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A10 adapts to companies using open source load balancers

A10 Networks is adjusting to customers using open source load balancers. The latest Harmony application delivery controller includes analytics for HAProxy.

A10 Networks Inc. has integrated its application delivery controller with a second open source load balancer, as enterprises turn to free software for services provided by ADC vendors.

The vendor announced this week integration between the Harmony Controller and HAProxy, one of several widely used open source load balancers for applications running on Linux. Harmony also supports NGINX, which developers also use with Linux software.

A10 introduced the HAProxy integration as part of an upgrade of Harmony, which is used to manage and orchestrate the company's load balancing and firewall services. The vendor has extended the controller's functionality to the company's Thunder appliances, which A10 designed for traditional business applications running on dedicated or virtualized servers in noncloud data centers. Before the Thunder integration, Harmony was limited to cloud-based applications.

A10 is providing only analytics support for HAProxy and NGINX. From the Harmony dashboard, developers can see whether software attached to the open source load balancers is reporting errors, latency or other problems. In general, the integration will provide aggregated statistics for developers running multiple instances of the applications.

Open source load balancers are increasingly finding a home on e-commerce sites and in companies that prefer to use Linux-based applications. "I wouldn't say that use of open source load balancers is widespread across all types of enterprises, but it is growing at Linux shops and at companies where DevOps practices have become prevalent," said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC.

DevOps using open source load balancers

Indeed, A10 said DevOps professionals, who typically perform tasks that blend application development with systems operations, are choosing HAProxy when they are in a rush to deploy an application.

"They can find the software [HAProxy] very easily, download it, install it, and have it up and running in a very short period of time to do load balancing," said Paul Nicholson, director of product marketing at A10, based in San Jose, Calif.

Open source software has not affected the use of more advanced A10 application delivery services, such as running a firewall on top of a load balancer, Nicholson said. However, companies could eventually use a broader mix of proprietary and open source application delivery services.

"I do believe some services are becoming more disaggregated," Nicholson said.

Harmony for centralized control

A10 has made Harmony the hub for managing and orchestrating services provided to applications running in the corporate data center and public clouds, such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Harmony provides centralized control of services delivered from Thunder appliances and A10's Lightning product for cloud-based applications. Introduced late last year, Lightning is the rebranding of technology A10 got through the acquisition of startup Appcito.

A10 is in a race with rivals F5 Networks and Radware to provide application delivery services to the growing number of companies moving business applications to public clouds to reduce the costs associated with computing hardware.

Cloud-based IT infrastructure sales as a share of overall global IT spending rose to 37% in the fourth quarter of last year, up from 33% the same period a year ago, according to IDC. In comparison, sales of noncloud IT infrastructure fell 9% in the quarter.

A10 plans to release the Harmony Controller with Thunder integration and HAProxy analytics by the end of June, along with native load balancing and a web application firewall for the Google Cloud Platform. Harmony is available as an on-premises application or as software hosted in A10's cloud.

In the second half of the year, A10 plans to add other services to Harmony, including SSL traffic inspection and carrier-grade network address translation.

Companies have the option of purchasing the Lightning and Thunder products without Harmony, which A10 sells under a separate license.

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