F5 Networks: Network Virtualization: Microsoft and F5 Work Together to Empower Customers

Jeff Bellamy, Senior Director, Business Development
For more than a decade, F5 and Microsoft have collaborated to develop joint solutions that help organizations get the most value from their technology investments. Deep integration, expert deployment guidance, and a vibrant support community enable F5 products to enhance key Microsoft applications— including Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, and Lync Server—with maximum availability, performance, and security.

F5 and Microsoft are always finding new ways to enable organizations to maximize efficiency and stay ahead of the competition. For instance, the Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization (HNV) with F5 solution enables organizations to secure and optimize applications running in a virtualized network environment.

Network virtualization with Microsoft HNV and F5

Software-defined networking (SDN) is transforming the traditional data center and creating a “new reality” in which a virtual network infrastructure can be easily set up, managed, and scaled. Organizations adopt Microsoft’s SDN solution, Hyper-V Network Virtualization, because it’s policy-based and software-controlled. This eases the management burden and enhances operational flexibility and scalability to deliver a higher ROI.

However, organizations that virtualize their networks with HNV must provision a gateway between their virtualized and non-virtualized networks. In addition, in a virtualized environment, traditional security devices such as web application firewalls and intrusion prevention systems become ineffective because they don’t have visibility into encapsulated packets.

To solve this problem, organizations need a high-speed, hyper-scalable HNV gateway that also allows them to deploy a host of traditional application services—including granular security policies, application acceleration, and load balancing—on their virtualized networks. “F5 is well-positioned to further enhance the capabilities of Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure offerings to deliver greater agility, flexibility, and security to our joint customers,” says Jeff Bellamy, Senior Director, Business Development, F5.

An agile, secure, and scalable solution

F5 has collaborated with Microsoft to develop a highly scalable gateway that enables the virtualized networks in an HNV environment to communicate with non-virtualized networks and the Internet.
In addition, an F5 plug-in enables the command center and brains of the virtual network—Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM)—to instruct the F5® BIG-IP® system about network policy changes. With this level of granular control over their virtualized networks, organizations can maintain a robust security posture, increase efficiency by managing network resources, and prepare for growth with seamless scalability.

Bridging virtual and physical networks

Large organizations and government agencies often manage hundreds of distinct child networks across their organizations. But, bringing these networks together in a traditional data center could cause IP address conflicts and confusion. By decoupling virtual networks from the physical network infrastructure— and removing the constraint to assign hierarchical IP address when provisioning virtual machines (VMs)—organizations can now easily move VMs into and out of cloud networks without manually reconfiguring IP addresses. One powerful use case involves acquisitions in which an organization running a virtualized network can quickly and seamlessly onboard an acquired company’s existing networks and application suites.

F5 is well-positioned to further enhance the capabilities of Microsoft's cloud infrastructure offerings to deliver greater agility, flexibility and security to our joint customers

Continuing the legacy of the F5-Microsoft collaboration to help organizations achieve their operational goals, the Microsoft HNV with F5 solution provides the gateway they need. It also enables organizations to harness the full power of the BIG-IP system—which includes a robust suite of application services that can keep virtualized networks running efficiently—and to securely deliver the application services users demand.

F5 Networks

Seattle, WA

Jeff Bellamy, Senior Director, Business Development

Provides solutions for an application world. The company helps organizations successfully deliver applications to anyone, anywhere, at any time