Archive for interview

DevCentral’s Featured Member for July – Vosko Networking’s Niels van Sluis

Posted in security, f5, big-ip, interview, devcentral by psilva on July 10th, 2017

Niels.jpgFor almost two years Niels van Sluis has worked as a Security Engineer for Vosko Networking. Vosko's security team focuses on supporting security solutions from various vendors like F5, Check Point, Cisco and RSA. Niels focuses is on F5 BIG-IP and Check Point. He started his professional career about 20 years ago in the ISP industry as an Unix Administrator, and switched to the public healthcare sector around 2001. In more recent years, he’s moved more towards working on network security and design. Apparently, having a Unix background helps a lot when working with modern security devices, since most of them are running on some flavor of Unix. When not working or spending time on DevCentral, he likes to travel, visit historic places and enjoy nature. And Niels is DevCentral’s Featured Member for July!

DevCentral: Tell us a little about the areas of BIG-IP expertise you have.

Niles: My first encounter with BIG-IP was during my previous job. A colleague had been working with BIG-IP before and introduced it as a replacement for the KEMP load balancer that was currently in use. So, I had to attend the ‘Administering and Configure BIG-IP’ course. It was then – when I learned about iRules – I saw the full potential of this nifty device. But during my days there I didn’t do much with the BIG-IP as in terms to administration. I would only touch the box, if my colleague was on leave. This however changed when I started working for Vosko Networking. Within about a year’s time I’ve gone through the BIG-IP certification program, spend a lot of time on DevCentral and got my hands dirty in the field. The BIG-IP areas I’m most experienced in are LTM and APM. The most fun part for me are iRules (LX).

DC: You are a Security System Engineer at Vosko Networking BV. Can you describe your typical workday?

NS: My typical workday depends whether I’m working on a project or not. When working on projects I often visit customers throughout the country to help them deploy new equipment or configure new services. Recently I’ve migrated quite a few Cisco ACE and Microsoft Forefront TMG deployments to the F5 BIG-IP platform. Other times I help customers upgrading their BIG-IPs or setting up more advanced APM configurations including SAML and SSO. When I’m not working on projects I work on support cases or trying out new stuff in our lab.

DC: You have a number of F5 Certifications including most of the Technology Specialist (LTM, GTM, APM, ASM) certifications. Why are these important to you and how have they helped with your career?

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NS: First of all, they are required for Vosko Networking to participate in the F5 Support Partner program. But more important to myself is that the F5 certification program helps to get deeper knowledge in to how the various BIG-IP modules work, how they relate (interact) to each other and what part the BIG-IP plays in modern network infrastructures. The certification program is also very practical; you can directly apply what you have been learning. It helped me to get more comfortable and confident in my day to day job.

DC: Describe one of your biggest BIG-IP challenges and how did DevCentral helped in that situation.

NS: In my experience, there are BIG-IP challenges every day. I think this is the result of the BIG-IP being some kind of network-magic-box, that can do about everything. With most other security devices, one is limited to the functionality and settings the box is shipped with. But with BIG-IP, you can really be creative and think outside the box. If the required functionality is missing, you can build it yourself with iRules. And customers know this. I often go out to customers with a specific need, but when starting out it isn’t always clear if this is something the BIG-IP can do by default. In these situations, access to the DevCentral community is crucial. Even though BIG-IP isn’t an open source project, it’s amazing to see how members share their time, code and knowledge to help each other. For example, some code that really helped me out are Yann Desmarest’s APM Full Step Up Authentication and Stanislas Piron’s APM SharePoint authentication. Besides code, I think the Lightboard Lessons are awesome; very helpful!

DC: Lastly, if you weren’t an IT admin – what would be your dream job? Or better, when you were a kid – what did you want to be when you grew up?

I think I wanted to be an electrician when I was young, but I’m pretty sure that isn’t my dream job. As long as I’m able to learn new things and have new challenges, I’m happy how things are. I think I’m useless for any other job that doesn’t require a keyboard. Thanks for the privilege for being a featured member and thanks for the Lightboard Lessons as well. I really enjoy them.

Thanks Niels! Check out all of Niels' DevCentral contributions, connect with him on LinkedIn and follow Vosko@vosko.




DevCentral’s Featured Member for May – NTT Security’s Leonardo Souza

Posted in security, f5, big-ip, interview, silva, devcentral, irules, programmability by psilva on May 2nd, 2017

leonardo.jpgLeonardo Souza lives in the United Kingdom, with his partner, 5-year-old daughter, and a (very) recently newborn son. He’s Brazilian and lived in Portugal for quite a while. He then moved to UK about 5 years ago ‘because of the amazing weather,’ he jokes.

Leonardo started to work with computers when he was 18 years old (he’s not 18 anymore), so he’s worked with many technologies. Fast forward a bit (he’s not that old) and while working as a network engineer, he was working on a project to migrate applications from Alteon load balancers to F5 BIG-IP LTMs. He completed his LTM Essentials and LTM Advanced training during that time (2011) and with the migration project, he was impressed with BIG-IP.

He even applied for a job at F5 in 2012 and joined as a Network Support Engineer. That moved him from Portugal to UK, and has been doing F5 products exclusively ever since.

With all that, Leonardo is DevCentral’s Featured Member for May and we got a chance to talk with Leonardo about his life, work and scripting prowess.

DevCentral: You were an F5er from 2012-15 and continue to be a very active contributor in the DevCentral community. What keeps you involved?

Leonardo: I often say that 1 year in F5 support is equal to 5 years as a F5 customer.

While in F5 support, I had multiple technical challenges every day, and I would typically go to DevCentral to check iRules documentation and get ideas for uncommon cases. After I left F5, I started using DevCentral to stay up to date about what is going on in the F5 world by reading the DevCentral articles. Then I started to go there daily and answer some questions myself.

Short answer: to keep me updated, both about F5 news and my F5 knowledge.

DC: Tell us a little about the areas of BIG-IP expertise you have.

LS: Is difficult to know all F5 products, because some are for very specific networks/scenarios, but I know the common ones:

BIG-IP BIG-IP LTM, GTM/DNS, AFM, APM, ASM, EM, BIG-IQ, and iRules.

I had been a little bit lazy about the F5 certifications but recently I have done all level 300 exams. I have started study for the 401, so that should be done in the next couple months.

DC: As a Security Consultant at NTT Security, what’s your typical workday?

LS: First to clarify, the company recently changed names from NTT Com Security to NTT Security.

nttlogo.jpgI work in professional services, doing projects that use F5 products. My daily work includes doing some pre-sales activities advising pre-sales team about the F5 products, doing projects, and finding solutions or writing scripts to automate some F5 tasks.

DC: Describe one of your biggest BIG-IP challenges and how DevCentral helped in that situation.

LS: I have been using DevCentral for many years, and iRules, to a point where it is part of my daily job. Flexibility is a major advantage for F5 and people ask all the time “Can you do this with an iRule?”

Recently, I was working in a project to upgrade many F5 devices. We had to perform an extensive inventory for each device which was taking about 3 days per device. I wrote a Python script using iControl SOAP to perform that task. (I still prefer bash script, but there is no iControl SOAP for bash)

It would take around 240 days to do that manually, and we did in around 3 days using the script.

DC: Finally, if you weren’t in technology – what would be your dream job? Or better, when you were a kid – what did you want to be when you grew up?

LS: I am doing the job I wanted since I was young and I can’t picture myself doing any other type of job.

Thanks Leonardo! Check out all Leonardo’s DevCentral contributions or connect with him on LinkedIn. And visit NTT Security on the web or follow on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 




Q/A with Secure-24’s Josh Becigneul - DevCentral’s Featured Member for September

Posted in f5, big-ip, adc, interview, silva, application delivery, devcentral by psilva on September 6th, 2016

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Josh Becigneul is the ADC Engineer for Secure-24 and DevCentral’s Featured Member for September!

Josh has been working in the IT industry in various positions for a little over 10 years. He’s moved through various disciplines including MS server administration, Linux, Networking, and now has been working primarily with F5 BIG-IPs. For the past 3 years he has focused on F5’s products and growing a team of engineers to manage them. Secure-24 delivers managed IT operations, application hosting and managed cloud services to enterprises worldwide.

DevCentral got an opportunity to talk with Josh about his work, life and the importance of being F5 Certified.

DevCentral: You’ve been an active contributor to the DevCentral community and wondered what keeps you involved?

Josh Becigneul: DevCentral has helped me greatly over the years as I’ve worked with F5 products, so I feel like it’s worth some of my time to spend both reading posts and helping others in the community. When I started off it helped to be able to explain a need and have someone create a basic iRule, or point me towards documentation explaining something. Now that my skills have grown, I want to pay it forward.

DC: Tell us a little about the areas of BIG-IP expertise you have.

JB: I started off on just BIG-IP LTM but over the years have grown into managing APM, GTM, ASM, and sometimes a mix of each. I’ve worked with 1500’s, 1600s, 3600’s, 3900’s and VIPRION. As well as Enterprise Manager and now BIG-IQ too.

DC: You are an ADC Engineer with Secure-24, an application hosting and cloud services organization. Can you explain how DevCentral helps with your daily challenges? Where does BIG-IP fit in the services you offer or within your own infrastructure?

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JB: At Secure-24, BIG-IP has grown into an essential product for many portions of our organization, along with many of our customers utilizing its services to deliver their applications. We’ve got a large number of LTM customers, APM customers and we’ve been growing into ASM. GTM provides advanced DNS services for many of our customers around the globe. Most deployments using BIG-IP are custom tailored to suit the needs of the particular customer. These can vary from basic load balancing to advanced content steering, or small deployments of a few virtual services to large ones comprised of hundreds.

With the variety of F5 products in use, having a resource like DevCentral is invaluable to our team. From being able to ask my peers questions about things, or utilizing the codeshare and wiki to learn more about iRules and iControl, I couldn’t imagine it not being available.

DC: Describe one of your biggest BIG-IP challenges and how DevCentral helped in that situation.

JB: One of the most useful things iRules allow us to do is virtual hosting; running many services behind a virtual service. Coupling this with APM allowed us to greatly simplify remote access for us and our customers. For several customers, we used APM to migrate them away from MS Forefront.

DC: I understand you are an F5 Certified Professional. Can you tell us about that and why you feel it is beneficial?

JB: Yes, I first became F5 Certified in 2015 with my 201 Certified BIG-IP Administrator, and followed that up at 2016’s F5 Agility conference by obtaining my 304 APM Specialist. I feel it is beneficial because it helps to reinforce what I’ve learned over the years, and (hopefully) lets my customers feel like they are in good hands. (DC: Josh also recently passed the 302 GTM Exam!)

DC: Lastly, if you weren’t an IT admin – what would be your dream job? Or better, when you were a kid – what did you want to be when you grew up?

JB: I’d probably be a roadie, and tour the world doing lights and sound for a huge band!

DC: Thanks Josh and get us backstage passes! Check out all of Josh’s DevCentral contributions, connect on LinkedIn and follow both Josh @vsnine and @secure_24.

And if you'd like to nominate someone to be the DevCentral Featured Member, please send your suggestions to the DevCentral Team!




VMworld 2014 – F5 & VMware Alliance (feat Rowland)

Posted in f5, cloud, cloud computing, interview, silva, video, sddc by psilva on September 3rd, 2014

Calvin Rowland, F5 VP Business Development, talks about the F5 & VMware partnership and brings us up to date on some of the latest developments. He also explains the criticality of technology alliances in today’s application driven world along with F5’s philosophy and guiding principles around technology alliances. Integration, collaboration and interoperability. We aim to satisfy business needs with architectural and technical solutions. Great insight and a fun interview.

Also check out our first video together almost 5 years ago. We haven’t aged a day: Oracle OpenWorld - Interview with Calvin Rowland

Watch Now:



Interop2013: DDoS’ing Interop Follow Up

I grab F5ers Ken Bocchino and Sam Richman to talk about DDoS’ing the Interop Infrastructure, the F5 gear used to protect the network and some of the mind blowing stats gathered over the last couple days of running Interop Net.

 

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Interop2013: Partner Spotlight — ICSA Labs

Posted in security, f5, big-ip, application security, interview, silva, video, compliance, interop by psilva on May 12th, 2013

I catch up with Brian Monkman, ICSA Perimeter Security Program Manager, to discuss certifications and testing along with how ICSA is adjusting some of their testing methodology to match some of the changes occurring in the industry…like application delivery controllers doing much more than simply load balancing or remote access.

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Conversation with One of CloudNOW’s Top 10 Women: Lori MacVittie

Posted in f5, cloud, cloud computing, interview, macvittie, silva, application delivery, context by psilva on April 15th, 2013

F5 Sr. Technical Marketing Manager Lori MacVittie received CloudNOW’s prestigious Top 10 Women in Cloud award for her exceptional contributions to the cloud community. CloudNOW, an executive consortium of the leading women in cloud computing, presented the award during UBM Tech’s Cloud Connect—the premier technology event for cloud computing.

I've had the good fortune to have known and worked with Lori for almost 7 years and sat down with her to talk about cloud, convergence and application delivery.

Peter: First, Congratulations Lori on yet another award. If I remember correctly, this is the 2nd year in a row that your contributions, accomplishments, and thought leadership has been recognized by CloudNOW. How’d you get so smart?

Lori: I don’t necessarily think it’s being so smart myself that’s key, it’s being afforded a platform on which smart ideas – many of which are instigated by other, very smart people - can be promoted that made that happen. I won’t say I don’t have smart ideas myself, but there’s so many talented folks in the industry that it’s more a collaborative, bouncing-off-each-other process that’s critical to coming up with ways to solve new challenges.

Peter: Public, private, hybrid. Is there a clear cloud choice or organizations or does it depend on what they are trying to accomplish? What are the advantages and pitfalls of each?

Lori: Wow, that’s at least one if not two or three blog posts right there. I think it depends on what the organization is trying to achieve and what kind of applications are critical to achieving those goals. The reality is that hybrid is going to dominate the cloud landscape by virtue of sheer necessity. There’s too many needs that can’t be met by just public or just private that require a more integrated, business-driven approach to deployments. That means hybrid is going to win, hands down.

Peter: Some in the industry believe the term ‘cloud’ is starting to get a bit cliché due to potential overuse, misuse and abuse. What do you think? Has it lost some luster?

Lori: Did it ever have luster other than as link-bait? Seriously, like any new technology market the term is overused, hyped, and abused. It means different things to different people and more confusing, to different markets. It still has power, but it is losing its status as technology darling du jour to more up and coming technology that has infrastructure bling, like SDN.

Peter: Cloud Standards. The IEEE Cloud Computing Initiative has originated two working drafts (P2301 and P2302); The Cloud Security Alliance works together to define best practices in cloud security; the Open Cloud Consortium supports the development of standards among others. First, will there ever be standards and if so, what will that provide to both customers and providers? Will standards be the final keystone for those waiting in the wings?

Lori: Standards for what? Integration? Bridging? Brokering? Cloud management? We are so far away from standardization of cloud anything at this point that we’re going to have to wait and see. When customers start demanding support for a standard X or Y or Z as table stakes for being considered as a viable provider, then we’ll start seeing real movement around those standards. So in the meantime, we’re going to continue to see each provider and vendor offering up their own “standards” and maneuvering with partnerships and support of APIs. When we start seeing accepted – even de facto – standards around cloud we’ll know it’s reached maturity.

Peter: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges facing cloud computing? Security? Availability? The misuse of the term? Standards? Confusion?

Lori: Integration and portability. There is no such thing as “cloud security”, only network, application and data security applied in the cloud or in the data center. :-) The biggest challenge facing cloud is that it requires a new way of looking at application deployment challenges and ultimately that trickles down to how we architect at the network, its topology. That’s a bigger challenge than simply giving up control of infrastructure; after all, we did that when we adopted managed hosting. Cloud is forcing us to rethink how we architect from the network up, and that’s harder than anything else because it’s a paradigm shift (there’s a phrase we haven’t used in a decade or so, but it’s the one that fits best – and probably better now than it did then).

Peter: You presented on two topics at Cloud Connect – ‘App Delivery in the Cloud’ and ‘Managing Hybrid Cloud’. Can you give a synopsis of each?

Lori: Let’s see. On the first one: successfully delivering applications and managing access in a cloud computing environment is about balancing control with flexibility: integrating processes and leveraging the power of standards like SAML to extend enterprise governance over cloud deployed applications while distributing control into the cloud to enable consistent control over delivery policies. Managing hybrid cloud. It’s all about integration. Integrating processes, integrating networks, integrating resources. Once you do that, the management is easy. Okay, maybe not easy but easier, which is a good thing considering the state of infrastructure integration today.

Peter: How does some of these new technologies like SDN (Software Defined Networking) and NFV (Network Function Virtualization) fit into the Cloud equation?

Lori: SDN is really about enabling elasticity for scale and flexibility in topology at the network layer. In that respect, it affords cloud a very dynamic foundation on which to deploy value-added services at the application layer that can address some of the challenges with cloud noted above with respect to thinking differently about how we deploy infrastructure services in a topologically-hampered environment. NFV continues to be of most interest to service providers, and their goal is fast, flexible, programmability in the network that enables rapid development and deployment of new services that increase ARPU by offering new value and competitive advantages. As far as cloud goes, NFV could be layered atop SDN to provide a layer of elasticity and dynamic provisioning for value added services, but right now service providers are more concerned about services than they are the core network (because they rearchitected that when IMS and similar architectures became popular).

Excellent stuff, Lori! Thanks! You can connect with and follow Lori on DevCentral or Twitter

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RSA2013 & Pulse2013 - The Video Outtakes

Posted in , f5, interview, silva, video, fun, arts by psilva on March 8th, 2013

Like the special features of a DVD, all the mistakes, flubs and bloopers from the RSA & Pulse Conferences. It happens to the best of us.

 

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In case you missed any of the RSA2013 or Pulse2013 videos:

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SharePoint Conference 2012: Configuring SharePoint on BIG-IP

Posted in f5, big-ip, interview, silva, video, application delivery, sharepoint by psilva on November 12th, 2012

I meet with Greg Coward, F5 Solution Engineer, to show us a demo of how easy it is to deploy #SharePoint on BIG-IP with the F5 iApp. #spc12

 

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Resources:

Technorati Tags: F5,big-ip,security,management,infrastructure,sharepoint,cloud,waf,tmg, analytics,psilva,video

 

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Oracle OpenWorld 2012: BIG-IP Integration with Product Development

Posted in f5, big-ip, interview, silva, video, application delivery by psilva on October 2nd, 2012

I chat with Dennis Zhou, Manager - Product Development, to get an interesting, inside scoop on how F5's PD team tackles integrating BIG-IP with other vendor's solutions, like Oracle Access Manager.

 

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Technorati Tags: F5, oracle openworld, integration, Pete Silva, security, business, education, technology, application delivery,cloud,oracle, oow2012

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