What is F5 Distributed Cloud Services?

F5® Distributed Cloud Services are SaaS-based security, networking, and application management services that can be deployed across multi-cloud, on-premises, and edge locations.

As enterprises embark on digital and autonomous transformation, they are adopting multiple cloud providers to consume best of breed platform services and moving their applications closer to end-users or machines that are generating enormous amounts of data. Our mission is to enable customers to harness the power of this distributed applications and data with our platform for distributed cloud services. This platform provides the ability to build, deploy, secure, and operate applications and data across multi-cloud or edge.

The F5 Distributed Cloud operates a SaaS service to provide application management, infrastructure, and secure connectivity services across distributed customer sites in public cloud, private cloud, or edge sites. F5 Distributed Cloud operates its own infrastructure with global points of presence (PoPs) and private backbone that is used to provide secure connectivity across distributed sites.

hl overview
Figure: F5 Distributed Cloud Offerings
  1. VoltKit to build distributed and resilient microservices - VoltKit is a framework to build a golang microservice with a schema-first design approach. It includes all the tooling to automatically generate client, server, test and documentation from the schema and a runtime for API handling, security and storage of these objects in a database. VoltKit is on the roadmap to be available over the next few months.

  2. F5® Distributed Cloud App Stack to deploy applications across distributed clusters - Using a distributed control plane running in F5 Distributed Cloud global infrastructure, App Stack delivers a logically centralized cloud across multiple sites that can be managed using industry-standard Kubernetes APIs. This control plane removes the overhead of managing individual Kubernetes clusters and allows the customer to automate application deployment, scaling, security, secrets/keys, and operations. In addition to application management, App Stack also provides complete infrastructure management for heterogeneous cloud and edge environments.

  3. F5® Distributed Cloud Mesh to connect and secure distributed microservices or legacy applications - Using a proxy-based and zero-trust architecture, Mesh delivers a range of connectivity and security services like anycast, global load balancing, VPNs, routing, network security, DDoS protection, service discovery, application load balancing, API request routing, and API security. These services can all be controlled using unified identity and policy to securely connect application clusters within a single cloud location, across cloud locations or providers, across edge and cloud, and to/from the public internet.

  4. F5® Distributed Cloud Console to operate distributed environment - Using a SaaS portal, customers can provision services, obtain global observability, centralize logs and metrics, and create customized dashboards. The Console provides APIs that can be used for automation or integration with external services like Datadog, Splunk, etc.

App Stack and Mesh services may be consumed in public/private clouds, edge locations by deploying Nodes. In addition to consuming these services in your sites, it is also possible to consume these services entirely from F5 Distributed Cloud global infrastructure without the need to deploy any Node. The global points of presence (PoPs) are interconnected using a dedicated and redundant private backbone, multiple transit and peering connections for direct connectivity across multiple cloud providers, enterprise cloud and edge locations, and telecom operators. These PoPs serve three purposes:

  1. Provide customers security, reliability, and connectivity services for their applications - from the public internet, across multiple cloud providers, or from edge to cloud

  2. Give customers the capability to offload high performance or latency-sensitive workloads

  3. A globally distributed control plane for F5 Distributed Cloud software running on the customer’s edge or cloud site

network enablement
Figure: Network Enablement of Mesh and App Stack

The picture above depicts an end to end view of how App Stack and Mesh services can be enabled within a single cloud, across multiple clouds, across multiple edge sites, and/or within F5 Distributed Cloud global infrastructure.