Load Balancing Application Delivery Controller Buying Checklist

The decision of which ADC vendor to leverage for a Load Balancing solution is a common one faced by many organizations. Clearly defining the application infrastructure and business requirements is a great help in limiting your research criteria.

The check list

Having a check list is a great way to simplify the selection process. Many Enterprises compose lists including the following line items:

  • The technical specifications of what each evaluated solution can offer
  • The compatibility of each solution with the relevant applications
  • Application-specific certifications of each vendor’s solution
  • Reviews from the user and reseller communities about each evaluated solution
  • A comparison chart of each solution for value and performance versus cost
  • In-house skills and training required to aptly implement and use each solution
  • A ‘Yes/No’ matrix for each solution as to whether or not evaluations are available without pressure to make purchase commitment in advance

Studies have repeatedly shown that this kind of self-directed research is a highly effective means for gathering information about an upcoming purchasing decision. Customers want third party and independent reviews of products. They want to know that they are buying the right product, paying the right price, and making the best overall decision for their business requirements.

Leading manufacturer recognition and validation is important

Partnerships and compatibility with applications, technologies and platforms from major Enterprise players such as Cisco, Microsoft, Dell and others provide validity to what you hear from the various Sales teams that you will speak with during your discovery process.

Below are several examples as it applies to KEMP Technologies’ award-winning LoadMaster Application Delivery Controller:

Refining your Load Balancer Search

One of the decisions to make when refining your search is whether you will want to use a hardware-based Load Balancer or a virtual-based Load Balancer. This decision will be shaped by your overall infrastructure deployment model and requirements. While hardware-based solutions can generally deliver more deterministic performance via an x86 framework combined with proprietary software and high-performing ASICs, innovative virtual-based solutions now exist that provide viable alternatives. Comparing the available hardware and virtual options from a performance and price perspective will help to narrow down the search.

Another factor for refining your search is to focus on the type applications that are in scope. Having previously noted the applications that you are using, ask key questions specific to the application and look to blogger and user communities that specialize in the type of deployments that you are pursuing.

To use Microsoft Lync as an example, below are some questions that you might ask about your environment when deploying an ADC solution for this workload:

  • Approximately how many internal clients be using Lync?
  • Approximately how many external clients be running Lync?
  • Will you need high-availability when federating with companies using older or third party instant messaging systems?
  • Do the external users have a need to play messages on their phones during a failover?

General tips to keep in mind about Load Balancing Microsoft Lync:

  • While certain Lync components can leverage DNS Load Balancing for high availability, actual Layer 7 Load Balancers are required for HTTP and HTTPS traffic directed to the front-end servers regardless of user location
  • You cannot use Windows Network Load Balancing (WNLB) as it is not supported in Lync deployments

Most common Enterprise applications have independently produced information that can be found on the Internet regarding its configuration and use with a Load Balancing solution. As an example, impartial information about how KEMP Technologies LoadMasters support another common Enterprise application, Microsoft Exchange 2010, can be found below: