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Orchestrated ADCs Simplify Management and Scalability

Iwan Price-Evans
June 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM

As your business grows and adapts to changing market conditions, especially during these volatile times, the demands on your cloud IT infrastructure become increasingly complex. Your web servers and critical business applications need to be not only resilient but also flexible enough to handle fluctuating traffic patterns in real time. Centrally orchestrated Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) simplify these management challenges and enable dynamic scalability across any cloud environment.

As an example, imagine that you have web servers deployed in data centers on the East and West Coast of the US with ADCs sitting in front of them in each location. This is a typical setup for disaster recovery as well as for delivering content to users as fast as possible. To give your customers the best online experience visitors from the East Coast are sent to the East Coast data center and West Coast visitors are sent to the West Coast data center. 

Now imagine that one ADC suffers a fault and you need to re-route traffic to the other ADC as quickly as possible. Managing each ADC manually and separately would be inefficient and overwhelmingly complicated. You need to be able to monitor and control every ADC from one central place.

Adding to this, what if your servers are deployed at different locations and in different clouds too? You might have servers deployed in Azure in London, in AWS in New York and in a private cloud as well. You might also have varying numbers of servers running, which are scaled-up or scaled-out during busy times and scaled-down or scaled-in during quiet times. How do you manage and have visibility into your critical applications across such dynamic, diverse environments?

The goal is to move easily from one cloud to another at scale without having to change any configuration so that you host the exact same microservices, containers, virtual machines (however your apps are packaged) in any cloud at any time. 

With so much complexity at play centrally orchestrated ADCs have become a necessity.

Here’s How It Works

With a centrally orchestrated ADC solution, you  create an intent template for what you want your ADCs to do on a central controller node in the control plane - which is like the brains of your deployment. The parameters you set here are then deployed to distributed nodes where you’ll have ADCs running. Similar to “write once, deploy everywhere” practices for software developers, you configure your ADCs centrally and these configurations are implemented wherever your ADCs are deployed. 

Here’s an example of how it works in practice. A large bank might have several hundred ADCs in production, and they have an old version of SSL, such as TLS 1.0, that they want to disable. To do that without an orchestrated ADC solution, they would have to go to each one of their hundreds of ADCs and manually make that change or use an orchestration tool that they’ve had to build themselves. Once TLS 1.0 is disabled across all ADCs, the bank would have no way of verifying that it was done correctly.

In contrast, with orchestrated ADCs, there is a two-way link between the controller node and distributed nodes so that any changes are automatically implemented and the controller is instantly notified when any changes occur in traffic patterns. If more web servers are launched, then all ADCs are immediately updated with that configuration change. Or, if you change an SSL certificate, then all ADCs connected to that SSL certificate are immediately changed, with the controller node verifying the change on each distributed node.

Easier Management and Dynamic Scalability

By moving the value of ADC logic and the complexity of ADC deployment from the data plane to the control plane, you have unparalleled visibility, flexibility and control for your ADCs from a "single pane of glass" wherever they are deployed. Data plane traffic still runs through your systems, but the orchestration and management runs through the centralized ADC orchestration in the control plane. 

Orchestrated ADCs also support auto-scaling so that any number of ADCs can be dynamically scaled-out or scaled-in to adapt to changing traffic patterns. The system integrates directly with any cloud or container platform, and uses service discovery to automatically find backends and dynamically adjust upstream servers. 

A New Way to Manage App Delivery

If you are looking for a solution that does all this and more, Snapt Nova provides an entirely new way of managing application delivery. At Snapt, we believe that you should be able to deploy and manage your ADC infrastructure in any location at any time and that it should be able to integrate with whatever other tooling you have. It should be easy to lift and shift from one datacenter to another or from one cloud provider to another. 

Nova makes it easy to run millions of active ADCs in parallel. That might sound like overkill today, but there’s going to be a massive expansion in the number of endpoints, VMs and containers in production. Tomorrow's traffic patterns will require massively scaleable ADC solutions, where centralized orchestration will be essential. Snapt Nova is ready for it.

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