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Cloud & ADCs: Enterprises need cloud load balancer technology

The ADC market is changing as enterprises adopt cloud services. IT wants common on-premises and cloud load balancer technology.

Cloud services have become a part of many enterprise IT architectures. Cloud applications have the same requirements as on-premises applications, but there's a disconnection between the platforms many businesses use for network services and security inside their data centers, and those available in the cloud. Many enterprises are seeking common on-premises and cloud load balancer platforms.

While many large Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) providers -- such as Amazon -- offer some application delivery control, WAN optimization and network security functionality within their cloud services, these generic options aren't enough.

Many enterprises have service-level agreements and strict operational procedures they must abide by, said Brad Casemore, research director at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC. "Many businesses with existing application delivery controllers [ADCs] and security tools are going to demand an alignment between what they have been using in their enterprise data center and their cloud services," he said. "It's not that enterprises don't trust what providers have behind the scenes, they just don't know what they have in most cases, and are comfortable with their own tools [that] they already trust."

Enterprises seeking cloud load balancer technology

Application delivery controller vendors are working with cloud providers to deliver cloud load balancers that enterprises can plug into their cloud environments for application acceleration, availability assurance and rapid scalability as they move workloads into the cloud.

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Many vendors -- like F5 Networks -- offer agile load balancing software designed to work in the environments of public cloud providers. KEMP Technologies Inc., a New York City-based load balancer and ADC vendor, recently announced its downloadable, software-based LoadMaster for Microsoft Azure. The ADC software will provide the first load balancing mechanism within Azure, offering application-aware layer 7 functionality, such as more intelligent load balancing , said Iain Kenney, technical product management director for KEMP.

"Cloud applications have the same requirements as on-premises [apps]," Kenney said. "Enterprises still need them to be highly available, so having that capable ADC inside the Azure environment is a right move for the enterprise using Azure for IaaS."

Support for cloud platforms by ADC vendors, like Kemp, will continue to be customer-driven as their cloud-related IT needs evolve, IDC's Casemore said. "I think many [vendors] will be looking to support Amazon Web Services, in addition to Azure environments for their customers," he said.

ADC vendors have no choice but to offer cloud load balancers

ADC vendors need to anticipate and respond to the changing nature of enterprise cloud requirements, Casemore said. As enterprises move from private to public cloud environments, IT engineers will need ADC technology that is consistent between their data centers and the public cloud. "Enterprises want some measure of control," he said. "They will be looking to replicate or extend the functionality they already have from their ADC as they move into public cloud environments."

Cloud won"t be the only driver for change within the ADC market. Mobility and software-defined data center requirements will also create new demands on the ADC and traffic on the network, he said. "ADC technology used to be simple load balancing, but it can't be anymore. Enterprises need availability and network security services -- along with application delivery -- as their environments change."

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Gina Narcisi, news writer, and follow @GeeNarcisi on Twitter.

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