It has been a while since Cisco announced end-of-life for its Application Control Engine (ACE) products. The last date of support, January 31, 2019, is fast approaching. If you rely on ACE for load balancing in your environment, it is time to migrate and look to the future.
Key considerations for migrating from Cisco ACE:
Consolidate & Virtualize
The data center has evolved from a purely physical space to computing and data resources that are sometimes co-located in a shared space, virtualized across hardware and stored on private and/or hybrid clouds. Expect next generation Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) to reduce your data center footprint. By extending the concept of partitioned virtual context in Cisco ACE to fully isolated instances, you can consolidate several Cisco ACE devices into fewer devices, reducing management and maintenance costs. This type of isolation will also provide a stepping stone and better control for you to adopt hybrid deployment model or transition to public or private cloud in future.
Adopt Best Practices
Employ many of the newer value-add services not available through Cisco ACE. Technologies such as web performance optimization and newer HTTP/2 protocol can reduce latency for services load balanced by Cisco ACE while real-user monitoring, elliptic curve cryptography will help you to adopt industry best practices for security, monitoring and troubleshooting.
Automate & Future-proof
Software-defined data center (SDDC) extends virtualization concepts to all of the data center’s resources and services to achieve “as-a-service” concept. Deploying L4-L7 services can be a complex task. Configuring devices requires skilled resources familiar with the specific ADC/security solution. Many services are orchestrated that require several devices to work together as part of an application. This requires IT personnel to master complex inter-device configurations. Look to solutions that allow configuration templates to reduce complexity; support orchestration and automation to reduce manual configuration errors, and support DevOps practices and self-service initiatives to reduce development and deployment costs.
Manage risk in migration
Look to tools and services that offer ease of migration from Cisco ACE configurations to the technology of your choice. It’s important to first transition the configurations, test them, and then enable value-add services – such as web application security, web performance optimization, real user monitoring.
Reduce transition costs
Explore trade-in program to reduce costs for you to switch to newer technologies.
As you replace Cisco ACE, assess and deploy technologies that will not only address your current requirements but also allow a path to future. As in any migration project, it is important to balance risks and costs, while adopting best practices in virtualization, security, automation, ease of management and monitoring of a hybrid deployment while improving the experience you would like your users to receive.
For more details:
Radware Alteon: https://www.radware.com/products/alteon/