F5 is a web application firewall and load balancer.
The primary use case of this solution is for data protection and security.
Download the F5 Advanced WAF Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022
F5's Advanced WAF is built on proven F5 technology and goes beyond reactive security such as static signatures and reputation to proactively detect and mitigate bots, secure credentials and sensitive data, and defend against application denial-of-service (DoS). Advanced WAF redefines application security to address the most prevalent threats organizations face today.
Advanced WAF is offered as an appliance, virtual edition, and as a managed service—providing automated WAF services that meet complex deployment and management requirements while protecting your apps with great precision. It is the most effective solution for guarding modern applications and data from existing and emerging threats while maintaining compliance with key regulatory mandates.
Advanced WAF redefines application security to address the most prevalent threats organizations face today:
•Web attacks that steal credentials and gain unauthorized access across user accounts.
•Application layer attacks that evade static security based on reputation and manual signatures.
•New attack surfaces and threats due to the rapid adoption of APIs.
•OWASP Top 10 vulnerabilities
MAXIMUS, Vivo, American Systems, Bangladesh Post Office, City Bank
F5 is a web application firewall and load balancer.
The primary use case of this solution is for data protection and security.
I like all of the features, but the main one is the attack signatures.
If they could separate the control plane from the data plane, it would give us more flexibility, especially with the Hyper Cloud. This could be the reason they purchased NGINX.
They have released the first production release but they are not there yet. It would be good to have this separation in the near future.
Also, automation on the cloud is not easy. It's a bit of a job, and it doesn't auto-scale very well.
They need to work on the BIG-IQ, which is centralized management. There are too many devices. Managing them individually is inconvenient. Essentially, BIG-IQ is supposed to centralize the management for all of the boxes but it's not very effective.
I have been using this solution for more than five years.
The stability is very good.
There is no solution that is bug-free, but when comparing it with other vendors, I would say that F5 is less buggy than the others.
The scalability is an issue at the moment, which is the reason they need to separate the control plane from the data plane.
We are using this solution daily. It runs 24/7.
The technical support is very good. They are knowledgeable and helpful.
The initial setup was simple and it took an hour to deploy.
This solution does not require a lot of maintenance but we need to do the patching regularly.
We do the implementation but at times we get consultations from F5.
It's more expensive than other solutions and depending on the modules, there can be additional fees.
If I would compare F5 with other solutions, the main differences are the support and the stability of the code, it has fewer bugs.
For on-premises deployments I would recommend F5, but for the cloud, it would be questionable.
I would rate this solution a seven of ten.
There is the Simple WAF and the Advanced WAF. We are currently working on the Advanced WAF, but previously, before the Advanced WAF came out, we were just using the Simple WAF.
We use the on-prem version because the cloud solution is not that popular here.
I have a customer here who has multiple applications dealing with the day to day operations. We have deployed the application firewall in the network and most of their web traffic from outside of their network comes into that WAF. This includes the email application Outlook and their own in-house application tools deployed that they use to sell their merchandise. They have a feature where you can transfer money to the other user based on their mobile phone number. So these web applications and in-house tools are the most used applications in their network.
In terms of F5 Advanced WAF's most valuable features, I would definitely say its stability. F5 is one of the most stable products. Either as the load balancer or the web application firewall, it is very stable.
Additionally, the method it uses to block attacks and the logging and support are very good. You can see anything you want in the logging and reporting section of the device, it is very detailed. These are two valuable features from F5.
If I had to summarize what needed improvement, I'd say they are currently in the process of updating their software. But more specifically, I would say their graphical interface, the GUI. I don't like the GUI as much as before, but now I think they're focusing on it. We are getting some new good features in the latest update. But there is still room for improvement on the user interface as well. It's easy to use. It's not difficult but it is not pleasing to the eye. Most of the time you want to see something dynamic, something like the reporting section or the system usage, the CPU, some detailed graphs, anything of that sort. So I guess they have some room for improvement there. Don't make it more complicated, just make it more pleasing to the eye.
We are using the most stable version. Because recently we got an email from F5 suggesting that if you have any user on the 220.127.116.11 that there was a vulnerability on that feature. And it was quite a severe one, so they asked us to immediately update that license to another version.
They currently have 15 versions, but they are not stable. They didn't recommend them to us. So most of the customers in Pakistan are using the 18.104.22.168 version. That is the most stable version and is recommended by F5.
My focus is normally on logging and reporting, because customers always ask for a clear reporting criteria. I would like it if they could simplify the reporting process. If I create something, I want to get a good report on it that I can read in seconds or in minutes. I don't want extra details in it. They should work on the exporting of the logging and reporting.
I have been using Advanced WAF since it came on the market last year. Advanced WAF is the advanced version of WAF which I have been using for three years.
F5 basically starts their hardware model from a 10GB distribution. So it is a good device to start with and in Pakistan we mostly have up to 40 or 60 gigabytes of devices.
As far as scalability is concerned, we already talked to the customer in detail about what kind of traffic they are expecting in the next five or seven years. Then we decide the box on that data basis and normally we don't have to worry about scaling later.
In terms of adding more features on the F5 hardware, that is a question based on the module. If it takes too much of the CPU, then it is difficult and scaling would be difficult with that hardware. If the hardware is not so many CPU's, then we have to dedicate to each module. Then the scalability becomes a bit difficult. But if you already have hardware that has CPU's in abundance, you can add as many modules as you want. There's no problem.
F5 lets you decide if you want to assign a specific module, a dedicated CPU or nominal resources. You can even decide if you want nominal resources or if you want full resources for that specific module. It all depends on the importance of that module in your business application.
If they are a small company, 250 to 500 employees, or less than 250, then we can go for the virtual Edition of the F5, because as I said, the hardware solution starts from a 10GB box. This can handle thousands of requests per second.
It would be a bit costly for a small scale business. If someone wants F5 and he has less applications and nominal users, he can go for the Virtual Edition. Most of the customers in Pakistan who are using F5 are in the banking sector. They have a good amount of users already, 1500, 3000. So mostly we have banks in Pakistan using F5. And I guess also a few in the education sector and businesses. Otherwise, not many small businesses have F5. The one I mentioned that is using AWAF is a big telecom in Pakistan and they have millions of users. It is not for the very small businesses, I guess.
I have had many experiences with customer support, both good and bad. Truthfully, they can improve a bit. There are two methods to engage the F5 support. You either call or email them. It's your choice.
You decide which location you want to call, either the Singapore or UK office, because there is no support in Pakistan. We have to ask for support from either UAE, Singapore, the UK or the US. If I call, I normally prefer to call Singapore, because our region mostly deals with the Singapore head office. Sometimes there's a problem understanding Singaporean language and it's tough to talk to them.
But if you reach out over email, then obviously it is easier. Talking to them on the phone is quite a difficult task. Secondly, if you open a customer request from a portal, we have a customer support portal for the client as well. Normally we get the engineer from UK or Singapore. It also depends on the engineer - sometimes he's very responsive. He will just respond to you in an hour or day. And sometimes you get an engineer who is absent for two, three days and you have to call them and change engineers because the first one is not responding.
In short they have to improve a bit on support.
We mostly deal with F5 and we always ask our customers who want the web application firewall to go for F5. We do have other web solutions as well, like Fortinet FortiWeb, another popular solution. For small businesses, we don't suggest that.
We are gold partners with F5, so we always suggest F5.
In terms of the initial setup, for a person who is a bit experienced it is not that difficult. It is a straightforward device. You follow the same principle and the same steps and you are good to go. Just follow the steps. F5 guides you through the initial configuration, which is another of their features. If you don't want to go for the manual config you can just follow their step by step. Press - next, next, next, next then you have the initial configuration done.
Then you can move to your own configuration according to your network and according to your need. It's an easy device to configure, it's not difficult.
Only the graphical user interface needs some kind of improvement to make it more modern. But as far as the straightforward install is concerned, it's good and easy.
One person is enough for the deployment and for the check.
In terms of how long it takes to deploy Advanced WAF, it depends on the number of applications you have to put behind the F5 number one.
The initial network configuration won't take so long if you have all the required data.
You can set up the initial configuration in an hour or two. But the more applications you add will determine the length of the configuration.
We mostly deploy Advanced WAF in automatic mode. We don't do the manual configuration of the security side. We just put application details there and we let F5 decide the learning process. It normally takes 15 to 20 days to get a good grip on the application, the language, and the do's and don'ts. We let F5 decide.
It takes around 15 to 20 days to get it into the blocking mode. But for the configuration for one application it will hardly take 30 minutes to be configured. It all depends on the amount of applications you have.
My advice is that if you need a web application firewall you should go for F5. It is one of the best solutions in the past six or seven years.
F5 has been the leader in this field. It's a stable solution. One just has to decide their organization's goals in the beginning for the next five years or so. Because if they wrongly select the hardware module, they cannot do the scalability if they want to add a number of modules in the future. So selecting the product should be done with great care. Otherwise, I guess it's okay. If you want a good web application firewall go for F5.
On a scale of one to ten, I would rate F5 Advanced WAF a nine.
I worked with the solution before starting at this new company and I'm now implementing it in my new job. I'm head of security at our company and we are a customer of NGINX Web Application Firewall.
The product is very easy to use and they provide great support. I like the dashboard and reporting.
The scalability could be improved. There is a version with 25 and 200 Mbps, no options in between
I've been using this solution for one year.
It's a stable solution. I haven't had any problems with it.
The technical support is good, I'm happy with it.
The initial setup is straightforward.
I would rate this product an eight out of 10.
We are a system integrator and we design solutions for our customers. We provide all kinds of networking solutions, as well as security, and we are sometimes responsible for the integration as well.
We are partners with F5 and this is one of the solutions that we provide to our clients.
Our customers are organizations, including government departments, who use their firewall for load-balancing purposes. However, for some time now, they have wanted to add an additional layer of security, which is why they implement this solution.
We normally propose the on-premises deployment model to our customers.
This solution is an enterprise-class firewall that provides both load-balancing and security. Once it's deployed, it works smoothly and without issue.
I would like to see the pricing of this solution improved. There are a lot of other products that are trying to compete with this solution, and there are a few now that are very good. I know that F5 doesn't always worry about the pricing because of the branding, but if they want to capture more of the market then they need to consider that not everybody thinks about the brand. Some are concerned with the price, and some of the competitors offer solutions at a lower cost. While it is true that price is only one of the things that people consider, it is one of the major factors that can cause them to lose the battle to a competitor.
This solution can be made more user-friendly.
This is an enterprise-class product, and as long it is deployed properly it is quite stable. We have not had any issues post-deployment. This is one of the reasons that customers are paying for F5.
This is a very scalable solution.
Technical support for this solution is good. We have had a couple of tickets, and it was pretty good.
The complexity of the initial setup is on a case-by-case basis.
If the customer is primarily interested in load-balancing then it is straightforward and it takes a few days. Once the customer is ready with all of their information, it doesn't take much time. In more advanced scenarios, it can take months to fully set up and configure.
Keep in mind that this is an enterprise-level product, so many of the competitors will take less time in setup. Not every engineer can configure F5 WAF.
We perform the integration for our clients. We have our own deployment team that keeps up to date with the latest features in the market. They have the latest training materials and are aware of technical changes that are happening when it comes to these solutions.
When we have this kind of project, one person will be dedicated to the deployment and they will ensure that the solution has been deployed properly. After this, things will be taken care of by the general engineering team. We have a pool of resources who can handle maintenance such as upgrades.
Licensing fees for this solution are paid on a yearly basis.
My advice to anybody who is considering this solution is to have clarity with respect to their own scenario, or application. They have to know what they are expecting out of this deployment. As the system integrator, I may not be sure about the client's applications or how they work internally, so I have to rely on them.
I would rate this solution a nine out of ten.
The anti-bot protection is the solution's most valuable feature. Safe-guard or credential staffing are also useful features.
The templates of the iApps could be better.
The solution's dashboard could be improved. When you're moving from policy to policy, the logs and the integration of the logs in other systems aren't straightforward.
The solution has a lot of training material, but not about integration in a virtual improvement. They should create more documentation around this for users.
The solution is stable.
Technical support is very good. I only use it four ot five times a year. If I find any bugs I post it to their file. It's very good support. They offer excellent service.
The initial setup was very simple. It was just for the machine: the ASM port and the WAF itself, not the deployment of the appliance, which is why it was easy.
I'm an integrator, so I help implement the solution for clients.
The pricing of the solution is very high.
Before selecting this solution, we looked at Kemp. We were concerned with the WAF, which is why we decided not to go with Kemp.
We're using several versions of the solution; anything between versions 12 to 14.
I would recommend the solution. It's the best option for WAF, at least in the last year or so.
I would rate the solution ten out of ten.
This solution inspects your traffic and based on that, automatically create distinct qualities for you, so you can add this to the policy already created. That's what I like most.
I would not expect traffic details to pass through the web application firewall across the length of the whole application. I think that there is a web application where it can let the application function without traffic going in into the WAF.
I think the solution is already being phased out. They are now going for a more advanced option but I'm referring to the web crawler. The web crawler should be able to allow a web application on its own to create policies, rather than wait for traffic to go to the WAF.
There are templates for creating policies, so the initial setup is very straightforward.
I would want to use ASM, or Area Security Manager, which I would rate as seven of ten. That offers lending passability, where the device should be able to lend or call the application and know the component of an application.
The DCI feature is very valuable. The solution is very robust, and I like the setup.
With this solution, you can set distinct perimeters that you can monitor. You can go very granular, which makes it possible to set up very specific perimeters that you are then able to secure.
The solution is tedious. It takes a lot of discrete settings so one needs to get detailed and granular when they use the solution. It takes you a whole lot of energy and concentration to configure. It needs to be much more straightforward, like other web solutions.
They need to have a way to define attack signatures. It might help improve the user experience.
The solution is quite stable. Since 2016, there hasn't been any concern in regards to security.
The solution is highly scalable.
Technical support is excellent. It's top-notch.
The initial setup was very straightforward. The solution is very compact. It takes more than one month for effective deployment.
The solution isn't too expensive. The license allows you to license what you need and leave out what you don't need.
We currently deal with the on-premises deployment model.
I would recommend the solution for use as an efficient firewall. Security is a complex thing, however, and I would advise others to use multiple vendors for different layers.
I would rate the solution ten out of ten.
We use this program 24/7 as a firewall to block malicious requests. We update regularly.
The solution speeds up our web application speed. This increases the availability of our services, because of the web base load balancer. It also improves our application security because of the additional features of the web application firewall. So our website works faster and better and it has a lower impact on our servers.
The features I find most valuable is the behavior analysis and the additional subscription for global threats. It's an additional feature, which I haven't seen in another solution. I also like the DDos protection behavior too, because some DDos are quite a problem and we have problems with it.
I am very happy with the interface, the dashboard, and the reports. Whenever I see a malicious request, I can see if I blocked it and then I can decide if I want to accept or decline. I am therefore completely happy with the ability to report and so on.
This solution is the best out there on the market. One thing that can be improved, is to increase the quantity over predefine policy. I know it's impossible to do it all, but what I would have liked to increase the ready-to-deploy templates with only a few clicks.
I have had no issues with the stability. Even my friends with bigger installation systems are satisfied with the stability. I believe it depends on how many features you use. I have also had no issues with clusters or software update signature updates. I believe this program is even more stable than the Windows server.
Whenever I need more performance, I just buy upgrade licenses and additional license keys. So scalability is a question of paying more. It is simple. Everybody who uses the site employs external clients.
When I asked support for help they answered the same day with the answer. But it was small issues. I haven't had any serious bugs or any troubleshooting.
I have used different products with lower segments in other solutions. Some were magic when it comes to security and availability but they don't provide visibility on how it works, how it secures and so on. And there is no additional protection from both ends to have a behavior analysis. That is why we chose Advanced WAF. We chose it because of its additional features. We need a solution that is stable and that can offer deep analysis.
The installment was straightforward and it took us about two hours. Deployment took a week or maybe two to complete. Complete installation for such a complex system is quite fast.
After buying the program, you just pay for the support every year.
I definitely recommend this solution because of the time you save on analysis. It is a stable program and you get additional features. The more you work on it, the more features you discover. I rate this solution ten out of ten.
The anti-bot protection has been the most valuable.
I think the deployment template can be better, like the iApps they have in the F5 MPM. I think the deployment templates can be better.
The solution is pretty stable.
The technical support is very good. I'm using the F5 technical support, maybe once a quarter. Something like three to five times a year. When I find a bug then I post them to their forum because I'm using it a lot. I can find the bugs. But its very good support.
The initial setup was very simple. The initial setup is done by the machine. The ASM HS, the WAF itself, not the deployment of the application. So it was very simple, I am working with VIP for almost a full year. Something like ninety percent of my activities are F5 related. I specialize in F5 now and everything in F5 is very, very simple.
I'm an integrator.
I think the price is very high. This is what I hear from the customers. Sometimes we cannot sell the product because it is a higher price.
I evaluated a few other options. Kemp, for example, but Kemp is not a WAF it's a load balancer, it's for another model of the F5 so its not related to do WAF. And we're speaking about the WAF.
I would recommend this solution. It would be the best solution for WAF.
I think the dashboard can be improved. When you move from the policy to policy, the logs and the integration of the logs are without a system. Maybe make it like other SIEM systems and system servers like Splunk. They do have a lot of training videos and manuals. This helps. But not really about integration or feature improvement.
I would rate this solution a ten out of ten.
We use F5 Advanced WAF to protect some of our web applications and web services. We use F5 Advanced WAF as a web application firewall in production.
Our clients are liable for the security of applications on the internet because they are in the banking services sector.
In this case, we used a few long-term models because F5 Advanced WAF is a complete solution. Our customers do not only use this model.
F5 Advanced WAF is similar to other solutions used for a lot of projects.
It's feasible for our customers to improve on their protection ability within the applications from secondary attacks, i.e. MySQL injection.
Each company is liable for the security of the customers using the service.
With F5 Advanced WAF, it was protection for online publications and for our customers that caused us to choose the platform. It was integrated by our company and not the dealer.
For F5 Advanced WAF, it's only 70% different over time with upgrades. F5 can still build AWS support after many long years of absence. It's difficult to use.
F5 Advanced WAF needs better integration within the application, like remote dashboards. The pricing is too high. It needs better security features with the interface or dashboard.
We go through some problems with the Disc Doctor services and F5 was recommended to fix or avoid the same situation in the future.
F5 now is the product we use for the web products to have a web application firewall.
We need better integration in the application and more security features in the future.
F5 Advanced WAF is very stable.
The technical support of F5 I didn't use, but I heard people like the feature. I haven't needed it personally.
We have used some other products but they didn't have enough functionality. You can launch media adaptation for variety with F5. That is one of the biggest advantages of this solution.
In the market now there is a lot of information on the setup of F5 Advanced WAF. You can look for it on the company website. I didn't use F5 support directly, just the materials.
F5 Advanced WAF is not a cheap product.
My advice is to recommend F5 Advanced WAF for use. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate F5 Advanced WAF a nine.
We use the F5 Web Application firewall to protect our corporate web server. The security of our web is our absolute highest priority.
We've only been using this solution for six months now, so we can't really see any improvement yet.
The most valuable feature is network detection intelligence and the ability to get extra internal access. I don't have knowledge about all the functions but, because it is a fully automatic process, the devices scan a lot of traffic. It is automatically set up to protect our web.
The administrator's user interface and some of the settings can sometimes be very complicated to understand. It would really help if they could be easier and more user-friendly. Perhaps the developers can add a training video that shows users what to do. I am sure it is a good product and you only need some experience to become familiar with it.
Another thing that may need improvement, is upgrading from one version to another. It is good, but it can be faster.
It is a very stable solution. We currently have three administrators and about 300 users working on it.
The scalability is great because we can change or set this device up for almost everything. We can even extend to other functions and buy new licenses - this product will automatically adapt to these new functions. For example, we can buy a license and F5 will automatically extend to these functions. It is a very simple process to extend functionality to this device. You only need to install the license and configure it.
The technical support is perfect. Our company is a corporate partner, and we can also use services directly from other international support centers.
It was a very difficult decision to find the right solution. We used open source software before to protect our system's open source architecture.
We switched to F5 WAF because, for us, professional services are absolutely necessary. There are other cheaper options on the market, but when you need support, it can sometimes be a problem.
We've incorporated our partner and he initiated the setup of this device. He used both the manual and the automatic setup options, and then he compared the two options. And now, as we are in production, we choose either automatic setup or manual setup. The automatic setup is quite easy, but the manual setup is complicated. It all depends on what you want from the product.
Our partner was responsible for the initial setup.
I will rate the product a nine out of ten.
In general, the web interface is not really catchy. It's very powerful, very customizable, but it doesn't have a very nice GUI interface for a new adopter. For them, they'd have to do a lot of configuring. At least the reporting and monitoring parts, let's say, to be honest, should have a better interface. A few other products have very nice dashboards, out of the box, and F5 is not that friendly to use.
Also, when you buy WAF, you have to buy another module called APM to do authentication. You have to buy another module with an extra license, to have the authentication feature. Other vendors have it interwoven. For example, I don't know if Barracuda has it, but Citrix has it under the same license. So maybe add authentication functionality in the AOS license, and not separate.
The stability is perfect. 10 out of 10. We've not had any trouble with any deployment ever. And they are very big deployments: service providers, TelCos, banking, everywhere. Even on distant parts of the network, we have not had any kind of performance issues. Of course, as long as the sizing is within the appliance performance range. But it never has had a failure in performance or degradation of service or anything like this, as long as the full-time traffic is within the box capability, we've never had an issue.
We are a partner for F5, or a system integrator, not the client. So we do the implementation for other companies. I've been working with F5 for more than 10 years, so I know them very well.
I like them because I like the security solution. They get extra marks compared to other solutions or competitors. There are more features than any other product I can think of. They're always monitoring, and the security features offer more than other, lesser products.
I would rate this solution 10 out of 10.
We are a PPS payment providing services company in banking, so, we are using it for that. We are banking company and we are using it as a web application firewall.
We have an SOC, and for collecting logs we are also using the F5 logs to analyze the securities and events. So having a central log management and F5 really helped us to analyze the security logs. It also helps with blocking the attacks on web applications.
Everything is good about the F5 WAF, except the reporting. It's really difficult to set records from that device, the UI is kind of hard to work with, and the reporting must be improved.
As a suggestion to the F5 company, they have to put in shells to have the next generation WAF. So, instead of buying different modules and different hardware and appliances, they can offer an all-in-one solution for WAF.
The initial setup was was easy to install. Our department wasn't installing it, the infrastructure department installed it, so we gave them the policy that we wanted to use.
Because of the sanctions, we couldn't buy it straight from the US, so we bought it from an Iranian company. They provided us that solution. The company that sold us the device also had some people to consult with us to give us best practices from the previous companies that installed it.
I think it's a good product but the F5 uses shells, so the people who want to work with the device have to be pro in Linux. If they can put everything in the UI so every regular security engineer can work with it, it's fabulous.
I would rate the solution 8 out of 10. We are concerned about the other factors but it's actually not F5 company's fault. The pricing is really high here right now because of the dollar rate but it has nothing to do with the F5, it's because of the sanctions I imagine. At the moment it's a really expensive solution for us, not only F5 but the other appliances.
If I went to another company, and the other company hired me, I would suggest they use this device. Although we don't have a lot of options to choose from around here.