ADC Consolidation: Handle with Care

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Similar to server consolidation, application delivery controller (ADC) consolidation can provide significant benefits to the data center. These benefits include higher utilization of existing ADC infrastructure, reduced ADC hardware costs and significant savings of operational costs such as power consumption, rack space and annual service costs.

However, ADC consolidation presents significant challenges and risks that must be addressed before initiating an ADC consolidation project.  When examining the existing architecture of the ADC in the data center, we find dedicated ADC devices in front of mission-critical applications. Usually, these ADCs are assigned to a single mission-critical application and are not shared between several applications. These devices are not shared between applications for a reason – the architects of the data center want to guarantee the availability and the performance of those applications. So how can we consolidate these ADC devices without impacting application delivery, availability and performance?

One way to consolidate ADCs is to deploy several mission-critical applications on a single high-performing ADC device, and to hope that the combined throughput of all applications won’t reach the limit of the consolidated ADC device. But, what happens if one application suddenly requires high CPU utilization? Consolidated ADC device must guarantee the resources of each application in order to prevent a scenario where high CPU utilization of one application affects the performance of other mission-critical applications that run on the same device.

Another risk of ADC consolidation is failures in the ADC that might affect all the ADC services that run in the consolidated ADC. When each ADC is deployed in front of a single application, a failure in the ADC affects only a single application. But this is not the case when several applications share the same ADC, and hence several applications might fail. Therefore, a consolidated ADC must guarantee that a failure in one ADC service won’t affect the rest of the services that run on the same ADC.

Additional challenges that must be handled in a consolidated ADC are capacity planning and resource allocation to the different applications, ease of management of several applications on the same device, traffic isolation and more.

To summarize, ADC consolidation can provide great benefits to the data center, but it requires a solution that meets the challenges and the risks that are associated with consolidation projects.

Ronen

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