F5 Networks, also called F5, is a Seattle-based technology company that specializes in application delivery networks and various application and network security solutions. F5 Networks has been headquartered in what is known as the F5 Tower in Seattle, Washington, as of 2019. Prior to that year, it was located in a different building in Elliott Bay. F5 Networks has seventy-six office locations worldwide, including US locations in Boston, San Jose, and Spokane and in countries such as Europe, United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, India, and Japan. F5 states that forty-eight of the Fortune 50 companies use F5 Networks for their technology needs.
In February 1996, F5 Labs was founded by both Jeff Hussey and Mike Almquist. Almquist is little-known as the company's cofounder, having left his position after just a few years and before the company went public. The company's name changed to F5 Networks in 1999. Jeff Hussey remained the president of F5 Networks until July 2000, at which point John McAdam took over the roles of both president and CEO. In July 2015, Manuel Rivelo, who was F5's Executive Vice President of Strategic Solutions, took over McAdam's positions for just five months before resigning due to "personal conduct matters" within the company. McAdam resumed his roles until F5 found its next president. In April 2017, François Locoh-Donou took over both roles and is the president and CEO as of 2021.
In 1997, F5 Networks launched its first product, a load balancer called BIG-IP. Earnings were slim at first; F5 ended that financial year with total earnings of just $200,000. The next year proved much more profitable for BIG-IP, earning the company $4.7 million in 1998. In September 1998, they released another load balancer, the 3DNS Controller. In June 1999, F5 Networks completed its initial public offering (IPO) and was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The stock's price soared at first, going from an initial $10 per share to $144 by the end of 1999, a 1,040% increase in six months. After reaching a high of $160 per share in January 2000, it began dropping more and more as the dot com bubble progressed over the year. Dot com companies made up 80% of F5's revenue, and their subsequent failings due to the bubble burst contributed to the sharp decline of the company's share price. On December 29, 2000, the last trading day of the year, F5's share price was just $4.75, the lowest it had fallen all year.
John McAdam became the new president of F5 Networks in July 2000. After the year ended and the stock was at its current all time low share price, he laid off 15% of F5's staff in January 2001 in an effort to minimize expenses and increase profits. In 2001, F5 Networks became distribution partners with the companies Nokia and Dell Computer, which granted them a new customer base made up of mostly large corporations. These customers began to make up the majority of F5's business.
Over the proceeding years to date, F5 has released new products, expanded their services, and acquired several companies. Share prices increased over time, rapidly so in 2010. That year, F5 opened with a share price of $53.35. By the end of the year, the stock closed at $133.68. This was pivotal for the company; the lowest the share price would fall from this point on was to $69.25 in August 2011.
F5 Networks separates its services into four categoric solutions: security, performance, automation, and insight.
F5's security solutions are broken down into subsects of application and network securities, online fraud prevention, and access control and authorization. Solutions within these various securities include user credential protection, bot management, ATO prevention, frictionless authentication, SSL/TLS visibility, DNS and DDoS attack protection, single sign-on, and more.
Within F5's performance solutions are application performance and infrastructure and application availability. Application performance solutions include accelerated and optimized application performance and optimized API performance. Infrastructure and application availability include load balancing, DDoS attack prevention, and Kubernetes management.
F5's automation solutions include DevOps deployment and multi-cloud management. Within DevOps is automated app delivery, distributed cloud services, and blue-green deployments. Multi-cloud management solutions offer SAAS-based multi-cloud networking and ways to control apps across multiple clouds.
F5's insight solutions include troubleshooting and visualization. Within this they offer troubleshooting applications and app otimization solutions, which include portfolio management, app-centric visibility and analytics, programmatic traffic management, and more.
F5 offers the following products:
- Advanced WAF (security service)
- Beacon Visibility & Analytics (application performance)
- BIG-IP (load balancer)
- BIG-IQ Centralized Management (application management)
- DDoS Hybrid Defender (security service)
- Global Server Load Balancing (load balancer)
- NGINX (application platform)
- Shape Security (security service)
- Silverline Managed Services (security service)
- SSL Orchestrator (security service)
- Volterra (application delivery)
F5 Networks has a wide range of alliances as well as partners of its Technology Alliance Program. Some technology alliances with F5 include Alibaba Cloud, Cisco, IBM, Intel, Red Hat, Microsoft Azure, and more. Together, these companies have already created new mutual solutions for F5 customers.
F5's Technology Alliance Program, or TAP, has many more partners. The purpose of the program is for similar technology companies to partner with F5 and develop their own joint solutions to cater to diverse company needs. F5 Networks has seventy-nine partners in its TAP as of 2021. They include Cortado, DFLabs, OPSWAT, SovLabs, WhiteHat Security, Apiiro, Genie Networks, and more.