F5 has been in the business of application delivery since the mid 90's and they are one of the industry leading providers of network load balancers. They are famous for their BIG IP product line with one of the most popular "modules" being the Local Traffic Manager, or LTM. If this is the first time that you've heard of this company, just know that BIG IP's help make some of the worlds largest websites and application deployments work.
For all of you that have been chomping at the bit to get some hands on experience with LTMs, but the "application guys" or the "data center guys" or the "whoever manages your F5 load balancer guys" never let you get near them, then have I got some news for you!
F5 is offering a free 90-day trial of their LTM virtual appliance (you have to provide a valid email to receive the licenses). While you are downloading that, check out the video of the installation by one of their developers to see what to expect.
I have installed LTMs a couple times, once for a web app with a SQL backend, and another time for an enterprise HR application. Both times took some assistance from F5 support to figure out the iRules, but other than that it was pretty straight forward. However, it definitely would have been helpful to have gone through the process of playing with a LTM virtual appliance in a lab to get more hands on and play with the system.
Where's the free training?
On top of the trial version of the LTM, you can go through the F5 University to get a full-blown, web-based course on how to configure just about anything on the BIG IP LTM... for Free!
So, go download the trial, watch the video to see how to get the appliance up and running, then grab a big cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage and become an F5 University Graduate.
Here are a few screenshots to see what the interface looks like: