REVIEW: Top application delivery controllers


Enterprise applications are subjected to intense but unpredictable loads. Ensuring consistent application delivery, in line with Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees, requires sophisticated load balancing and related capabilities for clustering, performance management and so forth. Application Delivery Controllers perform these tasks, helping application owners deliver a reliable, fast application user experience.

This article offers insights into some of the top Application Delivery Controllers. According to online reviews by enterprise users in the IT Central Station user community, this includes F5 BIG-IP, Citrix NetScaler ADC, HAProxy, Loadbalancer.org, KEMP LoadMaster and NGINX.

What do enterprise users actually think about these top Application Delivery Controllers? Here, users offer their opinions about their favorite application delivery features from each solution while also sharing some thoughts on “room for improvement.”

Valuable Features
“The most valuable feature is the F5 LTM (Local Traffic Manager). This is the part of the product most organizations will be using most. It provides the core functionality to be able to load balance services and the means and the intelligence to be able to load balance based on advanced logic, e.g., TCL scripting. The F5 GTM/BIG-IP DNS (Global Traffic Manager) is another valuable feature. This feature allows for DNS load balancing, which means that high availability and load sharing can be done across services locally, as well as across data centers with advanced capabilities.”
Nathan T., Network Analyst at a financial services firm
“iRule: It’s a great feature that helped us multiple times have an advantage over our competition (during PoCs) by performing traffic control/management functions that are not supported out of the box. Use Case: One client was deploying a new web app, where video/chat traffic is configured over the SOCKS protocol. We used iRule to disable the WAF Inspection when a SOCKS protocol packet passed through (because it is not supported), and enable the WAF Inspection for all other URLs on the same Web page.”

ProductSpec1492, Security Solutions Specialist at a tech services company
Room for Improvement
“Active-Standby sync has to be made automatic. All of the F5 boxes have an Active-Standby configuration. Users need to make changes in the Active box, but often users by mistake make changes in the Standby box. This creates problems when syncing between Active and Standby. There should be some indication from the F5 tool to avoid such mistakes.”
Sri C., User at a tech company

“The ASM [Application Security Manager] administration is quite complex. I am a technical GUI expert (not UI). They did improve the ASM administration in each version, but added new features, too. The topic itself is pretty complex, so it is not easy to provide a nice, clean interface. There are a lot of references and dependencies in-between the different subareas.”
TLMainframeWebSrvcs324, Team Leader Mainframe & Webservices at a financial services firm

Valuable Features

“Web Application Firewall; Content Switching Applications; SSL Handling. Deployment of NetScalers on our DMZ enables our organization to implement a secured gateway for our Web Portal, Inbound/Outbound application-web-service calls across our partners/clients, security and Traffic management.”
Michael R., Senior Systems Administrator at a financial services firm
“Load Balancing: Why? Availability/Performance: Those are the core features of the product and the main reason for the purchase of an ADC in my company. These features bring a lot of resources that improve the experience of the users.

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