F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) Review

Helps us recognize sessions from certain IPs that are authorized to manage our application

What is our primary use case?

We use it as an LTM and as a reverse proxy to publish web services.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps us recognize sessions from certain IPs that are authorized to manage the application. This is a function we haven't found anywhere else.

What is most valuable?

The most helpful thing is that it's open-source. It's very easy to program and customize.

What needs improvement?

Logging is a bit of a problem. Logging and monitoring are only in plain text. You have to search and you have to know what you are searching for to find anything. So of course, monitoring and getting alerts for abnormal situations is hard. There are no tools for monitoring and alerts. If you have problems and you need to diagnose them, you really have to know what you're looking for in order to find it.

Logging and monitoring could be something out-of-the-box that are more accessible.

For how long have I used the solution?

Three to five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability is one of the advantages. It's very stable.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We haven't bumped into scalability issues. The limitation is actually through licensing. Throughput is limited by licensing. We had an error with the license and we reached the limit but we fixed that. But there has never been trouble with the capacity or scalability.

How are customer service and technical support?

I have never used technical support directly. I use F5 through integration services and there were a few times they didn't know how to resolve an issue and they had to turn to support. But there were answers every time.

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

We used Microsoft Gateway called CMG. This product was end-of-life, they decided to kill the product. We switched because there is no other solution that does the same thing.

How was the initial setup?

It was complex compared to the Microsoft system. But after we learned the product and understood how it works, it worked seamlessly.

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

We only use a fraction of the capabilities of F5. There are different modules that we have heard others speak highly of, but we don't want to use them locally. It's an on-premise server. For example, there is a WAF (web application firewall) model and others that we don't use. 

It's not a cheap product, but there are no other replacements for what we do with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We checked other options, but nothing could deliver the solution we need.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise excessive testing before moving to production. It's a new product, it's a "language." You have to learn the product thoroughly before you really can implement it.

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