F5 empowers organizations to build faster, smarter, and safer applications. But the key to getting the most out of your F5 environment is being able to understand the complexities of designing, implementing, and maintaining effective traffic management, security, and access policies. This skillset often goes beyond the capabilities of a typical F5 administrator. You need an F5 Certified Technology Specialist.
What is an F5 Certified Technology Specialist?
To differentiate between skillsets and levels of expertise, F5 offers multiple professional certification programs that allow F5 network administrators to progressively demonstrate their knowledge and experience with advanced F5 products. An F5 Certified Technology Specialist, or F5-CTS, is an individual who has demonstrated their knowledge and expertise in one of the four following areas:
- Local Traffic Management – Working with advanced F5 products from design through implementation and understanding how to integrate local traffic management into existing networks.
- Domain Name System Protocol – Understanding basic operation of Domain Name System Protocol (previously Global Traffic Management) and deploying and testing configurations while troubleshooting misconfigurations.
- Application Security Management – Designing, implementing and maintaining application security management to secure application delivery networks.
- Access Policy Management – Managing application delivery networks and technologies that run on the F5 TMOS operating system.
All F5-CTS candidates must have already met the requirements of an F5 Certified BIG-IP Administrator. This means that they have already passed Exam 101, focusing on application delivery fundamentals, and Exam 201, which tests the candidate on F5’s operating system called Traffic Management Operating System, or TMOS, administration. This certification designates that the administrator has a firm understanding of network protocols, basic traffic management concepts, and TMOS components as well as experience working with virtual servers.
In the hierarchy of F5 certification, the F5-CTS is above the F5 Certified Administrator and below the F5 Certified Solution Expert. The F5-CSE has passed all the CTS level certification exams and taken an additional security exam. Each F5-CTS specialty requires different examinations that test different skillsets and specialties.
How an F5 CTS Can Help Your Organization
While a certified administrator can work on upgrades, application deployment with LTM, simpler installs, and troubleshoot issues connecting to a specific server, an F5-CTS has demonstrated advanced knowledge and experience with F5 products that go beyond basic administration. This means that they can work quickly to optimize certain aspects of an organization’s F5 environment.
The advanced features of F5 devices are powerful and granular. Initial configuration and ongoing maintenance can be quite difficult for administrators mostly familiar with LTM administration. For organizations that rely on detailed global traffic control from F5 DNS, deep knowledge of the DNS protocol and how it’s implemented and configured in the TMOS architecture can by the difference between reliable traffic routing can costly downtime. Incorrect configurations and tunings for ASM and APM can be costly, enabling data loss and inappropriate access to your most vital data. An F5-CTS knows the potential pitfalls and can help you design the best architecture for your organization’s needs.
Thanks to the advanced knowledge and insight they’ve gained throughout their extensive experience with managing different aspects of the F5 environment, an F5-CTS works faster to deploy and troubleshoot than your typical administrator is able.
Design for Future Growth
This advanced knowledge and skillset offer unique insight that enables FE-CTS administrators to help organizations figure out their next move when it comes to optimizing their F5 environment. One wrong design choice can lead your organization down a restrictive path that takes longer to troubleshoot and respond. An F5-CTS will ensure that you’re getting the most out of your F5 technology without having to revamp your setup to fix inefficient design decisions down the road.
To fully utilize your F5 environment according to best practices, you need an F5 administrator who can understand the complexities of your environment, with the certification to prove it. Go beyond basic administration to find a certified expert who can help you take your F5 technology to the next level.