How to Choose the Right App Delivery Controller

eWEEK DATA POINTS: Many of today’s ADC solutions are based on architecture designed 20 years ago and now lack agility, flexibility and customizability. But now companies across industries (and especially in e-commerce, banking, health and technology) require radically different ADC solutions.

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Since the development of application delivery controllers (ADCs) in the early 2000s, demand for these solutions has steadily grown. In 2015, a study by Orbis Research found that at the time, the global ADC market was about $4 billion; it is expected to reach $9.8 billion by 2022. But this increase in demand was not followed by a steady increase in technological advances in this market.  

Many of today’s ADC solutions are based on architecture designed 20 years ago and now lacks agility, flexibility and customizability.  But now companies across industries (and especially in e-commerce, banking, health and technology) require radically different ADC solutions.

Beyond general network optimization, enterprises have found they require ADCs that not only perform application acceleration and load balancing within their own physical networks, but they also need solutions that can integrate with applications and infrastructure in the cloud to improve performance and availability. This is why new software-based ADC solutions--as opposed hardware applicances--are necessary; they provide performance, cost benefits and flexibility that were previously unavailable.

In this eWEEK Data Points article, web services provider Snapt suggests key features to look for in an ADC solution to ensure that an enterprise's applications and services stay online, perform fast and remain secure. Snapt and others in this growing market provide load balancing, acceleration and security for critical services. Other providers include F5 Networks, A10, Citrix, NGINX, PulseSecure and AWS.

Data Point No. 1: There's a need to manage apps and DevOps together.

A solution is needed that solves the technical and philosophical differences between the needs of DevOps and the current and future market, and what the ADCs of today provide. Look for a solution that is software-based and is simple to implement and manage, not hardware solutions based on legacy equipment that are resource-intensive with complicated and unnecessary systems. An offering that is easy to use and deploy, is supported well and has all the features that enterprises require or may require in the future including, load balancing, web acceleration, scaling, ADC, disaster recovery and high availability.

Data Point No. 2: It's all about performance.

A solution is needed that cares about the performance of the application, not just the availability of it. Look for a complete solution that monitors connection times, response times, server load, HTTP/S errors and more.

Data Point No. 3: It must understand all the valid data. 

A solution is needed that understands, analyzes and communicates valid data. Have your app servers slowed down since last night's deployment? Are HTTP error rates increasing? Ensure that your ADC understands the critical metrics for your performance and scale.

Data Point No. 4: Solution must be able to monitor multiple data streams.

A solution is needed that truly operates at Layer 7. Look for a product that can monitor HTTP replies, intercept error codes and prevent downtime at any cost.

Data Point No. 5: This cannot get in the way of DevOps processes.

A solution that doesn’t get in the way of the DevOps process.  Look for a product that functions as a trusted solution in the flow of the engineer. ADC should stay out of the way – be easy to deploy, control, and extract performance metrics from.

Data Point No. 6:  No hardware need apply. 

A solution that does this in pure software. To keep up with today’s hybrid environments and future technology needs, your solution should be able to be deployed on any VM platform, bare-metal, container, or public or private cloud. 

Data Point No. 7:  Must do it all and be simple in doing it.

A flexible, all-inclusive and un-complicated solution.  Look for a solution that includes a web accelerator, load balancing, web application firewall and 24/7 support with SLA guarantees, and that can be deployed anywhere and on any VM/cloud/system.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 15 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...