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Application Delivery

Auto-Discover, -Scale and -License ADCs

June 5, 2019 — by Prakash Sinha0

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In the changing world of micro-service applications, agile approach, continuous delivery and integration, and the migration of applications and service to the cloud, ADCs (aka load balancers) are likewise transforming.

ADCs still make applications and services available–locally or globally, within and across cloud and data centers–while providing redundancy to links and reducing latency for the consumers of application services. However, due to where ADCs sit in the network, they have taken on additional roles of a security choreographer and a single point of visibility across the front-end, networks and applications.

Traditionally deployed as a redundant pair of physical devices, ADCs have begun to be deployed as virtual appliances. Now, as applications move to the cloud, ADCs are available as a service in the cloud or as a mix of virtual, cloud and physical devices depending on cost and performance characteristics desired.

Core Use Cases

Providing high availability (HA) is one of the core use cases for an ADC. HA addresses the need for an application to recover from failures within and between data centers. SSL offload is also a core use case. As SSL/TLS become pervasive to secure and protect web transactions, offloading non-business functions from application and web servers is needed to reduce application latency while lowering the cost of application footprint required to serve users.

[You may also like: Application Delivery Use Cases for Cloud and On-Premise Applications]

One of the ways organizations use cloud and automation to optimize the cost of their application infrastructure is by dynamically adjusting resource consumption to their actual utilization levels. As the number of users connecting to a particular application service grows, new instances of application services are brought online. Scaling-in and scaling-out in an automated way is one of the primary reasons why ADCs have built-in automation and integrations with orchestration systems. For example, Radware’s automation capabilities enhance and extend Microsoft Azure by taking advantage of Scale Sets to automatically grow and shrink the ADC cluster based on demand.

Automating Operations

Auto scale capability is important for organizations looking to automate operations – that is to add and remove services on demand without manual intervention for licensing and to reclaim capacity when no longer in-use. This saves costs, both in operations and well as in training. As organizations move to the cloud, capacity planning and associated licensing are common concerns. Elastic licensing is directed to cap the cost of licenses as organizations transition from physical hardware or virtual deployment to cloud.

[You may also like: Economics of Load Balancing When Transitioning to the Cloud]

Innovative elastic licensing benefits small and large enterprises, and enables then to protect against load balancing pricing shocks as the numbers of users and associated SSL transactions grow, while simplifying capacity planning. End-to-end visibility and automation further enable self-service across various stakeholders and reduce errors.

Read “Radware’s 2018 Web Application Security Report” to learn more.

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Application DeliveryCloud Computing

Application Delivery Use Cases for Cloud and On-Premise Applications

April 23, 2019 — by Prakash Sinha0

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Most of us use web applications in our daily lives, whether at work or for personal reasons. These applications include sites offering banking and financial services, payroll, utilities, online training, just to name a few. Users get frustrated, sometimes annoyed, if the applications – such as bank account access, loading of a statement, emails, or bills – are slow to respond. Heaven help us if we lose these services right in the middle of a payment!

data center, servers, application delivery controllers, ADCs, ADC
White and blue firewall activated on server room data center 3D rendering

If you look at these applications from a service provider perspective, especially those that have web facing applications, this loss of customer interest or frustration is expensive and translates into real loss of revenue, almost $8,900 per minute of downtime in addition to loss of customer satisfaction and reputation. And if your services are in the cloud and you don’t have a fall back? Good luck…

Traditional Use of ADCs for Applications

This is where application delivery controllers (ADCs), commonly referred to as load balancers, come in. ADCs focus on a few aspects to help applications. ADCs make it seem to the user that the services being accessed are always up, and in doing so, reduce the latency that a user perceives when accessing the application. ADCs also help in securing and scaling the applications across millions of users.

[You may also like: Ensuring a Secure Cloud Journey in a World of Containers]

Traditionally, these load balancers were deployed as physical devices as a redundant pair, then as virtualization took hold in the data centers, ADCs began to be deployed as virtual appliance. Now, as applications move to cloud environments, ADCs are being deployed as a service in the cloud, or as a mix of virtual, cloud and physical devices (depending on cost and desired performance characteristics, as well the familiarity and expertise of the administrator of these services – DevOps, NetOps or SecOps).

The ADC World is Changing

The world of ADCs is changing rapidly. Due to the fast changing world of applications, with micro-services, agile approach, continuous delivery and integration, there are many changes afoot in the world of ADCs.

ADCs still have the traditional job of making applications available locally in a data center or globally across data centers, and providing redundancy to links in a data center. In addition to providing availability to applications, these devices are still used for latency reduction – using caching, compressions and web performance optimizations – but due to where they sit in the network, they’ve taken on additional roles of a security choreographer and a single point of visibility across a variety of different applications.

[You may also like: Embarking on a Cloud Journey: Expect More from Your Load Balancer]

We are beginning to see additional use cases, such as web application firewalls for application protection, SSL inspection for preventing leaks of sensitive information, and single sign on across many applications and services. The deployment topology of the ADC is also changing – either run within a container for load balancing and scaling micro-services and embedded ADCs, or be able to provide additional value-add capabilities to the embedded ADCs or micro-services within a container.

Providing high availability is one of the core use cases for an ADC. HA addresses the need for an application to recover from failures within and between data centers themselves. SSL Offload is also considered a core use case. As SSL and TLS become pervasive to secure and protect web transactions, offloading non-business functions from application and web servers so that they may be dedicated to business processing is needed not only to reduce application latency but also to lower the cost of application footprint needed to serve users.

As users connecting to a particular application service grow, new instances of application services are brought online in order to scale applications. Scaling-in and scaling-out in an automated way is one of the primary reasons why ADCs have built-in automation and integrations with orchestration systems. Advanced automation allows ADCs to discover and add or remove new application instances to the load balancing pool without manual intervention. This not only helps reduce manual errors and lowers administrative costs, but also removes the requirements for all users of an ADC to be experts.

[You may also like: Digital Transformation – Take Advantage of Application Delivery in Your Journey]

As we move to the cloud, other uses cases are emerging and quickly becoming a necessity. Elastic licensing, for example, is directed to cap the cost of licenses as organizations transition from physical hardware or virtual deployment to the cloud. Another use case is to provide analytics and end-to-end visibility, designed to pin-point root a cause of an issue quickly without finger-pointing between networking and application teams.

ADCs at the Intersection of Networking and Applications

Since ADCs occupy an important place between applications and networks, it’s quite logical to see ADCs take on additional responsibilities, as applications serve the users. Application delivery and load balancing technologies have been the strategic components providing availability, optimization, security and latency reduction for applications. In order to enable seamless migration of business critical applications to the cloud, the same load balancing and application delivery infrastructure has evolved to  address the needs of continuous delivery/integration, hybrid and multi-cloud deployments.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

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Application Delivery

Application SLA: Knowing Is Half the Battle

April 4, 2019 — by Radware0

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Applications have come to define the digital experience. They empower organizations to create new customer-friendly services, unlock data and content and deliver it to users at the time and device they desire, and provide a competitive differentiator over the competition.

Fueling these applications is the “digital core,” a vast plumbing infrastructure that includes networks, data repositories, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and more. If applications are a cornerstone of the digital experience, then managing and optimizing the digital core is the key to delivering these apps to the digitized user. When applications aren’t delivered efficiently, users can suffer from a degraded quality of experience (QoE), resulting in a tarnished brand, negatively affecting customer loyalty and lost revenue.

Application delivery controllers (ADCs) are ideally situated to ensure QoE, regardless of the operational scenario, by allowing IT to actively monitor and enforce application SLAs. The key is to understand the role ADCs play and the capabilities required to ensure the digital experience across various operational scenarios.

Optimize Normal Operations

Under normal operational conditions, ADCs optimize application performance, control and allocate resources to those applications and provide early warnings of potential issues.

[You may also like: 6 Must-Have Metrics in Your SLA]

For starters, any ADC should deliver web performance optimization (WPO) capabilities to turbocharge the performance of web-based applications. It transforms front-end optimization from a lengthy and complex process into an automated, streamlined function. Caching, compression, SSL offloading and TCP optimization are all key capabilities and will enable faster communication between the client and server while offloading CPU intensive tasks from the application server.

Along those same lines, an ADC can serve as a “bridge” between the web browsers that deliver web- based applications and the backend servers that host the applications. For example, HTTP/2 is the new standard in network protocols. ADCs can serve as a gateway between the web browsers that support HTTP/2 and backend servers that still don’t, optimizing performance to meet application SLAs.

Prevent Outages

Outages are few and far between, but when they occur, maintaining business continuity is critical via server load balancing, leveraging cloud elasticity and disaster recovery. ADCs play a critical role across all three and execute and automate these processes during a time of crisis.

[You may also like: Security Pros and Perils of Serverless Architecture]

If an application server fails, server load balancing should automatically redirect the client to another server. Likewise, in the event that an edge router or network connection to the data center fails, an ADC should automatically redirect to another data center, ensuring the web client can always access the application server even when there is a point of failure in the network infrastructure.

Minimize Degradation

Application SLA issues are most often the result of network degradation. The ecommerce industry is a perfect example. A sudden increase in network traffic during the holiday season can result in SLA degradation.

Leveraging server load balancing, ADCs provide elasticity by provisioning resources on-demand. Additional servers are added to the network infrastructure to maintain QoE, and after the spike has passed, returned to an idle state for use elsewhere. In addition, virtualized ADCs provide an additional benefit, as they provide scalability and isolation between vADC instance at the fault, management and network levels.

[You may also like: Embarking on a Cloud Journey: Expect More from Your Load Balancer]

Finally, cyberattacks are the silent killers of application performance, as they typically create degradation. ADCs play an integrative role in protecting applications to maintain SLAs at all times.   They can prevent attack traffic from entering a network’s LAN and prevent volumetric attack traffic from saturating the Internet pipe.

The ADC should be equipped with security capabilities that allow it to be integrated into the security/ DDoS mitigation framework. This includes the ability to inspect traffic and network health parameters so the ADC serves as an alarm system to signal attack information to a DDoS mitigation solution. Other interwoven safety features should include integration with web application firewalls (WAFs), ability to decrypt/encrypt SSL traffic and device/user fingerprinting.

Read the “2018 C-Suite Perspectives: Trends in the Cyberattack Landscape, Security Threats and Business Impacts” to learn more.

Download Now

Application DeliveryWPO

5 Ways ADCs Can Improve Your Network Infrastructure’s Performance

December 14, 2015 — by Yaron Azerual1

Optimizing network performance is a task that spans multiple domains – from architecting the network, with capacity and topology (segmentation) considerations, through redundancy, bandwidth management and security aspects. But today, I would like to raise 5 additional ways to optimize overall network performance by best utilizing advanced Application Delivery Controller (ADC) capabilities for front end applications.

Application Delivery

Application Delivery Controllers – Mature, but Evolving?

October 8, 2015 — by Frank Yue1

Gartner has recently released their application delivery controller (ADC) magic quadrant for 2015.* The Magic Quadrant shows that the landscape for ADC vendors continues to change as complimentary differentiating technologies become an essential part of the ADC solution profile.  To understand why the ADC Magic Quadrant is still relevant, it is important to know how the ADC landscape has evolved to where we are today.