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F5 Networks Announces Winners of Second Annual DevCentral iRules Contest


Wednesday, February 21, 2007; 04:43 AM

F5 Networks, Inc., a global leader in Application Delivery Networking, announced the winners of its second annual DevCentral iRule contest, “iRule, Do You?” A panel of industry experts recognized three application developers and network professionals for their BIG-IP iRules development expertise, hailing their real-world solutions as the best of the best in application fluency and flexibility.

“F5 received some very innovative iRules from around the globe — a testament to the number of developers currently using iRules to improve and customize their application delivery networks. From widely applicable solutions to spam and security issues to unique, application-specific implementations, the variety of iRules submitted affirms the flexibility and real-world utility they offer,” said Zeus Kerravala, SVP of Enterprise Research at Yankee Group.

For the contest, entries and winners were divided into two separate categories representing customers and reseller partners, respectively.

iRules Winners – Customer Division

  • First Place iRule: “reverseproxy_webmail_prod” by Jamey Price (USA)

This iRule provides reverse-proxy functionality for a set of Lotus Notes 7 servers to provide webmail to end users. The results of developing this iRule were reduced configuration complexity as well as avoidance of previously unacceptable performance provided by alternative solutions. According to Jason Bloomberg, a contest judge and Senior Analyst with ZapThink, “The cookie manipulations make this iRule especially interesting.”

  • Second Place iRule: “OCSP Authentication error redirect” by Kevin Stewart (USA)

When clients fail OCSP authentication, secure web pages are usually replaced with a basic “Page cannot be displayed” error consisting of very little information to troubleshoot the error. This iRule helps users and reduces IT Help Desk workloads by generating dynamic HTML/CSS/Javascript that includes the specific error for further diagnosis. Judge Jason Rahm commented, “As a former helpdesk worker, THANK YOU! Ingenious use of error data to provide exactly the problem in the HTTP::response event helps keep support calls short and sweet.”

  • Third Place iRule: “Antispam” by Jari Leppälä (Finland)

Spam is a universal challenge for any organization. To reduce connections to backend servers that steal valuable processing cycles, this iRule detects and rejects sources opening large amounts of client connections in a short timeframe, which is often indicative of spam. It does so by counting SMTP connections from a specific IP address within a given timeframe. If an abusive IP client is detected, a message is sent to the email originator and they are added to an abusers list to block future attempts. “Handling spam at this stage can significantly cut down on network traffic,” commented contest judge Zeus Kerravala.

iRules Winners – Partner Division

  • First Place iRule: “iRule_Persist_On_HTTP_Data” by Sake Blok, Ion-IP B.V. (The Netherlands)

For SOAP-based authentication against LDAP servers and cached for performance optimization, traditional load balancing was not a viable alternative due to the burden large cache files placed on each server. By using this iRule to parse HTTP requests for Session-ID data and either persist the session to the originating server or create a new Session-ID, Ion-IPs customer was able to avoid a costly investment in larger servers to support this application. Added judge Rahm, “The extent to which traffic can be persisted is really shown off here. Nice work!”

  • Second Place iRule: “w3c_iRule” by Nuno Paulino, Telindus Portugal (Portugal)

To support W3C logging formats with host-header validation, this ingenious iRule translates floating point values to strings and make appropriate conversions as string functions. In this case, it was translation of milliseconds to seconds. Judge Joe Pruitt commented, “You have to give credit when someone finds a unique solution to a known issue in one of your products. This iRule will be very useful to the community.”

  • Third Place iRule: “irule_limit_num_connections_googlebot” by Eduardo Saito, Assistec Integracao (Brazil)

While most websites desire regular crawling by leading search engines such as Google, many prefer to limit the number of server cycles consumed by the process. By utilizing connection limits for a known source IP address, this iRule protects server performance while still enabling crawling. It also helps manage this process from the network before the requests reach the servers. According to judge Pruitt, “This iRule enables a number of useful ways to limit connection rates for abusive clients.”

The contest also provided an arena for customers to showcase the significant impact iRules have had on their businesses.

“We were in the middle of a massive co-location project, involving a number of advertising agencies and a looming deadline, to form one company called Team Detroit, Inc.,” explained grand prize winner (Customer Division) Jamey Price, Network Engineer for Team Detroit. “The flexibility of F5’s iRules offered the perfect solution when the requirement came down to reverse-proxy our existing Lotus Notes server cluster with minimal back-end reconfiguration.”

“A few relatively simple iRules was all it took to provide easy-access, high-availability webmail to our new, larger user base, and we were able to do so using only our existing hardware and software investments,” added Price. “Winning this award is a great honor for me and my teammates. I can’t say enough great things about the amazing capability of iRules.”

“This second annual contest illustrates the creativity of our customers and partners,” said Jeff Browning, Director of Product Management at F5. “Based on the breadth of submissions we received, it’s clear that iRule pervasiveness continues to expand and that this unique technology affords users truly unlimited deployment options. We salute the winners for their exemplary efforts and their contributions to F5’s worldwide technical community. We are thrilled that partners and other organizations worldwide can use these examples to further enhance their own IP applications and inspire even more creative iRule solutions.”

About the “iRule, Do You?” Contest

A panel of leading industry press and analysts, as well as the F5 DevCentral team of iRules experts evaluated iRule entries based on a weighted scale for innovation, creativity, and business applicability. Cash prizes were awarded for the winning entries.

Industry experts and F5 judges included:

  • Jason Bloomberg - Senior Analyst, ZapThink (www.zapthink.com)
  • Ronald Schmelzer - Senior Analyst, ZapThink (www.zapthink.com)
  • Zeus Kerravala - Senior Vice President, Yankee Group (www.yankeegroup.com)
  • Jason Rahm - 2005 “iRule. Do You?” Contest Grand Prize Winner
  • Joe Pruitt - Senior Strategic Architect, F5 (http://devcentral.f5.com/weblogs/Joe)
  • Colin Walker - Developer Relations Engineer, F5 (http://devcentral.f5.com/weblogs/cwalker)
  • Lori MacVittie - Technical Marketing Manager, F5 (http://devcentral.f5.com/weblogs/macvittie)
  • Jeff Browning - Director of Product Management, F5 (http://devcentral.f5.com/weblogs/JeffB)

Complete information on the winning iRules can be found at http://devcentral.f5.com.

About iRules

iRules is an exclusive application-fluent F5 technology that provides customizable commands that leverage the power of F5’s unique TMOS platform. It defines how F5 products secure, optimize, and deliver any bi-directional IP application traffic or flow, giving customers complete and granular control over their application traffic. Based on the popular Tool Command Language (TCL) syntax and F5-specific extensions, iRules enables enterprises, service providers and e-businesses to offload costly application functions that previously had to be performed by the applications themselves. With so many distributed applications, this centralized functional capability saves customers a tremendous amount of development work and can ensure successful application implementations without having to change the network or the application.

About DevCentral

To help customers and partners learn more about iRules, F5 created DevCentral (http://devcentral.f5.com) over two years ago. DevCentral is the only website and community on the Internet offering practical, real-world solutions and discussions to bridge the gap that has existed between application developers and network professionals. Free of charge, DevCentral offers tools, techniques, and collaboration to help the F5 user community create and build solutions with iRules.

About F5 Networks

F5 Networks is the global leader in Application Delivery Networking. F5 provides solutions that make applications secure, fast and available for everyone, helping organizations get the most out of their investment. By adding intelligence and manageability into the network to offload applications, F5 optimizes applications and allows them to work faster and consume fewer resources. F5’s extensible architecture intelligently integrates application optimization, protects the application and the network, and delivers application reliability — all on one universal platform. Over 10,000 organizations and service providers worldwide trust F5 to keep their applications running. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with offices worldwide. For more information, go to www.f5.com.



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