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Introduction to F5 Container Integrations

F5’s Container Integrations make it possible to dynamically allocate BIG-IP L4-L7 services in container orchestration environments. The Container Connectors (‘CCs’) understand the container orchestration environment (‘COE’), thereby providing PaaS-native integrations for F5 BIG-IP devices.

Container Connector Description
cf-bigip-ctlr Integrates BIG-IP as an Application Delivery Controller (ADC) in Pivotal Cloud Foundry, serving North-South traffic.
k8s-bigip-ctlr Configures a BIG-IP device to expose applications in Kubernetes and Red Hat OpenShift clusters as virtual servers, serving North-South traffic.
marathon-bigip-ctlr Configures a BIG-IP device to expose applications in an Apache Mesos Marathon cluster as virtual servers, serving North-South traffic.

North-South 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 BIG-IP Controller for Marathon uses the information defined in the labels to create objects on the BIG-IP device for that App.

Marathon Container Connector flow

The Container Connector is stateless. The inputs are:

  • the container orchestration environment’s config,
  • the BIG-IP device config, and
  • the CC config (provided via the appropriate means for 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 up-to-date with the latest applicable configurations.