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Virtual ADCs Go 64-Bit

The market for virtualized Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) heated up yesterday with the A10 Network's introduction of SoftAX, a virtualized ADC providing local and global load-balancing and application acceleration. SoftAX enables high-density ADC and load-balancer deployments on a single platform, consolidating older load-balancers or under-utilized ADCs. With AX Series and SoftAX, IT managers can mix and match appliance and virtual machine options.

Application delivery is typically defined by functions like load-balancing, session-management, compression, security, SSL off-load, acceleration and other functions required to deliver applications from a server to a remote user quickly and efficiently. In a traditional hosted-application environment, applications tend to be tied to fixed, physical servers and can be paired with a fixed physical ADCs. However, once the enterprise moves to a virtualized platform, where applications and a host OS can be moved from one hardware platform to another, it makes sense to couple the ADC with the application as a bundle and let the ADC move with the application.

By delivering virtualized ADCs enterprises also gain agility. Enterprises can push out a virtualized ADC to a remote office, for example, in minutes if a virtualized platform is already deployed. "We had a VM with its default configuration up and running in ten minutes," he says Joshua Suggs, database administrator for Florence County, who was evaluating the platform.

A10 is hardly the first to introduce Virtual ADCs. Similar announcements have been made by NetScalar Kemp, Blue Coat, Riverbed and F5, to name a few. "We briefly looked at F5," says Suggs. "Pricing for A10 was more competitive." A10 differentiates its implementation from the others with its 64-bit architecture, which the vendor claims will lead to better performance. Suggs says he didn't think that performance was going to be an issue, but he had yet to performance-test the platform.

The vendor also includes  both local load-balancing and application acceleration as well as global load-balancing, which is an additional add-on for vendors such as F5 and Kemp. Global load-balancing is typically delivered as a separate product and can increase the cost of the package by 30 percent or more.

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