F5 Networks

F5, Inc.
S&P 500 Component
PredecessorF5 Labs, F5 Networks
FoundedFebruary 26, 1996; 24 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
5,325 (2020)
Websitewww.f5.com Edit this at Wikidata

F5, Inc. is an American company that specializes in application services and application delivery networking (ADN). F5 technologies focus on the delivery, security, performance, and availability of web applications, including the availability of computing, storage, and network resources. F5 is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, with additional development, manufacturing, and administrative offices worldwide.

F5's offering was originally based on a load-balancing product,[3] but has since expanded to include acceleration, application security, and DDoS defense. F5 technologies are available in data center and cloud environments.

Corporate history

F5 Inc, originally named "F5 Labs,"[4], and formerly branded "F5 Networks, Inc." was established in 1996.[5] Currently their public facing branding[6] generally presents the company as just "F5."

In 1997, F5 launched its first product[7] 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.[8]

In 2010 and 2011, F5 Networks was on Fortune's list of 100 Fastest-Growing Companies.[9] The company was also rated one of the top ten best-performing stocks by S&P 500 in 2010.[10] F5 was also named a Best Place to Work by online jobs and recruiting site Glassdoor in 2015 and 2016.[11]

Competitors included Cisco Systems (until 2012),[12] Citrix Systems, and Radware.

François Locoh-Donou replaced John McAdam as president and CEO on April 3, 2017.[13]

On May 3, 2017, F5 announced[14] 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 occurred 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[15]
  • Magnifire WebSystems (web application firewall) for US$29 million in 2004[16]
  • Swan Labs (WAN acceleration and web acceleration) for US$43 million in 2005.[17]
  • Acopia Networks (file virtualization) for US$210 million in 2007[18]
  • DPI intellectual property from Crescendo Networks in 2011 (amount undisclosed)[19]
  • Traffix Systems (Diameter protocol switching technology) in 2012 (amount undisclosed)[20]
  • LineRate Systems in 2013 (high-performance, software-based Load Balancer for x86 systems with node.js datapath scripting)[21]
  • Versafe (anti-fraud, anti-phishing, and anti-malware solutions)[22] for US$87.7 Million in 2013[23]
  • Defense.Net (cloud-based DDoS mitigation service)[24] for US$49.4 million in 2014[25]
  • CloudWeaver formerly Lyatiss (Application Defined Networking) in 2015 (amount undisclosed)[26]
  • NGINX, Inc. (web server and application server vendor) for US$670 million on March 11, 2019[27]
  • Shape Security (application security) for US$1 billion on December 19, 2019[28]



F5's BIG-IP product family comprises hardware, modularized software, and virtual appliances that run the F5 TMOS operating system.[29][30] 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 on 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,[31] 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.[30][32][33]
  • 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. In July 2020 F5 admitted a remote code execution (RCE) vulnerability in the BIG-IP Traffic Management User Interface (TMUI). An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to take control of an affected system.[34]

Because of the severity of this vulnerability (CVE-2020-5902), F5 recommended updating BIG-IPs to the latest version and provided additional mitigation details in a security advisory. "K52145254: TMUI RCE vulnerability CVE-2020-5902". f5.com.


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 managed security service. Its offerings include security services such as WAF, DDoS, and Anti-Bot protection services. The Silverline services are enabled by BIG IP ASM, Shape, and NGINX technology platforms.

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:[35]

  • 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.

Shape AI Fraud Engine (SAFE)[edit]

SAFE is a SaaS offering designed to eliminate fraudulent online transactions by evaluating them via AI in order to understand intent and block potential fraud before it happens. The application leverages the technology acquired from Shape Security.[36]


  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. ^ "How F5 Networks built an empire on controlling the internet". Information Age. 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  4. ^ http://www.alacrastore.com/storecontent/Thomson_Venture_Economics/F5_Networks_Inc_AKA_F5_Labs_Inc-Y45115
  5. ^ "F5 Networks Form 10-K". Retrieved 2012-05-02.
  6. ^ https://www.f5.com/pdf/f5/F5-Creative-Guidelines.pdf
  7. ^ Rossi, Ben. "How F5 Networks built an empire on controlling the internet". Information Age.
  8. ^ "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.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "100 Fastest-growing companies". CNN. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  10. ^ Frank Byrt. "10 Best-Performing S&P 500 Stocks of 2010". TheStreet. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  11. ^ "Glassdoor - Best Places to Work". Glassdoor. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  12. ^ Duffy, Jim (2012-09-19). "Cisco's exit from ADCs should come as no surprise". NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  13. ^ "F5 names new CEO after yearlong search". The Seattle Times. January 30, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  14. ^ "F5 Networks will move HQ to glitzy new Seattle skyscraper, to be called 'F5 Tower'". geekwire.com. 3 May 2017. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  15. ^ "Quick Takes: F5 lassos uRoam". Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  16. ^ John Leyden (July 1, 2004). "F5 snaps up MagniFire". The Register. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  17. ^ "F5 to acquire Swan Labs". Archived from the original on 2009-06-21. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
  18. ^ "F5 Networks Completes Acquisition of Acopia Networks". Retrieved 2010-08-17.
  19. ^ "F5 Acquires Intellectual Property Assets of Crescendo Networks". Archived from the original on 14 January 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  20. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires Traffix Systems". Archived from the original on 2 May 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  21. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires LineRate Systems". Retrieved 11 Feb 2013.
  22. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires Versafe to Help Customers Protect Against Online Fraud". Retrieved 2 Nov 2013.
  23. ^ 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.
  24. ^ "F5 Networks Acquires Defense.Net". Retrieved 5 Aug 2014.
  25. ^ "Form 10-K - ANNUAL REPORT 2014". EDGAR. 2014-11-26. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  26. ^ "F5 Networks owns CloudWeaver". File Storage Technologies Blog - Ph. Nicolas. 2015-01-06.
  27. ^ "F5 Acquires NGINX to Bridge NetOps & DevOps, Providing Customers with Consistent Application Services Across Every Environment". F5 Networks. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  28. ^ "F5 to Acquire Shape Security | F5". www.f5.com. Retrieved 2020-01-26.
  29. ^ Steven Iveson (2013-04-20). "What the Heck Is F5 Networks' TMOS?". packetpushers.net. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  30. ^ a b Ryan Kearny; Steve Graves (2008-12-14). "No operating system is an island". embedded.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  31. ^ "What The Heck Is F5 Networks' TMOS? - Packet Pushers -". Packet Pushers. 2013-04-20. Retrieved 2016-12-01.
  32. ^ "Manual Chapter: Understanding Core System Services". f5.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  33. ^ "Overview of BIG-IP Traffic Management Microkernel (TMM) CPU and RAM usage". f5.com. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  34. ^ https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2020/07/04/f5-releases-security-advisory-big-ip-tmui-rce-vulnerability-cve
  35. ^ "F5 Delivers Application Services for a Multi-Cloud World". f5.com. Retrieved 2017-08-28.
  36. ^ Gagliordi, Natalie. "F5 Networks intros new fraud detection engine based on Shape Security acquisition". ZDNet. Retrieved 2020-10-07.

External links

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


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