Layer 2
network is a key differentiator for F5.

“We actually do vMotion over a routed
network, which is little known to most people out in the world, that vSphere
does and has for some time supported routed vMotion,” said de la Motte.

F5 has also done extensive testing
on EMC’s VPLEX Metro storage platform. That platform enables customers to run
active-active storage between two data centers with the ability to synchronize
and replicate with both data centers operating in active mode.

“This essentially eliminates the prior need
to move storage through the vMotion from one side to the other,” de la Motte

According to de la Motte, it’s ideal for
customers that want a better disaster recovery solution, but it also allows
them to move virtual machines out of their data center. If a disaster looms,
virtual machines can be migrated out of the main data center to the secondary
data center. It’s also useful for capacity planning, he said.

F5 also introduced a new iApp template, following up on its announcement of
support of VMware View and its App Delivery Controller v11 product. The template provides F5’s knowledge base on moving virtual
machines to assure that
availability and performance will be identical to what it was prior to the move,
said Ken Salchow, senior manager for technical marketing and syndication at F5
Networks. With the iApp template, customers or channel partners can make their
migrations are consistent and repeatable.

“What iApps is, is it’s a framework as a
way to create templates that are very application-centric,” Salchow said.

It makes it much quicker to deploy
solutions with mechanisms in place for scalability and performance, he said.

The last of F5’s VMworld announcements — enhanced
single namespace capabilities for VMware View– was driven by customer demand, de la Motte said. This capability helps customers manage user
access to a globally distributed virtual desktop infrastructure. With F5 BIG-IP
products, customers can access View desktops from a single shared namespace for
simplified access to virtual desktops running on View.

Additionally, the single namespace
capabilities also provide simplified access to other clients, including Apple
iPad, Microsoft Windows 7 and zero-client platforms.

To do this, the technology identifies
people geographically and routes them to the nearest corporate physical data
center, keeping latency down and granting easy access to virtual desktops
running on View. BIG-IP still applies corporate usage policies even when
traveling internationally.

According to de la Motte, the real beauty
of the technology is it’s so simple that can anyone can use it.