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Introduction to F5 Container Integrations

F5’s Container Integrations provide the ability to dynamically allocate L4-L7 services in container orchestration environments. The BIG-IP Container Connectors (“CCs”) introduce BIG-IP services for North-South traffic, while the F5 Application Services Proxy provides services for East-West traffic.

Container Connectors

F5’s Container Connectors (‘CCs’) understand the container orchestration environment (‘COE’). The CCs provide PaaS-native integrations for F5 BIG-IP devices and the F5 Application Services Proxy (‘ASP’).

Container Connector Description
marathon-bigip-ctlr Configures a BIG-IP to expose applications in an Apache Mesos cluster as virtual servers on BIG-IP, serving North-South traffic.
marathon-asp-ctlr Provisions and configures ASPs in a Marathon cluster to serve East-West traffic.
k8s-bigip-ctlr Configures a BIG-IP to expose applications in a Kubernetes cluster as virtual servers on BIG-IP to serve North-South traffic.
f5-kube-proxy Configures ASPs in a Kubernetes cluster, serving East-West traffic; replaces the standard kube-proxy

North-South architecture
East-West architecture

Design

Each CC is uniquely suited to its specific container orchestration environment and purpose, utilizing the architecture and language appropriate for the environment. Application Developers interact with the platform’s API; the container connectors watch the API for certain events, then act accordingly.


F5 Container Connector framework
For example, when you create an App in Marathon with the F5 application labels applied, the F5 Marathon BIG-IP Controller uses the information defined in the labels to create objects on the BIG-IP device for that App.
If you create an App in Marathon with the “asp: enable” label applied, the F5 Marathon ASP Controller launches an F5 Application Services Proxy instance for the App.

Marathon Container Connector flow

The Container Connector is stateless: the inputs are the container orchestration environment’s config, the BIG-IP device or ASP instance config, and its own config (provided by the container orchestration environment). This means an instance of a Container Connector can be readily discarded. Migrating a CC is as easy as destroying it in one place and spinning up a new one somewhere else. Wherever a Container Connector runs, it always watches the API and attempts to bring the BIG-IP, or ASP, up to date with the most recent applicable configurations.

Product Documentation

See the product documentation for more information about each component.