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F5, Inc.
Formerly
  • F5 Labs, Inc. (1996–1999)
  • F5 Networks, Inc. (1999–2021)
Company type Public
Industry Technology
FoundedFebruary 26, 1996; 28 years ago (1996-02-26)
Headquarters Seattle, Washington, U.S.
Key people
François Locoh-Donou ( president and CEO)
Products Application Security and Delivery
RevenueIncrease US$2.81 billion (2023)
Increase US$473 million (2023)
Increase US$395 million (2023)
Total assetsDecrease US$5.25 billion (2023)
Total equityIncrease US$2.80 billion (2023)
Number of employees
6,524 (2023)
ASN
Website f5.com
Footnotes / references
Financials as of September 30, 2023. [1]

F5, Inc. is an American technology company specializing in application security, multi-cloud management, online fraud prevention, application delivery networking (ADN), application availability & performance, network security, and access & authorization.

F5 is headquartered in Seattle, Washington in F5 Tower, with an additional 75 offices [2] in 43 countries [2] focusing on account management, global services support, product development, manufacturing, software engineering, and administrative jobs. Notable office locations include Spokane, Washington; New York, New York; Boulder, Colorado; London, England; San Jose, California; and San Francisco, California. [2]

F5's originally offered application delivery controller (ADC) technology, [3] but expanded into application layer, automation, multi-cloud, and security services. As ransomware, data leaks, DDoS, and other attacks on businesses of all sizes are arising, companies such as F5 have continued to reinvent themselves. [4] While the majority of F5's revenue continues to be attributed to its hardware products such as the BIG-IP iSeries systems, the company has begun to offer additional modules on their proprietary operating system, TMOS (Traffic Management Operating System.) [5] These modules are listed below and include, but are not limited to, Local Traffic Manager (LTM), Advanced Web Application Firewall (AWAF), DNS (previously named GTM), and Access Policy Manager (APM). These offer organizations running the BIG-IP the ability to deploy load balancing, Layer 7 application firewalls, single sign-on (for Azure AD, Active Directory, LDAP, and Okta), as well as enterprise-level VPNs. While the BIG-IP was traditionally a hardware product, F5 now offers it as a virtual machine, which they have branded as the BIG-IP Virtual Edition. The BIG-IP Virtual Edition is cloud agnostic and can be deployed on-premises in a public and/or hybrid cloud environment.

F5's customers include Bank of America, Microsoft, Oracle, Alaska Airlines, Tesla, and Meta. [6]

Corporate history

F5, Inc., originally named "F5 Labs" [7] and formerly branded "F5 Networks, Inc." was established in 1996. [8] Currently, the company's public-facing branding [9] generally presents the company as just "F5." The company's name is a reference to the highest intensity tornado on the Fujita scale. [10]

In 1997, F5 launched its first product, [11] a load balancer called BIG-IP. BIG-IP served the purpose of reallocating server traffic away from overloaded servers. In June 1999, the company had its initial public offering and was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange with the symbol FFIV. [12]

In 2017, François Locoh-Donou replaced John McAdam as president and CEO. [13] Later 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. On May 3, 2017, F5 announced [14] that it would move from its longtime headquarters on the waterfront near Seattle Center to a downtown Seattle skyscraper that will be called F5 Tower. The move occurred in early 2019.

F5 employees include Dahl-Nygaard laureate Gilad Bracha; Google click fraud czar Shuman Ghosemajumder; and Defense.Net founder Barrett Lyon.

48 of the Fortune 50 companies use F5 for load balancing, Layer 7 application security, fraud prevention, and API management. [2]

Product Offerings

F5 site in Liberty Lake, Washington state, December 2021

F5 BIG-IP

F5's BIG-IP product family comprises hardware, modularized software, and virtual appliances that run the F5 TMOS operating system. [15] [16] Depending on the appliance selected, one or more BIG-IP product modules can be added.

In 1997, the company introduced its flagship product, BIG-IP.

BIG-IP History

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, [17] with 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. [16] [18] [19]
  • 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.

In late 2021, F5 introduced the next generation of their BIG-IP hardware platforms, the rSeries and VELOS chassis platform. These next-generation systems will replace the previous generation iSeries and VIPRION chassis system. [20]

F5 NGINX

As a part of the NGINX, Inc. acquisition in 2019, F5 offers a premium, enterprise-level version of NGINX with advanced features, multiple support SLAs, and regular software updates. [21]

F5 Distributed Cloud Services

During F5 Agility 2022, F5 announced a new product offering being built on the platforms of BIG-IP, Shape Security, and Volterra. [22] Announced during F5 Agility 2022, this suite is built upon the foundation of F5's BIG-IP, Shape Security, and Volterra platforms. The primary offering in this suite is the SaaS-based Web Application and API Protection (WAAP). F5 Distributed Cloud Services enable organizations to deploy, secure, and manage their applications across various environments, including data centers, multi-cloud setups, and the network or enterprise edge.

The suite includes a range of products tailored to address specific security and networking needs, such as Distributed Cloud DDoS Mitigation Service, Web Application Firewall ( WAF), Bot Defense, API Security, and Client-Side Defense.

In addition to these security-focused products, F5 Distributed Cloud Services also encompass various networking and application management, including Aggregator Management, Network Connect, App Connect, App Stack, DNS services, Content Delivery Network (CDN), and Synthetic Monitoring.

[23] [24]

Acquisitions

uRoam, Inc.

F5 acquired uRoam, Inc. in 2003 for a total cash deal size of $25 million. [25] The strategic intent behind F5 Networks' acquisition of uRoam was to diversify its product offerings beyond its core application delivery and security services. This move aimed to address the growing demand for secure remote access to corporate networks and applications, aligning with industry trends.

MagniFire Websystems, Inc.

F5 acquired MagniFire Websystems in 2004 for a total cash deal size of $29 million. This acquisition allowed F5 to enter the web application security space within the BIG-IP platform. [26] MagniFire Websystems products were sold independently when the deal first closed, then were quickly bundled into the BIG-IP product group.

Swan Labs Corporation

In September 2005, F5 announced they had acquired Swan Labs for a total of $43 million to incorporate WAN optimization and application acceleration technology into the BIG-IP platform, specifically to improve their load balancing offering. [27]

Traffix Systems, Inc.

In 2005, F5 Networks, Inc. at the time, now F5, Inc., announced it has acquired Traffix Systems for a total value of $135 million. Traffix Systems product was integrated within the F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) product line. [28]

Acopia Networks, Inc.

In August 2007, F5, Inc., at the time, F5 Networks, Inc., announced they acquired Acopia Networks, Inc. to add file-area networking to the F5 BIG-IP application-delivery product line, also known as the Local Traffic Manager (LTM) module on the BIG-IP platforms. [29] The deal was valued at $210 million. [29]

Defense.Net, Inc.

In May 2014, F5, Inc., at the time, F5 Networks, Inc., announced they acquired Defense.Net, Inc., a company offering cloud-based DDoS mitigation services. [30] The Defense.Net product would later become F5 Silverline. As of December 2022, the Silverline brand was retired and the managed service offerings Silverline offered were merged into the F5 Distributed Cloud Services product portfolio.

NGINX, Inc.

In March 2019, F5 acquired NGINX, Inc., the company responsible for widely used open-source web server software, for $670 million. [31]

Shape Security, Inc.

In January 2020, F5 acquired Shape Security, Inc., an artificial intelligence-based bot detection company, for $1 billion. [32] It also sells products to protect applications against fraud. [33]

Volterra, Inc.

In January 2021, F5 acquired Volterra, Inc., an edge networking company, for $500 million. [34] It sells SaaS security services. The previous Volterra-branded products are now included in F5 Distributed Cloud Services. [35]

Threat Stack, Inc.

In October 2021, F5 acquired Threat Stack, Inc., a Boston cloud computing security startup company for a reported $68 million. [36] [37] [38] As of December 15, 2022, the previous Threat Stack offering has been rolled into the F5 Distributed Cloud platform. [39]

Lilac Cloud, Inc.

In January 2023, F5 announced they had entered into an agreement to purchase Lilac Cloud, an application services delivery provider. Lilac Cloud, based in Cupertino, California, was F5's CDN provider for their Distributed Cloud Services. The entire Lilac Cloud offering will be rolled into the overall F5 Distributed Cloud Services product line.

Suborbital Software Systems, Inc.

In July 2023, Suborbital Software Systems, a technology startup building cloud-native platforms on WebAssembly, announced they had been acquired by F5, Inc. The details of this acquisition were not disclosed due to the small nature of Suborbital's operations. The entire Suborbital product will be used within the F5 Distributed Cloud Services product line.

Wib Security, Inc.

In February 2024 at AppWorld, F5's premier application security and delivery conference, in San Jose, California, F5 announced they acquired Wib, an API security company based in Tel Aviv, Israel, focused on vulnerability detection and observability in application development. The financial details of the Wib acquisition was not disclosed. The Wib API intellectual property is being added to the F5 Distributed Cloud Services product line. [40]

Heyhack

In March 2024, F5 announced they acquired Heyhack ApS, a Denmark-based and operated security penetration SaaS company. [41]The financial details of this acquisition were not disclosed. F5 announced Heyhack’s intellectual property would be rolled into the F5 Distributed Cloud Services platform. Automated security reconnaissance and penetration testing solution will be incorporated into F5 Distributed Cloud Services.

References

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  2. ^ a b c d "English (US)". www.f5.com. Retrieved 2021-09-24.
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  6. ^ "Customers". www.f5.com. Retrieved 2021-09-24.
  7. ^ [1][ dead link]
  8. ^ "F5 Networks Form 10-K". Retrieved 2012-05-02.
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  13. ^ "F5 names new CEO after yearlong search". The Seattle Times. January 30, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
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  15. ^ Steven Iveson (2013-04-20). "What the Heck Is F5 Networks' TMOS?". packetpushers.net. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
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  19. ^ "Overview of BIG-IP Traffic Management Microkernel (TMM) CPU and RAM usage". f5.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  20. ^ "MyF5". support.f5.com. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  21. ^ "Datasheets". NGINX. 2023-07-11. Retrieved 2023-09-22.
  22. ^ "F5 Agility 2022". agility2022.f5agility.com. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
  23. ^ "F5 Distributed Cloud Services". www.f5.com. Retrieved 2022-02-19.
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  25. ^ Greene, Tim (2003-07-23). "F5 buys uRoam to strengthen access and authentication offering". Network World. Retrieved 2023-09-27.
  26. ^ Greene, Tim (2004-06-01). "F5 buys Magnifire for $29 million". Network World. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  27. ^ Dubie, Denise (2005-09-07). "F5 to acquire Swan Labs". Network World. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
  28. ^ "Acquisitions by F5 Networks". 2023-07-25. Retrieved 2023-08-24.
  29. ^ a b Connor, Deni (2007-08-06). "F5 Networks to acquire Acopia Networks". Network World. Retrieved 2023-03-30.
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  32. ^ Condon, Stephanie. "F5 to acquire Shape Security for approximately $1 billion". ZDNet. Retrieved 2021-03-31.
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  41. ^ "F5 Adds Automated Penetration Testing to Strengthen Multicloud Application Security Capabilities". F5, Inc. Retrieved 2024-03-06.
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