I think it’s fair to say that almost every vendor even remotely associated with the data center has tossed its hat in the software defined network (SDN) arena over the past few years. The goal here is to obviously ride the hype wave while the topic is red hot. I think it’s also fair to say that F5 Networks is one of the dominant data center vendors today with about 50% share in the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market. So this raises a good question – what, if any, is F5’s role in the world of SDNs? I’ve had a number of my investor clients ask me about this recently, so I thought I’d summarize my thoughts here.
Before we get into F5 specifically, we should ask another question – is there a role for an ADC in an SDN? I’ve heard some speculation that the controller could actually subsume the ADC functionality and obviate the need for one. I’ve discussed this with a number of vendors involved in SDN and I believe the likelihood of an SDN controller replacing an ADC is about as likely as Tim Tebow becoming a Pro Bowl quarterback.