Tuesday, February 27, 2024

F5’s multi-cloud networking capabilities simplify operations for distributed application deployments – Help Net Security

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F5 announced multi-cloud networking (MCN) capabilities to extend application and security services across one or more public clouds, hybrid deployments, native Kubernetes environments, and edge sites.

F5 Distributed Cloud Services are differentiated in providing connectivity and security at both the network and application layers. As an overlay across separate cloud provider offerings (including native cloud services), Distributed Cloud Services let F5 customers easily integrate network operations, application performance optimization and troubleshooting, and visibility through a single management console.

According to F5’s just released 2023 State of Application Strategy (SOAS) Report, 85% of organizations operate distributed application deployments, spanning traditional and modern architectures and multiple hosting environments. However, these distributed deployments add operational complexity and cost, obscure visibility, and increase the surface area for potential cyberattacks.

F5 delivers a platform-based approach that is cloud-agnostic and purpose-built to meet the needs of traditional and modern apps—all without increasing complexity or losing granular control and necessary visibility. Specifically, this introduction of Distributed Cloud App Connect and Distributed Cloud Network Connect unlocks enhanced MCN use cases.

New distributed cloud services simplify app connectivity

Traditional network design and infrastructure models are unable to accommodate the demands of modern apps and the digital experiences they provide, largely because newer microservices-based apps rely on distributed Kubernetes cluster services and APIs, and are not constrained to a single cloud location or even a single cloud provider.

Per the 2023 SOAS Report, the top-rated multi-cloud challenges are managing the complexity of associated tools and APIs, applying consistent security across apps, and optimizing app performance. To properly address these challenges, a more comprehensive approach to secure MCN is required—one that provides:

  • An integrated service stack that addresses both layer 3 transit and layer 7 app-to-app service networking between clouds and distributed applications to minimize complexity and increase agility.
  • End-to-end security for both networking between clouds/locations and for the protection of the workloads being connected, with unified policy controls for faster response to evolving threats.
  • Cloud-agnostic orchestration for application discovery, networking, and security, as well as for end-to-end private connectivity.
  • Granular control of app-to-app communications for modern apps with embedded app security.

“Secure app-to-app connectivity is obviously a goal for every digital organization, but how this is achieved has become increasingly important,” said Michael Rau, SVP and GM, F5 Distributed Cloud Platform and Security Services. “The proliferation of cloud and hybrid architectures has coincided with the rise of microservices and API-heavy distributed applications—all of which contribute complexity and diminish visibility. Distributed Cloud Services greatly expand our ability to serve customers’ hybrid and multi-cloud use cases, providing unparalleled agility and security for global infrastructure and app environments.”

F5 is uniquely positioned to deliver necessary enabling technologies for MCN by connecting and securing any app and any API anywhere, ensuring fast network-to-network and workload-to-workload connectivity across different cloud locations, data centers, hybrid environments, and enterprise edge sites.

In the year since the introduction of Distributed Cloud Services, F5 has continued to expand the capabilities delivered as SaaS and managed services, including the recent addition of Distributed Cloud App Infrastructure Protection. This announcement furthers the reach of Distributed Cloud Services through the following new SaaS offerings:

Distributed Cloud App Connect provides an integrated stack approach through a single console to combine comprehensive app networking with full app security, faster provisioning, and ease of use.

  • Advanced app networking services including load balancing, API gateway, ingress/egress control, and end-to-end visibility.
  • Automated or one-click provisioning of additional web application and API protection (WAAP) services such as web application firewall, DDoS, bot mitigation, and API security.
  • Native Kubernetes integration with fine-grained control on app-to-app and even specific API-to-API communications without exposing the underlying network, greatly reducing security risks and increasing speed of app delivery.

Distributed Cloud Network Connect makes it highly secure and simple to deploy connectivity across cloud locations and cloud providers.

  • Automated provisioning and orchestration of cloud provider connectivity services to reduce management complexity and increase visibility.
  • Secure connectivity and extensibility with intent-based micro-segmentation and service insertion of third-party network functions virtualization (NFV).
  • Optional fully private F5 Global Network to optimize app performance and provide high-speed private connectivity to public cloud providers.

“Enterprises’ cloud strategies are evolving from multiple apps spread across multiple clouds to true multi-cloud architectures with distributed workloads. That will require cloud and network architects to design their multi-cloud networks to provide both network- and application-layer connectivity,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst, ZK Research. “F5 has long been a leader in application networking, and their Distributed Cloud Services provide a fully integrated set of layer 3–7 services for securely connecting across clouds and workloads, even those deployed at the edge or branch office.”

“Our clients have begun embracing the concept of distributing workloads and entire applications across different cloud providers, as well as hybrid architectures that include data centers or edge locations,” said Colin Williams, Business CTO, Networking & Security, Computacenter UK. “With that strategy comes the challenge of reducing infrastructure complexity across multiple and varied environments, especially when connecting both networks and applications while maintaining consistent security and visibility. F5 Distributed Cloud Services provide easy-to-use SaaS-based multi-cloud networking to help our clients quickly and securely connect their distributed cloud instances and workloads.”

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