Load Balancer Buyer's Guide | Evolve Your Application Strategies

Chandra Sekar
Posted on Aug 18, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Enterprises are facing significant changes in the way that they need to think about application deployment. They are taking a critical look at choices for their computing infrastructure, application services, and tooling. Many enterprises are making changes up and down the networking stack to drive automation with API-driven capabilities that empower application developers. Specifically, new thinking is driving decisions about load balancers or application delivery controllers (ADCs).  In a recent blog post, Andrew Lerner of Gartner says, “Application-centric personnel drive a return to lightweight, disaggregated load balancers, creating challenges and opportunities for I&O leaders.” You can read more about this in the Gartner’s research note (subscription required) on the topic.

There are many factors to consider before deciding to refresh load balancers with more hardware purchases. What are some of these questions that you need to answer as you look beyond the conventional wisdom that load balancers need specialized hardware? We have assembled a simple questionnaire based on input from many of our customers who analyzed their application services capabilities in the months leading up to their load balancer refresh decision.

Assessment of current load balancing capabilities:

  1. What is your primary load balancing solution – hardware ADC appliance, virtual ADC appliance, or open source solutions?
  2. Does your current ADC solution meet your needs on the following criteria?
    1. Automation
    2. Applicability to East-West use cases
    3. Applicability to Dev/Test use cases
    4. Support for public cloud
    5. Performance
    6. Total cost of ownership 
  1. How often do you need to make changes to the configuration of your ADC? How many days or weeks do change requests take on average to fulfill?
  2. What is your current approach to troubleshooting applications and to pinpoint issues such as latency, performance, and security? How helpful is the load balancer in this process?
  3. Does your current ADC solution rely on proprietary hardware appliances? Is the solution able to take advantage of advances in the performance of x86 servers?
  4. What is your process to scale load balancers? How long does the process take? Does it involve procuring and provisioning additional hardware appliances?
  5. Are you frequently overprovisioning load balancers? How well do your load balancers match your real-time traffic capacity?
  6. Do you have the ability to centrally administer all load balancing resources throughout the data center or across clouds?
  7. Do you need to use a different load balancing solution for the cloud vs. the data center?
  8. Does your ADC offer the ability to trigger the autoscaling of applications based on traffic thresholds? 

Download the 2016 buyer’s guide for load balancers to understand how software-defined application services can jumpstart your readiness for cloud-native applications and get a prioritized checklist of capabilities to consider.


Topics: load balancer, ADC, buyers guide

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