F5 BIG-IP Review

It integrates with Oracle PeopleSoft. They could improve the synchronization between their main site and the failover site.


What is our primary use case?

My team uses F5 for two main purposes. The first purpose is load balancing. F5 is very good at load balancing. It allows you to set up monitors so it can easily detect if the systems' load balancing is actually up. In addition, we use F5 for intrusion detection on some externally facing pieces of the applications that I support.

What is most valuable?

We like the capability to combine the content switching with the intrusion prevention and adding the security roles, so we can expose certain sub-pieces outside without exposing everything.

Another feature that we like is how they integrate nicely with the Oracle PeopleSoft application, and since that's one of my main focuses, I really like that they have the built-in integration.

What needs improvement?

I have been really happy with what they have been doing.

They could improve the synchronization between their main site and the failover site. Sometimes, we run into issues where it does not sync well, so I would like to see that improved.

The synchronization does works fairly well. However, if I were to make changes,  I would make it easier to start the sync process. For example, once you get the changes pending you have to click inside to tell it to sync. It would be nice if it would offer a button to click on for the sync if it is only going one direction. Another feature which would be nice in a sync is to have the ability to compare if there are changes on both sides, and if there are conflicts, it would allow you to choose which to apply. Otherwise, it would sync both directions at the same time.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any major downtime. The solution comes with a high availability situation, and I've never seen a situation where it was down, because even when you do the patch, you patch one side and then the other, and so always one side at least is up. I haven't noticed it to be down.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It is a scalable solution. I think it will meet our future requirements. We started using it when Cisco announced that they were no longer doing their content switch and we've been implementing it a lot. It's one of the current focuses that our company is doing in the infrastructure side of things.

How is customer service and technical support?

Customer Service:

I usually go via the online support, which is very good.

Technical Support:

They have been very quick to respond to all of the needs that we've had. If you want ad-hoc support. They also provide professional services that you can purchase as well.

How was the initial setup?

I got involved after the initial setup was done, so I can't say if that was complex or not. The pieces that we're doing where we're setting up content switches and stuff like that, that seems to be really straightforward. I didn't even have to take training to work on it!

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

I have not actually used any of the competitor products.

What other advice do I have?

I would recommend that they really look at it. It's a good product. It really helps. Initially, I would also recommend that they consider using some consulting help from their firm to get it set up, because like I said, I wasn't involved there, but I know we did use that.

When I look to work with a vendor like this, I look for vendors that are responsive, certainly ones that have a good reputation, and ones that when you get their products, they actually do what they tell you they're going to do.

I rated F5 Big-IP three and a half stars, because I seldom rate anything five stars. The F5 interface is easy to use, but not everything is intuitive. Some training is necessary to understand how everything works together.

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