Cluster definition is only part of the story here. As mentioned above, administrators also have the ability to define rules to handle traffic flow and load balancing decisions. Coyote Point calls those definitions "Smart Events." The rules work with a number of parameters, such as server load, traffic type, server weighting and connection persistence. While the underlying technology used for traffic-routing decisions is very complex, the E650GX offers rule-creation wizards and a common-sense procedural layout to simplify rule definition.Support for vSphere clusters is powered by Coyote Point's ability to use VMware's APIs, which allows the E650GX to judge loads on virtual servers and then route requests based on virtual server loads as well as on administrator-defined load balancing policies. Coyote Point's support for IPMI (Intelligent Platform Management Interface)-capable servers brings additional capabilities to the E650GX, allowing even more flexibility when it comes to balancing and shaping traffic for virtual and physical servers. The IPMI specification allows third-party products to power servers on and off and remotely execute commands. Administrators can use IPMI-based policies to automatically power up additional servers when traffic loads hit a certain level, and shut down those servers once traffic load drops. I found the interface easy to use in many ways, making it simple to set up many of the unit's capabilities. That simplicity extends to the device's dashboards and reporting menus. The dashboards offer real-time information on how well the device is handling traffic, while reports offer historical information on monitored parameters. The EG650GX offers additional features, such as SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) acceleration, HTTP compression and global/geographic load balancing. SSL acceleration helps to reduce the latency found in HTTPS (HTTP Secure) requests by offloading the packet encryption onto the device. HTTP compression helps to reduce latency by compressing and optimizing HTTP requests. Global/geographic load balancing can be used to balance traffic across geographical clusters, placing requests on servers that are closest to the user, as far as latency and bandwidth are concerned. The EG650GX also offers support for connection persistence, which may be needed for transaction based e-commerce solutions and failover support if a second device is added to the network.
Of course, most of those load balancing and traffic-routing capabilities are expected from a device such as the E650GX. However, the real magic of the E650GX-and the biggest value it offers-comes from its support for VMware's vSphere products. Simply put, that means the E650GX brings application load balancing and traffic shaping to the world of virtual servers.