nexumlogoOn the first day of the SecureWorld Expo I was fortunate enough to attend a FREE LTM Workshop being hosted by a company called Nexum.  For those who are not familiar with the company, Nexum is an information security company which is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.  They offer a wide array of services, all of which are explained in detail on their website @

So what was covered in this “Nexum LTM Workshop”?  Quite a bit actually and it was all very well planned out.  The workshop was lead by a gentlemen named Peter Maag, who is a Senior Security Expert with Nexum.  I believe that part of what made this event so much fun for me was that it was obvious that Mr. Maag knew his stuff and (of course) I like talking about the capabilities of the BIG-IP line. 

Peter began by giving a brief introduction, explaining who he was and the services provided by Nexum.  I have to admit that I was unaware that Nexum was such a versatile company.  I believe it is so versatile and one of the fastest growing private companies because of them hiring and keeping talent like Mr. Maag around.  But that is a different philosophical discussion that perhaps I will touch on at some other time.  If I ever take up being a philosopher.

Then after the intro… it was f5 time!  For those in the audience not familiar with the BIG-IP product line Peter gave an overview of products available from f5 Networks.  He took the time to provide a clear picture of each modules functionality and I feel that he did the products justice.  He then steered the presentation to the real meat of the workshop which was the LTM module.  Virtual Servers, Pool Members and Nodes were all explained as well as the basics of configuring load balancing.  We spent some time discussing the full proxy architecture of the LTM module and we where then guided through a load balancing demo.

This lead into a discussion about monitors, persistence profiles, SSL termination and ended with a demo over those concepts.  There were a few questions at this point, as members of the audience asked questions such as “How long are self signed certificates valid for if they are generated on the f5 BIG-IP?” and “What are the different methods available for Cookie Persistence?”.  All of which were answered concisely and followed up with live demonstrations performed on a BIG-IP unit running TMOS version 10.x.  How cool is that?

We then went into a discussion about iRules.  Peter provided a number of examples of how to use iRules to pull off complicated tasks very easily.  In one example he showed how you could direct web traffic coming from an iPhone to a different set of servers than the ones used to serve up content to standard desktop browsers.  To augment the workshop Nexum provided an excellent booklet which just so happens to have a very handy page that lists almost all of the iRule Events that can be used in iRule generation.

We went over several other things, but the jest of this entry isn’t to really rehash everything that we covered.  The purpose is to encourage everyone using the LTM module to go check one of these workshops out.  Peter Maag did a phenomenal job explaining things for newcomers and veterans alike, which is not an easy thing to do.  To summarize, if you have just recently purchased an f5 BIG-IP product or are looking into purchasing one, attend one of these workshops.  You will walk away a wiser person and I cannot think of a better way to sell someone on f5 BIG-IP products.  Once you see it in action you will be wondering why you have stuck with Brand X for so long.

My next entry will be over the value of attending the SecureWorld Expo.  Is it worth the cost if you had to pay for it out of your own pocket?  What are the driving reasons for one to attend such an event?  I will be asking those questions and more soon and you may be surprised by my conclusions.  Stay tuned.


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