F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) Review

Stable, performs well, and the iRules functionality is very good


What is our primary use case?

I am not the F5 administrator so I don't use all of the features. I primarily perform daily operations such as checking statistics and deploying new virtual servers.

What is most valuable?

Our deployment is not very complicated, from my point of view. The HTTP and HTTPS load balancing mechanisms are the core functionality for me. I have done things like created new virtual servers, changed the load balancing, and looked at statistics, but I have not looked into the security features, API gateways, and other features because that is the responsibility of other departments. As a pure network engineer, I think the box is performing very well.

I've worked a little bit with iRules and it is amazing. As long as you know what you're doing, it does everything you want it to do.

What needs improvement?

Technical support is somewhat slow and could be improved.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been working with F5 BIG-IP for the past two years.

How are customer service and technical support?

My experience with technical support has come from two or three tickets that I have raised over the past two years. I would rate them a six or seven out of ten. I'm not sure if my colleagues have faced the same issues, but I have experienced delays in response, especially when I opened a case for iRules. It took them about a month and a half to get me to the point.

One of the reasons it took as long was because they considered this to be a problem for professional services, and not technical support. As such, it was not marked as urgent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

F5 was the first load balancer that I worked on.

How was the initial setup?

The provisioning of the box from A to Z is of medium difficulty. It is not very complicated, nor very easy. I would rate it a seven out of ten in terms of provisioning it for the first time.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Compared to using open-source products, the prices are not cheap.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Although we are happy with F5, we are currently evaluating NGINX and Kemp LoadMaster because our F5 boxes are approaching end-of-life. We are running them as demos, conducting a PoC for each to test and see how they run in our environment. There are several things that I have yet to test with these other products.

My understanding is that the support packages and the boxes themselves are not very cheap.

If ultimately we find that the other solutions do not meet our requirements then we will be renewing our service with F5. 

What other advice do I have?

To this point, whatever we have needed has been available out-of-the-box. In our environment, we have not experienced limitations.

In summary, we are happy with the product and for me, it's ideal for HTTP and HTTPS.

Performance-wise, stability-wise, and feature-wise, I would rate this solution an eight out of ten.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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