F5 BIG-IP Review

Has helped us to intelligently reach all of the client connections across all of the servers fairly quickly but the setup should be easier


What is our primary use case?

F5 has performed marvelously. It certainly holds in value and holds its name.

How has it helped my organization?

We're able to do load balancing and global load balancing. When you marry those two products together, you can do a lot more. We're able to deliver our applications more securely and faster. It has improved our deliverability where we have more service across the shared data centers. We can intelligently reach all of those client connections across all of the servers and do it fairly quickly. It has helped improve our application delivery and performance.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see improvement in the manageability and easier setup. 

They need to have features that you can turn on and spin up and not have to buy a license for. I'd want to be able to quickly spin up a feature and start using it and then come back and pay for it later. Citrix has them beat on that. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

F5s are rock solid. I've seen them deploy in major data centers and they're rock solid.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability is similar to Citrix NetScaler where you can pay as you grow. It doesn't have the feature which you can just turn on. You have to buy into it, then you have to wait for the license, and then you have to wait to have somebody to pay for it. You can't deploy quickly.

How are customer service and technical support?

F5 technical support is good. They have a lot of good people there. Once you get into the area of expertise that you need help with, those people are very good at helping with the problem. Every time I call in, I go right to tech support and they're really good help. 

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup can be complex but it's not because of the F5 itself. It's because of your own network. You can get in your own way. What makes it complex is the fact that you have to stand back and figure out the configuration. F5 is there to help you with that and give you some idea on where to place it and what to do. Some of that also falls underneath the realm of managed services or just services in general. They start you with a brand new spiffy product, but you're left with the migration process. 

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

They are expensive. 

What other advice do I have?

I would rate this solution a seven out of ten. Not a ten because of the usability and a manageability. I've had to send somebody to F5 University to get trained, whereas with the Citrix NetScaler I don't necessarily have to send them out to training. I was able to pick up NetScaler right away. Whereas, F5, if you have it, you should probably get trained on it because it's a little more esoteric. 

Everybody wants the best of a name brand. If F5 was like a Tesla, would you want to buy a Tesla or a Toyota? They're both big name brands, but when you hear Tesla, you know exactly what that is; it's the futuristic top-of-the-line electric car. If you can afford a Tesla, then buy the Tesla but if you can't afford a Tesla, and you want something that's going to get you from point A to point B at a halfway decent price, go with Citrix.

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