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A10 Networks embraces SDN, overlays and cloud with aCloud architecture

With VXLAN and NVGRE support, multiple partnerships and integrations, and pay as you go, A10 embraces SDN, overlays and cloud.

Application delivery vendor A10 Networks Inc. announced its aCloud Services Architecture aimed at helping customers insert Layer 4-7 services into software-defined networks.

The A10 architecture includes support for network overlay tunneling protocols, integration with several SDN and cloud orchestration platforms, new pay-as-you-go licensing, and an enhanced capability to slice physical appliances into multiple virtual appliances in multi-tenant environments.

VXLAN and NVGRE support for overlays

A10 Networks' Thunder series of application delivery controllers (ADCs) will support termination of virtual extensible LAN (VXLAN) and Network Virtualization using Generic Routing Encapsulation (NVGRE) tunnels to enable high-performance network overlays based on the protocols, such as VMware NSX and Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization.

This protocol support allows engineers to apply application delivery and security policies to virtual networks on a per-tenant basis, said Jason Matlof, vice president of networking at A10.

"If you want to design a virtual application and you want to put acceleration or load-balancing services in, you want it to be able to do it as conveniently as possible. That requires that these devices be integrated with the virtual networking control and configuration," said Peter Christy, research director for New York-based 451 Research. With VXLAN and NVGRE support, engineers can insert ADC services into the virtual networks, he said.

Multi-Tenancy on ADC appliances

A10 Networks announced ADCs with multi-tenant capabilities, enabling multiple admins or customers to have their own access to ADC resources on a single box. The Thunder 3030S and 3530S hybrid virtual appliances (HVAs) use single-root I/O virtualization and other hardware optimizations to segment themselves into as many as 40 virtual ADCs on a single box, with up to 100 Gbps of throughput. The HVAs improve on A10's previous version of the technology, which could subdivide an ADC into only 20 virtual appliances.

"This subdivides a physical box into multiple virtual boxes so that network infrastructure administrators and application administrators can modify virtual versions of the appliances without getting into each other's hair," Christy said.

Virtual ADCs running on hypervisor hosts meet many of the same requirements as a multi-tenant ADC appliance, and most ADC vendors offer such software, including A10 Networks. As multicore servers become more powerful and virtual machine and virtual switch performance improves, the industry will start to favor virtual appliances over multi-tenant ADCs, said Brad Casemore, research director at Framingham, Mass.-based IDC.

Pay-as-you-go virtual ADC licensing

A10 Networks rebranded its SoftAX virtual ADC as vThunder and introduced a pay-as-you-go licensing structure for the software.

"We have a licensing server that sits on the customer premises and interacts with a global licensing server in our network operations center, and it does all the real-time billing. It will do billing on an hourly basis, changing the way our customers can bill their customers," Matlof said.

Pay--you-go licensing will have cloud service providers sell ADC services on a more granular level based on customer demand. The licensing structure will also help enterprise IT organizations that have set themselves up as internal providers with software-defined data centers, Christy said.

SDN and cloud orchestration integration

A10 Networks announced integration with several SDN and network virtualization platforms, including Cisco Application Centric Infrastructure, VMware NSX, IBM SDN VE and Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization.

A10 also integrated with Microsoft Systems Center Virtual Machine Manager, VMware vCloud Director and OpenStack.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Shamus McGillicuddy, news director, or follow him on Twitter @ShamusTT.

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