& cplSiteName &

F5 Gets Into Policy Enforcement

Craig Matsumoto
LR Mobile News Analysis
Craig Matsumoto
2/7/2013
50%
50%

F5 Networks Inc. is getting more serious about policy control, seeing it as a way to get more involved with helping mobile operators create new services such as premium access. The BIG-IP Policy Enforcement Manager (PEM), due to be announced Tuesday, is applicable to any network, but F5 is emphasizing its utility in mobile networks, partly because the company thinks it can tap mobile operators' rising interest in value-added services and in network functions virtualization (NFV). The fact that Mobile World Congress is coming up might be a factor, too, but there's no doubt policy-based services are important to mobile operators. Some customers have been adding policy functions to BIG-IP hardware or software by using iRules, F5's scripting language. But these weren't particularly sophisticated policy applications: They comprise things such as lists of URLs that needed special treatment, says Sean Duggan, an F5 director of product management. So, now, F5 wants to offer more complex policy enforcement as a product, making it an option in the intelligent services framework. That's the general term for F5's combination of services -- including firewalls, domain name services (DNS) and network-address translation (NAT) -- that can be packed onto one platform. It's now also starting to include elements of Service Provider Information Technology (SPIT). PEM is a Policy and Charging Enforcement Function (PCEF), putting F5 in competition with Allot Communications Ltd., Sandvine Inc. and Cisco Systems Inc. PEM monitors traffic and applies policy accordingly -- making sure a gold-package user gets the promised level of access, for instance. Asked via email whether deep packet inspection (DPI) is involved (a PCEF can involve DPI but doesn't have to), F5 answered indirectly, saying PEM can "identify applications and protocols that are being used in the network," as Product Marketing Manager Misbah Mahmoodi describes it. A PCEF has to work with a Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF), and Mahmoodi points out F5 has completed interoperability testing with other vendors' PCRFs. Asked whether F5 might offer its own PCRF eventually, Mahmoodi replies that F5 "will continue to leverage its strong partnerships with PCRF vendors in service provider deployments." So, what would make F5's PCEF any more worthy than those already on the market? F5 says it can offer PEM to its installed base as a software add-on, rather than adding another box to the network. F5 also points out it can augment PEM with the other capabilities the company already provides. One would be the ability to steer traffic, letting operators offer services without having to send all traffic to the requisite network elements. Take the example of video optimization. Early architectures have all the traffic going through, say, a video optimizer, even though maybe 6 to 10 percent of the traffic can actually be helped by the video optimizer. F5's framework could siphon that "6-to-10 percent of the traffic that the video optimization system can add value to," Duggan says. PEM can also tie to network functions virtualization (NFV), because BIG-IP can ask the network to add more processors or memory to a particular task. In other words, it tells an orchestration system to spin up more virtual machines. In its London technology center, F5 is demonstrating that capability in conjunction with Skyfire Inc., and the company expects to bring that demo to Mobile World Congress. In the demo, PEM notices when video traffic increases, and it tells the orchestration system to generate virtual instances of the Skyfire engine, then withdraw them down when usage decreases. For more

— Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading
(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Craig Matsumoto
50%
50%
Craig Matsumoto,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/11/2013 | 4:12:45 PM
re: F5 Gets Into Policy Enforcement
Policy is important, but SDN is going to steal the F5 headlines ... looks like they acquired LineRate Systems today.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 19, 1:00PM EDT
Securing a Virtual World
Rita Marty, Executive Director, Mobility and Cloud Security, Chief Security Office, AT&T
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: SDN/NFV Pose New Interconnection Possibilities

9|28|16   |   04:37   |   (0) comments


Network operators should develop new APIs and business processes for reselling virtual assets to each other, says CenturyLink's Bill Walker. That will enable them to build digital business portfolios that help them avoid becoming commodity transport providers.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Overcoming Terror of Being Supplier, Integrator & Developer

9|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Travis Ewert of Level 3 Communications said there is terror in becoming supplier, integrator and developer, but it can be overcome and be cost effective.
LRTV Custom TV
Introducing IoT World News

9|27|16   |   01:43   |   (0) comments


Self-driving cars, medical sensors, smart cities... and refrigerators. In order to address the huge scope of IoT, KNect365 has created a unique online community that will help businesses to understand and monetize the opportunities that live within the IoT market. We look forward to welcoming you to IoT World News -- your gateway to a better connected future.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T: Re-usable Functions Next NFV Key

9|27|16   |   06:03   |   (0) comments


The next generation of NFV has to break functions down into re-usable software chunks, making everything much more cloud-like.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy on Security: Attackers Gaining Upper Hand

9|27|16   |   5:10   |   (2) comments


At Light Reading's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Ray Watson, vice president of Global Technology at Masergy, says that because of the growth in virtualization, the threat landscape is shifting in favor of the attackers. As a result, service providers need to think beyond just defending the perimeter and take a more holistic approach to security.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (2) comments


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Verizon CFO: Eat Our (Fixed) 5G Dust!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/22/2016
WiCipedia: The Women Helping Women Edition
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 9/23/2016
Eurobites: Telefónica Taps Juniper for Network Security
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 9/26/2016
Open Source Getting on My Nerves
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/26/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
There's Nothing Like Missing a Full Minute of Pokémon Go Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.