Opportunities Afforded by an Application Delivery Controller Refresh

Andrew Hickey
September 21, 2016

Opportunities Afforded by an Application Delivery Controller Refresh

An application delivery controller (ADC) refresh is a great occasion to look to the future and optimize your network for not only the applications you have in place today, but what you will have tomorrow. Odds are the box you’re replacing is out of date and more than five years old. A lot’s happened in the networking and application delivery spaces since you last purchased an ADC, meaning a refresh is the perfect opening to add new functionality to your network to help your business transition to the future. Here, we look at four key opportunities an ADC refresh presents.

1. Choice

You don’t have a crystal ball. You can’t see what your network will look like or how your application ecosystem will evolve over the next two, three, four years and beyond. You want choice. You need a platform that can grow with your business and offers you choice for every possible need while ensuring you still have the agility you demand today. When examining ADC providers and preparing for a refresh, look not only at their existing products, but their roadmap and their history of innovation. Does that align to your business needs and goals? Will it fuel your desired business outcomes? Or will you be caught standing still and paying top-dollar for boxes that no longer meet your needs?

With A10, you have choice. Here are just some of your options:

Public, Private and Hybrid Clouds

With A10 Harmony you get consistent application delivery, security and analytics across your data center and clouds, whether they’re public clouds, private clouds or hybrid clouds. You can deliver applications to the increasingly mobile user base using a blend of on-premise and cloud. Whether your apps are architected using microservices and/or hyper-scale environments, you need it all to work together. With A10, you can deliver any app to any user anywhere.

Hardware Platforms

You can choose from more than 20 A10 Thunder ADC models where every model can deliver all ADC features simultaneously. That means you don’t have to sacrifice one feature for the other. Also, from the entry level to the highest capacity appliances in the industry, from 5 Gbps to more than 200 Gbps of L7 processing all in a one rack unit design, all of our appliances have the same features and capabilities as the software-based versions to enable a mix and match environment. And our superior CPU core count can power the most demanding production scenarios.

Bare Metal

Thunder ADC for Bare Metal delivers a full set of app and security services on your choice of hardware, without having to sacrifice the benefits of A10’s ACOS Harmony platform for open programmability, policy enforcement and telemetry. You get lower TCO by decoupling the license from the hardware, which gives unrivaled portability and longevity.


Have a virtual environment and want all of the benefits of A10 Thunder ADC? With vThunder, you get a virtualized appliance that runs atop your choice of hypervisor. You get a flexible, easy-to-deploy appliance that features all of the advanced services any enterprise, service provider or web giant demands. You get Layer 4Layer 7 ADC services, security and server load balancing.


If open is what your business demands, A10 is also working with OpenStack, the open source cloud orchestration system, to deliver ADC services for OpenStack-based private cloud environments. OpenStack offers the LBaaS (load-balancer-as-a-service) extension to Neutron networking that adds load-balancing to the Neutron core. A10 offers an LBaaS plug-in module that integrates with the extension that interfaces with A10 Thunder physical, virtual and hybrid appliances. This integration enables a dynamic provisioning of application networking (L4-L7) services on the OpenStack platform, providing the automation and agility expected in a cloud infrastructure.  A10 Thunder OpenStack services also integrate with Horizon, the OpenStack dashboard, for provisioning and management.

2. Security

The threat landscape has evolved dramatically since your last ADC deployment, and that will continue. Think about the threats of the last five years – there have been monumental breaches, hacks of government agencies, you name it. That means your network has to be an impenetrable fortress, free from threat actors looking to steal data or take you down. When considering an ADC refresh, it’s imperative to examine the security offerings and services that have evolved from ADC technologies to perform specific tasks. At A10, our appliances are fortified with leading-edge security capabilities that ensure secure app delivery. With dedicated SSL processing hardware options you can handle massive levels of encrypted traffic with 4,096-bit certificates. Advanced cyphers such as Elliptic Curve Cryptography and Perfect Forward Secrecy are fully supported.

SSL Insight (SSLi)

Threats are hiding where they never could before: in encrypted traffic. This creates a new attack vector that you and your IT team must be on the lookout for. Fortunately for you, A10’s SSL Insight (SSLi) technology in the Thunder SSLi and Thunder CFW (Convergent Firewall) appliances will decrypt traffic and pass it to your existing security infrastructure, and then re-encrypt the SSL traffic to ensure it doesn’t contain any hidden threats like malware, spyware or more.

DDoS Protection

While ADC technology incorporates DDoS defense for an application (and DDoS protection comes standard in Thunder ADC appliances), more organizations are looking for single-point, network wide defense. A10 Thunder TPS gives you advanced DDoS detection and mitigation at the network edge, acting as a first line of defense for your network infrastructure. TPS offers multi-vector DDoS attack protection, scalability, easy network integration, traffic baselining, a programmatic policy engine, granular traffic control, threat intelligence and cloud-based volumetric attack protection to fortify your business from attacks.

DNS and Web Application Firewall

You want to enhance your data center security. Thunder ADC appliances offer an web application firewall (WAF), which guards web servers against critical Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) top 10 threats web-based application servers face, and our DNS application firewall (DAF) gives advanced protection against domain name system (DNS) infrastructure exploitation, with granular application rules for query behavior and mitigation methods such as rate limiting.

A10 also gives you the option of the Thunder CFW, which marries a data center firewall, Gi/SGi firewall, secure web gateway and IPsec VPN with all components leveraging the ACOS Harmony platform for high performance.

3. Multi-tenancy

With multi-tenant Application Delivery Controller (ADC) virtualization through A10’s Application Delivery Partitions (ADPs) you no longer have to break the bank to achieve the high density and high performance of true ADC multi-tenancy.

How does it work? A10’s ADP virtualization technology provides separation and partitioning of multiple ADC instances on a single A10 Thunder ADC platform, which offers ultra-high density, performance and the lowest cost per ADC instance compared to other multi-tenant architectures.

If you’re undergoing an ADC refresh, partition density is an essential component to virtualization return on investment. A single Thunder ADC appliance, for example, can deliver more than 1,000 partitions, and expand to over 8,000 in a Virtual Chassis System (VCS) cluster. And because A10’s ADPs don’t use a hypervisor, performance is divided according to the required number of partitions without the impact of third-party software.

With ADPs from A10, you get the highest partition density of any multi-tenant ADC, the lowest cost per ADC instance, reduced CAPEX for new ADCs, consolidation of legacy ADCs, simplified management for lower OPEX and the highest performance multi-tenant solution. If you’re thinking of refreshing, multi-tenancy ensures you’re ready for the future.

4. Cloud Integration

The world is moving to the cloud. If you have a credit card, you can shift IT resources to an IaaS provider, spin up cloud-based ADC instances, buy cloud storage or start using SaaS with just a few clicks. As such, most applications are also moving to the cloud — and in droves. You want your business to be ready. An ADC refresh gives you the opportunity to choose a provider that’s not only cloud-ready, but also cloud-native. Even if you haven’t quite solidified your cloud application strategy, having a solution in place that can support public and private clouds and bridge the cloud and on-premises worlds puts you ahead of the game. You’ll want to take advantage of secure application services that bridge all of your data centers and clouds.

A10’s recent acquisition of cloud application delivery provider Appcito enables secure application services that bridge your data centers and clouds. The Appcito acquisition expands the A10 Harmony solution for secure application services across both public and private clouds, meaning you can deliver secure application services to all users — anywhere at any time. It’s an industry first that provides unrivaled agility, making A10 the only cloud-ready and cloud-native ADC provider in the industry.

Thinking of an ADC refresh? Considering these four core concepts will ensure you’re ready for the future and that your network can adapt to the changing application landscape.

Andrew Hickey
September 21, 2016

About Andrew Hickey

Andrew Hickey serves as A10's editorial director. Andrew has two decades of journalism and content strategy experience, covering everything from crime to cloud computing and all things in between. Read More

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