Citrix NetScaler’s recently exposed security exploit, which allows attackers to bypass authentication and take full control of the load balancing infrastructure, is frightening. But it is hardly a standalone incident. Every product from every company may eventually succumb to a critical vulnerability. This raises some good questions around security. How does a vendor test the security of their product? If vulnerabilities are inevitable, what is the vendor response and customer strategy?
More specifically, virtual load balancers are just legacy load balancers trying to find a home in your data center or the cloud.
As your enterprise begins to migrate to the cloud, legacy load balancers are left out in the cold. You can’t take your F5 or Citrix NetScaler hardware with you. Operationally, they just don’t function in cloud environments.
This week I came across my still functioning iPod Classic “click wheel”. This was my exercise companion for many years and I still marvel at the engineering innovation (holds thousands of songs!) and simple elegance of the intuitive user interface (click wheel!). In today’s consumer society we expect our electronics to be intuitive. When announced in 2003 the “click-wheel” was years ahead at a time most electronics still came with detailed instruction manuals. Launching a consumer product with a click wheel was a radical approach, pushing the end-user experience to the very limits of engineering.
A growing share of Fortune 500 companies are selecting Avi Networks to be part of their cloud migration strategy. These leading enterprise IT organizations realize that they need application delivery services that are born in the cloud to produce results in the cloud. In short, lifting and shifting applications from the data center to the cloud requires more than lifting and shifting legacy appliances from the data center to the cloud.
This message is as much for people who buy load balancers as it is for those who sell them.
Nothing demonstrates the need for elasticity and scale like the Holiday Season. Manufacturing, distribution, and eCommerce companies experience a huge spike in their business, but nobody feels the pressure more than the big guy up North. You know—the jolly fellow, red suit, white beard—ring a (jingle) bell? It’s Santa Claus!
We haven’t expected much from our load balancers in the past. And why should we? Traditional load balancers had a relatively simple job (e.g. distribute traffic, SSL, some content switching), and functioned relatively well. End of story.
But then our infrastructure, platforms, services, and applications got smarter.
I originally joined Avi Networks because I believed they had a robust, software-defined application delivery solution. It could do everything F5’s physical load balancers could do… or so I thought. After one week on the job, I’ve realized that Avi Networks only cuts costs by up to 70% only because you aren’t paying for hardware—hardware that can do a lot of things that Avi Networks just can’t do.
When it comes to load balancers you have probably heard terms such as, "Software Defined Hardware" (yes, they actually said that!) or "Software First" from vendors like F5 Networks and Citrix NetScaler. What they are really telling you is that they understand the importance of software, but need to keep selling you hardware.