Load Balancers

Cheat Sheet – ADC Buzz Words (Part 2 of 2)

ADC Cheat SheetLayer 7 Load Balancing – Uses information from the application layer of the network stack to augment the lower level network switching operations. As Application Layer data packets have information about the target services the data is intended for, they can be routed in real time to the servers best suited to process them.

Platform as a Service (PaaS) – Provides a platform that can be used to develop applications without the need to deploy infrastructure within an organisation. A PaaS solution delivers the servers and storage required to build, test and deploy applications. Application frameworks and development libraries are often also provided as part of the PaaS solution. Examples include Microsoft Azure PaaS and Pivotal (EMC & VMware’s Cloud Foundry spin off).

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) – A security standard for protecting credit card transactions. Any organisation that wants to handle data related to credit card transactions, from the main credit card companies, have to configure their network and server infrastructure in compliance with the PCI DSS requirements. Failure to do so can result in them losing the ability to store and process credit card transaction data.

Common Access Card (CAC) – A standard identification mechanism in the USA for active duty and selected reserve service personnel, Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees and eligible contractors. It is also the principal card used to enable physical access to buildings and controlled spaces, and it provides access to DoD computer networks and systems. The CAC enables two-factor authentication, digital security and data encryption. It leverages a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) Security Certificate to verify a cardholder’s identity prior to allowing access to protected resources. LoadMaster load balancing solutions can be configured to accept CAC authentication before allowing access to network resources.

Hardware Security Module (HSM) – A dedicated physical device that is designed to offload the management and processing of digital keys within a security solution. They enable strong authentication and crypto-processing on the network. An example of an HSM use is to enable security standards compliance, like FIPS-2 on a network.

Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) – A model to ensure that network applications and content are served to end users from data centres best placed at any particular time, whilst at the same time providing resilience and scalability. GSLB allows requests to be analysed and directed to the best data centre at that time. Normally, this will be the closest data centre to minimise network latency. However, it could be that a datacentre in another geographic location is not being used at all, whilst the local one is busy. In this case it makes sense to redirect the requests to the more distant data centre and spread the load. GSLB allows this trade off between proximity of server resources on the network and server load to be dynamically managed so that users get the best service possible.

DNS Failover – DNS is the service that maintains and delivers the IP address of servers from their human readable names. For example, IP address is for www.apple.com. DNS Failover is a mechanism that monitors the health of a server at a particular address, usually via an ICMP Ping command. If it is not responding, it updates the DNS server to associate the human readable name with a server at a different IP address.

Software Defined Application Services – Software defined applications are made up of a number of independent components available on the network and known as micro-services. These communicate with each other via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). They allow many dedicated and focused software components to be linked together as required to build solutions to meet business requirements. This is more flexible than relying on typical solutions that try to address many requirements within a single application. This flexible approach to application functionality, when combined with a Software Defined Network (SDN) and rapid provisioning, makes for an agile application platform.

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