Application delivery is changing. At the risk of using buzzwords, it is being transformed – digitally. Continuous delivery has become the norm for DevOps (71 per cent plan on implementing, according to a study conducted by F5 and RedHat – NetOps Meets DevOps: The State of Network Automation), and continuous deployment must follow if business is to succeed in the era of Application Capital.

While 73 per cent of organisations plan on pursuing continuous deployment, nearly half of them have yet to begin. A staggering 42 per cent have yet to automate a single component of the continuous deployment pipeline (according to a study conducted by F5 and RedHat – NetOps Meets DevOps: The State of Network Automation). 

The divide between delivery and deployment is real. It can be seen in theory in surveys and in practice in the chasm that exists between cloud and data centre. It’s seen within organisations in the wall that brings continuous delivery to a halt where it meets sort-of continuous deployment.

It’s also seen in technology, where a very real gap in visibility arises from the disconnected application delivery chain. It’s seen in the inability to monitor and measure application performance in multi-cloud environments. And it’s seen in an inability to consistently deploy and enforce security policies across the multi-generational application portfolio currently under management by thousands of enterprise organisations.

Increasingly we’ve watched that divide widen with the adoption of modern, cloud-native applications and architectures. Even those applications that remain tethered to the data centre are impacted. Whether that impact is new approaches or new application services to answer the need of security and scale in modern, cloud-native environments, one thing is clear: application delivery has to change and bridge the divide between DevOps and NetOps if it is going to address the need for consistency and visibility in a multi-cloud world.

The world of DevOps is increasingly built on open source. As NGINX CEO Gus Robertson, wrote in his recent blog, “If software is eating the world, then open source is eating software.”

Applications themselves are mainly developed today from third-party components, a majority of them open source. Application infrastructure is increasingly built from open source components. From web servers to app servers, databases to ingress control, messaging to container runtimes and orchestration. IT operations are driven by open source tools like Puppet, Chef, Terraform, Helm, Kubernetes, and Ansible. These technologies are adopted because they answer multiple challenges: fast, frequent delivery and deployment along with a frictionless business model. They also encourage collaboration and innovation when entire organisations move to standardise on open source-based operations.

None of that is possible without the passionate communities of developers who work tirelessly to improve their open source solutions.

At F5, we appreciate the value of such communities. In a comparable example, our DevCentral community is based on collaborative innovation, guided by many of the same principles that drive open source projects. Code sharing and knowledge transfers across the community help the hundreds of thousands of members innovate and create new capabilities for our BIG-IP platform. With those solutions come new extensions, plug-ins, and libraries for open source projects like Puppet and Chef and node.js.

Our own transformation makes extensive use of open source

We actively participate, encourage, and support these efforts to enhance our own products and the open source software that our customers and the community rely on to keep their businesses running.

Still, many of you – especially in the NGINX open source community – don’t know F5 very well. We also recognise that gives you reason to be sceptical. That’s understandable. To date, our interaction with open source has largely remained behind the scenes.

That said, our own transformation makes extensive use of open source to drive our CI/CD pipeline and our products as we shift our focus from application delivery to application services.

We are constantly interacting with open source, and our core engineers a tively contribute to loopback.io and nats.io. Our Aspen Mesh arm consumes and contributes regularly to istio.io and has generated several related open source projects we maintain such as istio-vet, istio-client-go, and tracing-go. We develop and maintain a set of open source modules for Ansible.

We don’t shout about it much because we don’t contribute to score marketing points – we contribute because it’s the right thing to do for us, for our customers, and for each of the communities that steward open source projects.

To bridge the divide that keep the enterprise from realising continuous IT, the right thing to do now is to amplify and accelerate the mission of some of the most widely adopted open source components in the application delivery stack.

F5 intends to increase investment to amplify and accelerate the NGINX mission. By bringing together F5 and NGINX, we can enable enterprises with an end-to-end, consistent set of application services to address one of IT’s most pressing needs: fast, frequent deployments across various application architectures residing in multiple cloud properties. Doing that successfully depends on NGINX remaining open source and driven in large part by the community that built it.

NGINX has done an incredible job in shepherding its open source software and community to date. It’s one of the things that attracted us. As we look into a future both NGINX and F5 believe will be driven and shaped by applications, we see both the need and the opportunity to amplify and accelerate development and innovation in the NGINX stack.

We look forward to learning from these communities and working together toward a future that is built on a shared passion for applications and their flawless delivery.

On Thursday, May 30, F5 together with their Malta based affiliates, eWorld Limited will be hosting a half day, technical seminar to showcase F5 latest solutions aimed at making multi-cloud transition easier and smoother. The event will be held at the Corinthia Palace Hotel, Attard, commencing with a networking breakfast and ending with a networking lunch. The seminar will discuss the future of the applications and attendees will be shown demos on API security, cloud native application development and service mesh, as well as automation and orchestration. Attendance is complimentary.

Lori MacVittie, Principal Threat Evangelists, F5 Networks

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