F5 Networks, Inc. is an American-based company that specializes in application delivery networking (ADN) technology for the delivery of web applications and the security, performance, availability of servers, data storage devices, and other network and cloud resources. F5 is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and has other development, manufacturing, and sales/marketing offices.
Known originally for its load balancing product, today F5's product and services line has expanded into all things related to the delivery of applications, including local load balancing and acceleration, global (DNS based) load balancing and acceleration, security through web application firewall and application authentication and access products, DDoS defense, and more. F5 technologies are available in the data center and the cloud, including private, public, and multi-cloud environments based on platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and OpenStack.
F5 Networks, originally named F5 Labs, was established in 1996. The company name was inspired by the 1996 movie Twister, in which reference was made to the fastest and most powerful tornado on the Fujita Scale: F5.
F5's first product (launched in 1997) was a load balancer called BIG-IP. When a server went down or became overloaded, BIG-IP directed traffic away from that server to other servers that could handle the load.
In June 1999, the company had its initial public offering and was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange with symbol FFIV.
In 2010 and 2011, F5 Networks was on Fortune's list of 100 Fastest-Growing Companies. The company was also rated one of the top ten best-performing stocks by S&P 500 in 2010. F5 was also named a Best Place to Work by online jobs and recruiting site Glassdoor in 2015 and 2016.
Competitors included Cisco Systems (until 2012), Citrix Systems, and Radware.
François Locoh-Donou replaced John McAdam as president and CEO on April 3, 2017.
Ben Gibson hired as CMO July 20, 2016.
F5's BIG-IP product family comprises hardware, modularized software, and virtual appliances that run the F5 TMOS operating system. Depending on the appliance selected, one or more BIG-IP product modules can be added. Offerings include:
On September 7, 2004, F5 Networks released version 9.0 of the BIG-IP software in addition to appliances to run the software. Version 9.0 also marked the introduction of the company’s TMOS architecture, with significant enhancements including:
Subsequent releases enhanced performance, improves application security, and supported cloud application deployments.
F5 describes BIG-IQ as a framework for managing BIG-IP devices and application services, irrespective of their form factors (hardware, software or cloud) or deployment model (on-premises, private/public cloud or hybrid). BIG-IQ supports integration with other ecosystem participants such as public cloud providers, and orchestration engines through cloud connectors and through a set of open RESTful APIs. BIG-IQ uses a multi-tenant approach to management. This allows organizations to move closer to IT as a Service without concern that it might affect the stability or security of the services fabric.
Herculon is a product line designed for security administrators. DDoS Hybrid Defender and SSL Orchestrator were introduced in January 2017.
Silverline is a cloud-based application service. Its offerings include security services such as WAF and DDoS protection services.
In 2017, the company introduced technologies to make F5 capabilities more portable across a broader range of IT environments, including: