Ovum attended the F5 Networks analyst conference in Chicago in August 2016 to get an update and overview. F5 is an almost $2bn annual business with strong positions in application management, but it’s going through its own transition with the return of its former CEO. It has also made new investments in some of the newest and hottest service areas in enterprise and service provider markets. Hopefully, with this internal transition and strong positioning in key technologies and service provider markets, F5 will deliver the growth expected from its investments.
Leveraging its strong base with solutions for an application world
F5’s strong enterprise customer base in the data center and its market share, along with its key investments, will allow it to move beyond load-balancing services and the enterprise data center to the applications and hybrid cloud environment between data centers. F5’s current products and services give it the visibility of application workloads that will provide some major advantages as customers move to new hybrid cloud environments and increasingly find the need for both private and public cloud resources. One could argue that as enterprise customers need to create these new hybrid cloud architectures, F5 can provide the same visibility and control in the data center to the emerging global interconnected cloud environments, with many cloud providers, private data centers, and next-generation workloads. Orchestration of these resources, control, and detailed visibility of the application performance will have to be part of any deployment of critical enterprise applications.
Enterprise base is just part of the story
Ovum was aware of the enterprise base of customers that F5 has and its work in the private data center environment and some of its business with mobile operators. But a big part of F5’s future growth strategy and new investment is the work related to service providers (especially tier-1 mobile operators) and providing services that support virtualized SDN/NFV-enabled platforms. During some of the one-on-one meetings, it was clear that F5 was involved with major global carriers in many trials and proofs of concept for these emerging services that will require monitoring, control, and maintenance options. Ovum looks forward to seeing more progress and future revenue from service providers with specific use cases and public announcements of which providers are leveraging F5 technology as they move to their new SDN/NFV-based managed services. These new services are forcing service providers to look beyond the network layer and provide improved application performance, which plays to F5’s new focus on the application world.
Article by Mike Sapien, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Services