I've seen older f5's on ebay for about $500 for a pair. I've heard they work great for load balancing, but I'm trying to figure out what the ongoing costs for them are. Does anyone know what kind of licensing and/or subscription you need to get for these things to make sure the firmware is current? Or is there even a license required? Can I just buy for the $500, set up, and go?


I can tell you for sure that you would have to pay for license upgrades based on capacity of some LB features. For example, a company I worked for have upgraded license several times to expand simultaneous SSL sessions capacity of LB setup from 25 to 50 and later to 100 (used for HTTPS offloading).

Unfortunately, I'm not sure about F5's terms regarding basic OS upgrades, etc. Looks like their licensing policy is quite flexible and you'd better to consult with their sales representatives on that topic.



I suggest you call F5 and ask them.


They're easy to talk to and friendly, in my experience.

  • except they won't call me back. Maybe I should avoid mentioning "buying used equipment" in my message ? – Zak Oct 6 '09 at 0:47
  • Give it a shot. – Brian Dunbar Oct 6 '09 at 14:59
  • still not calling back.. Based on this I'm going to skip the whole f5 experience. Screw those guys. – Zak Oct 21 '09 at 19:29
  • Sorry about that. I really like the F5 units we have - our first unit is still operating with no errors after six years in service. Check that - a year ago it issued a false warning error - it went away after a restart. On the other hand, we might have a need for an SSL Accelerator: this is a software unlock you just add on after paying for it. Took two tries to get their sales guy to acknowledge me. And his response was 'getting a quote from a reseller for you'. That was two days ago. – Brian Dunbar Oct 22 '09 at 21:40

The software functions much like a Red Hat subscription - the support and current software version are a package deal. Typically the yearly subscription is not cheap costing upwards of several thousand dollars. That being said, you do get what you pay for. The support is world class as Brian mentioned (the sales guys as you discovered maybe not so much) and they will typically try to give you guidance even in areas that are not covered under the support contract. For example, they will give you one free support case if your contract is expired and will typically do their best to point you towards specific Apache changes or similar if they can and generally seem to try to go above and beyond.

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