F5 Networks

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F5 Networks, Inc.
S&P 500 Component
PredecessorF5 Labs
FoundedFebruary 26, 1996; 23 years ago (1996-02-26)
HeadquartersSeattle, Washington, United States
Key people
François Locoh-Donou (President and CEO)
  • US$ 2,161.407 million (2018)[1]
  • Increase US$ 2,090.041 million (2017) [2]
  • US$ 590.899 million (2018)[1]
  • IncreaseUS$ 563.956 million (2017)[2]
  • US$ 453.689 million (2018)[1]
  • IncreaseUS$ 420.761 million (2017)[2]
Total assets
  • US$ 2,605.476 million (2018)[1]
  • IncreaseUS$ 2,476.489 million (2017)[2]
Total equity
  • US$ 1,285.492 million (2018)[1]
  • IncreaseUS$ 1,229.392 million (2017)[2]
Number of employees
4,409 (2018)

F5 Networks, Inc. is a global company that specializes in application services and application delivery networking (ADN). F5 technologies focus on the delivery, security, performance, and availability of web applications, as well as the availability of servers, cloud resources, data storage devices, and other networking components. F5 is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with additional development, manufacturing, and sales/marketing offices worldwide.

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. 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.

Corporate history[edit]

F5 Networks, originally named F5 Labs,[3] was established in 1996.[4] 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.[citation needed]

F5's first product (launched in 1997)[5] 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.[6]

In 2010 and 2011, F5 Networks was on Fortune's list of 100 Fastest-Growing Companies.[7] The company was also rated one of the top ten best-performing stocks by S&P 500 in 2010.[8] F5 was also named a Best Place to Work by online jobs and recruiting site Glassdoor in 2015 and 2016.[9]

Competitors included Cisco Systems (until 2012),[10] Citrix Systems, and Radware.

François Locoh-Donou replaced John McAdam as president and CEO on April 3, 2017.[11]

On May 3, 2017, F5 announced[12] that it would move from its longtime headquarters on the waterfront near Seattle Center to a new downtown Seattle skyscraper that will be called F5 Tower. The move will occur in early 2019.

In 2017 F5 launched a dedicated site and organization focused on gathering global threat intelligence data, analyzing application threats, and publishing related findings, dubbed “F5 Labs” in a nod to the company’s history. The team continues to research application threats and publish findings every week to benefit the broader security community.


  • uRoam (SSL VPN vendor) for US$25 million in 2003[13]
  • Magnifire WebSystems (web application firewall) for US$29 million in 2004[14]
  • Swan Labs (WAN acceleration and web acceleration) for US$43 million in 2005.[15]
  • Acopia Networks (file virtualization) for US$210 million in 2007[16]
  • DPI intellectual property from Crescendo Networks in 2011 (amount undisclosed)[17]
  • Traffix Systems (Diameter protocol switching technology) in 2012 (amount undisclosed)[18]
  • LineRate Systems in 2013 (high-performance, software-based Load Balancer for x86 systems with node.js datapath scripting)[19]
  • Versafe (anti-fraud, anti-phishing, and anti-malware solutions)[20] for US$87.7 Million in 2013[21]
  • Defense.Net (cloud-based DDoS mitigation service)[22] for US$49.4 million in 2014[23]
  • CloudWeaver formerly Lyatiss (Application Defined Networking) in 2015 (amount undisclosed)[24]
  • NGINX, Inc. (web server and application server vendor) for US$670 million on March 11, 2019[25]



F5's BIG-IP product family comprises hardware, modularized software, and virtual appliances that run the F5 TMOS operating system.[26][27] Depending on the appliance selected, one or more BIG-IP product modules can be added. Offerings include:

  • Local Traffic Manager (LTM): Local load balancing based on a full-proxy architecture.
  • Application Security Manager (ASM): A web application firewall.
  • Access Policy Manager (APM): Provides access control and authentication for HTTP and HTTPS applications.
  • Advanced Firewall Manager (AFM): On-premises DDoS protection, data centre firewall.
  • Application Acceleration Manager (AAM): through technologies such as compression and caching.
  • IP Intelligence (IPI): Blocking known bad IP addresses, prevention of phishing attacks and botnets.
  • WebSafe: Protects against sophisticated fraud threats, leveraging advanced encryption, client-less malware detection and session behavioral analysis capabilities.
  • BIG-IP DNS: Distributes DNS and application requests based user, network, and cloud performance conditions.

BIG-IP history[edit]

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,[28] with significant enhancements including:

  • Moved from BSD to Linux to handle system management functions (disks, logging, bootup, console access, etc.)
  • Creation of a Traffic Management Microkernel (TMM) to directly talk to the networking hardware and handle all network activities.[27][29][30]
  • Creation of the standard full-proxy mode, which fully terminates network connections at the BIG-IP and establishes new connections between the BIG-IP and the member servers in a pool. This allows for optimum TCP stacks on both sides as well as the complete ability to modify traffic in either direction.

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.[24]


Silverline is a cloud-based application service. Its offerings include security services such as WAF and DDoS protection services.

Cloud, container and orchestration solutions[edit]

In 2017, the company introduced technologies to make F5 capabilities more portable across a broader range of IT environments, including:[31]

  • Application Services Proxy is an automated traffic management proxy that provides F5 services (and service portability) with containerized environments.
  • Container Connector combines F5's application services platforms (including BIG-IP and Application Services Proxy) with native container environment management and orchestration systems such as Kubernetes, RedHat OpenShift, Pivotal Cloud Foundry, and Mesos.


  1. ^ a b c d e "F5 NETWORKS INC 2016 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Sep 30, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e "F5 NETWORKS INC 2017 Annual Report Form(10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
  3. ^ http://www.alacrastore.com/storecontent/Thomson_Venture_Economics/F5_Networks_Inc_AKA_F5_Labs_Inc-Y45115
  4. ^ "F5 Networks Form 10-K". Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  5. ^ Rossi, Ben. "How F5 Networks built an empire on controlling the internet". Information Age.
  6. ^ "F5 Networks Inc files for a $30,000,000 initial public offering on April 7, 1999". Stock IPO Dates & Prices. 1999-04-07. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  7. ^ "100 Fastest-growing companies". CNN. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  8. ^ Frank Byrt. "10 Best-Performing S&P 500 Stocks of 2010". TheStreet. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  9. ^ "Glassdoor - Best Places to Work". Glassdoor. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  10. ^ Duffy, Jim (2012-09-19). "Cisco's exit from ADCs should come as no surprise". NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  11. ^ "F5 names new CEO after yearlong search". The Seattle Times. January 30, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  12. ^ "F5 Networks will move HQ to glitzy new Seattle skyscraper, to be called 'F5 Tower'". geekwire.com. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Quick Takes: F5 lassos uRoam". Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  14. ^ John Leyden (July 1, 2004). "F5 snaps up MagniFire". The Register. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  15. ^ "F5 to acquire Swan Labs". Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  16. ^ "F5 Networks Completes Acquisition of Acopia Networks". Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  17. ^ "F5 Acquires Intellectual Property Assets of Crescendo Networks". Archived from the original on 14 January 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  18. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires Traffix Systems". Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  19. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires LineRate Systems". Retrieved 11 Feb 2013.
  20. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires Versafe to Help Customers Protect Against Online Fraud". Retrieved 2 Nov 2013.
  21. ^ Kundozerov, Ilya (2017-05-01). "F5 continues to lead the ADC market while seeking to meaningfully expand its portfolio". Morningstar, Inc. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  22. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires Defense.Net". Retrieved 5 Aug 2014.
  23. ^ "Form 10-K - ANNUAL REPORT 2014". EDGAR. 2014-11-26. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  24. ^ "F5 Networks owns CloudWeaver". File Storage Technologies Blog - Ph. Nicolas. 2015-01-06.
  25. ^ "F5 Acquires NGINX to Bridge NetOps & DevOps, Providing Customers with Consistent Application Services Across Every Environment". F5 Networks. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  26. ^ Steven Iveson (2013-04-20). "What the Heck Is F5 Networks' TMOS?". packetpushers.net. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  27. ^ a b Ryan Kearny; Steve Graves (2008-12-14). "No operating system is an island". embedded.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  28. ^ "What The Heck Is F5 Networks' TMOS? - Packet Pushers -". Packet Pushers. 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  29. ^ "Manual Chapter: Understanding Core System Services". f5.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  30. ^ "Overview of BIG-IP Traffic Management Microkernel (TMM) CPU and RAM usage". f5.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  31. ^ "F5 Delivers Application Services for a Multi-Cloud World". f5.com. Retrieved 2017-08-28.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°37′20″N 122°21′49″W / 47.622219°N 122.363493°W / 47.622219; -122.363493