Just about every IT organization managing a data center has deployed a load balancer, also known as a proxy server. But as load balancers have evolved into application delivery controllers (ADCs), a lot of those organizations couldn’t afford to make the leap forward to more granular control over application delivery.
A10 Networks this week moved to rectify that issue with the unveiling of new versions of its Thunder series ADCs that are aimed squarely at small-to-medium-size business (SMB) customers that are just now making the transition to 10G Ethernet.
According to Peter Nicholson, director of product marketing for A10 Networks, a big part of the reason that ADC adoption has not been anywhere near as broad as load balancers is that until now the cost of an ADC was usually beyond the means of an SMB organization. A10 Networks addresses that issue, in part, because the core platform incorporates industry standard Intel processors alongside solid-state drives (SSDs) in a 1u rack to drive high levels of performance at price points an SMB organization can absorb.
In addition to providing integration with a variety of emerging software-defined networking (SDN) products and technologies, ADCs from A10 Networks include a firewall, the ability to manage SSL intercepts, IPv6 address migrations and network address translations (NAT). According to Nicholson, it’s the firewall and the SSL management capabilities that, from an application perspective, help make ADCs a critical element of any compliance strategy in a way that actually lowers the total cost of providing IT security.
Because of compliance regulations, Nicholson says a lot of smaller IT organizations are now being asked to prove they have control over specific applications. An ADC, in contrast to a basic load balancer, provides the mechanism through which the IT organizations can exercise the level of required control.
One of the primary benefits of ADCs is that they centralize the management of application delivery in the data center, and give IT organizations to ability to prioritize which applications get served first. In a world where not all applications are created equal in terms of business value, that level of command and control is now a prerequisite for IT success.