Gartner is a leading authority in all things IT, so it’s pays to know what Gartner experts highlight or recommend in their reports. And it’s considering these reports that ADAPTURE experts continue their research into and dialogue concerning Gartner’s most recent Magic Quadrant nominees. See our earlier MQ discussions on ADC, EPP, Enterprise Network Firewalls, IaaS, SIEM, SSA, IPS, and Integrated Systems.
As an authorized Atlanta F5 Guardian Level partner, today we focus on how F5 Networks took the lead in the Web Application Firewalls (WAF) Magic Quadrant.
F5 Networks first made its appearance in the WAF Gartner Magic Quadrant in June 2014, when it proved itself squarely in the upper righthand corner of the “Challengers” quadrant. From the very beginning, F5 confidently led the pack—in Gartner’s terms—in both “Ability to Execute” (upward movement) and “Completeness of Vision” (movement from left to right). In July 2015, F5 made more progress by moving upwards considerably in the “Challengers” quadrant and shifting slightly towards the right, closer to the boundary line of the “Leaders” quadrant. In both 2014 and 2015, F5 was positioned well-above other “Challengers” Citrix, Akamai, and Barracuda Networks.
The most recent Gartner WAF MQ, released in August 2017, shows a huge leap made by F5, both upwards and to the right yet again. But this time, F5 has landed itself squarely at the top of the “Leaders” quadrant, maintaining a generous lead above fellow leading contenders Imperva and Akamai.
Four Years to the Lead
It’s a great honor to be listed in any section and under any category of the prestigious Gartner Magic Quadrants, whether it be “Niche Players,” “Visionaries,” or otherwise. F5’s 2014 debut positioning in the “Challengers” quadrant was impressive as is; their leap to the elite “Leaders” box by 2017 was an extraordinary feat. The forward movement made by the company in just four years is representative of the groundbreaking innovation and dedication to excellence that F5 exemplifies in its products and services.
Gartner’s Verdict on Silverline
According to Gartner, F5 is one of the most often cited vendors in WAF appliance shortlists due to its highly-vetted and effective security and monitoring services. The company’s dedication to providing innovative “behavior-based anomaly detections” and utilizing both a positive security model and a negative security model, has made it a strong asset to security-conscious organizations who are looking for scalable WAF solutions, both on-premise, in the cloud or a hybrid approach.
Gartner goes on to include an overview of F5’s industry strengths, detailing the advantages of the company’s service-integration into standard DevOps platforms as well as its scalable Big-IP platform portfolio—cloud users can seamlessly bundle WAF with comprehensive access management and load-balancing capabilities for “clean architecture with single-pass decryption.” F5 built these appliances specifically to enable high levels of “customization, SSL decryption mirroring to other security solutions, [and] unified building and learning.”
Other Gartner-highlighted F5 service offerings include:
- Access Policy Manager (APM)
- Identity and Access Management (IAM)
- Web Fraud Protection Services
- DDoS Scrubbing
It’s important to note that F5 customers also report positively on the high-performance ability and quality of the company’s on-premise and cloud-based security modules.
DDoS scrubbing, the last item on the list above, can be found in F5’s newest service offering, Silverline WAF Express. As a fully managed, cloud-based protection suite, Silverline “mitigates large-scale, SSL, or application-targeted attacks in real-time—defending [businesses] from even those attacks that exceed hundreds of gigabits per second.” Customers have responded well to the agile, easy-to-deploy self-service portal as well as its click-to-deploy service applications in public cloud environments.
Rounding out this offering is the inclusion of F5’s Hybrid DDoS Defender on the Herculon hardware providing an organization with the ability to seamlessly push a DDoS attack to the Silverline cloud for scrubbing when a certain traffic capacity is reached. The hybrid solution bridges the gap between an on-prem solution and a cloud-only solution. It gives the organization the ability to defend DDoS attacks at their premise and remove the threat without human intervention. Protecting you whether you can see the attack or not is the proactive approach that makes this offering so attractive to Gartner and other organizations.
What it Takes to Lead (and Catch Gartner’s Attention)
According to market chatter, F5’s 2017 move to the WAF “Leaders” MQ is due in great part to the efficiency and innovation of its Silverline services. When asked for his take on the subject of the Gartner nomination, Ben Gibson, EVP and CMO at F5, believes that the company’s movement is also due to “the trust [that] customers place in F5 WAF solutions as they [seek to] protect their applications on-premises and, increasingly, in the cloud.” Quite simply, F5 experts paid close attention to the needs of their customers and built security solutions to match. They did not allow the pace of cloud innovation to outmatch the protection that they offered their clients.
When it comes to the “Leaders” quadrant, Silverline has truly become the F5 pace-setter.