The Top 10 Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)

Explore the leading Application Delivery Controllers with key features including load balancing, application performance optimization, and security features for networks, servers, and web applications.

The Top 10 Application Delivery Controllers include:
  • 1. A10 Thunder Application Delivery Controller
  • 2. AWS Elastic Load Balancing
  • 3. Microsoft Azure Application Gateway
  • 4. Barracuda Load Balancer ADC
  • 5. F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager
  • 6. HAProxy One
  • 7. Kemp LoadMaster
  • 8. Loadbalancer Cloud ADC
  • 9. NetScaler
  • 10. Radware Alteon Application Delivery And Security

Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) improve the performance of web applications by balancing server load to ensure efficient distribution of web traffic. ADCs have been described as an evolution of load balancing software and are crucial for ensuring the smooth and responsive functioning of applications, especially in high-traffic networks.

ADCs work by ensuring network traffic is distributed equally across servers and optimizing network performance. They ensure high availability and reliability of applications, even during periods of high traffic, and improve the end-user experience. They can also be used to enforce security controls and prevent threats like DDoS attacks.

ADCs provide key features such as load balancing, support for Web Application Firewalls (WAF), application acceleration, and other security integrations to provide secure application delivery. They typically support multi-cloud and hybrid cloud deployments. The application delivery controller market is competitive, with numerous solutions available today supporting a broad range of use cases.

This guide will explore the top 10 ADC providers and their range of features. We will highlight key factors like load balancing methods, security protocols, third-party integrations, and user feedback to comprehensively understand their offerings.

A10 Logo

A10 Thunder Application Delivery Controller (ADC) protects, ensures the availability of, and accelerates the delivery of critical applications. The platform is available for hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It is designed to streamline IT operations, cut costs, and improve overall business outcomes. Typical users of this product are small businesses, large corporations, service providers, and cloud application operators.

Thunder ADC is an advanced L4-7 load balancer that incorporates multiple layers of security including web and DNS app firewalls, Single Sign-On (SSO) authentication, and strong support for advanced encryption like high-performance PFS/ECC. The solution is constructed on A10’s Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS) platform. For organizations looking for scalability, capacity, and programmability in a changing environment, Thunder ADC offers a way to streamline point products, simplify network complexity, and reduce costs.

The ADC solution provides a full-proxy, load-balancing, and content-switching function, using aFleX scripting, deep packet inspection, and extensive load-balancing algorithms. It also provides numerous acceleration methods, such as TCP connection multiplexing, RAM caching, GZIP compression, and SSL-offload, for content transfer speed optimization.

Thunder ADC provides high-density application delivery partitions for multi-tenant environments and a powerful recursive DNS feature for DNS service consolidation. It incorporates a next-gen Web Application Firewall (WAF) for superior protection against complex threats, supports an extended cipher suite, and offers Single Sign-On (SSO) and application authentication capabilities. DDoS protection is standard in all Thunder ADC appliances, with additional subscription-based threat intelligence services available.

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AWS Logo

Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) is an application delivery controller tool designed to evenly distribute network traffic and enhance application scalability. It works by automatically dispersing incoming web traffic across several targets such as EC2 instances, containers, and IP addresses within one or more Availability Zones. Its underlying principle focuses on improving the availability and fault tolerance of your applications.

The tool utilizes secure SSL/TLS termination, streamlined certificate management, and client certificate authentication to bolster application security. It allows applications to maintain high availability with automatic scaling and provides real-time performance and health monitoring of your applications. This provides the ability to identify and rectify bottlenecks and ensure SLA compliance.

ELB can load balance across AWS and on-premise resources using a single load balancer, improving hybrid cloud network scalability. The solution also facilitates the retention of existing network appliances by deploying them from your preferred vendor, while offering the ability to leverage the scale and flexibility of the cloud.

Elastic Load Balancing can be managed through various interfaces including AWS Management Console, AWS Command Line Interface, AWS SDKs, and Query API. The tool promises optimal scalability without involving intricate configuration or API gateways and supports Application Load Balancers, Network Load Balancers, Gateway Load Balancers, and Classic Load Balancers.

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Azure Logo

Microsoft Azure Application Gateway provides an application delivery controller as a service, solution offering load balancing and security features for web applications. With 99.95% uptime for multi-instance deployments, this cloud solution helps businesses establish secure, scalable, and high-availability internet-facing applications.

Key features include customizable layer 7 load balancing, an integrated web application firewall, SSL offload policy, and support for cookie-based session affinity. It supports public, private, and hybrid websites, with management facilitated through Azure APIs. Its application-level load-balancing services aid in building a robust, scalable web front end in Azure, with autoscaling to manage traffic load.

Azure Application Gateway integrates with numerous Azure services, including Azure Traffic Manager for multiple-region redirection and failover, as well as Azure Monitor and Azure Security Center for centralized monitoring, alerting, and dashboard health reporting. The service also provides end-to-end SSL along with intelligent routing options for more efficient traffic management to back-end server pools.

The Gateway service is costed based on usage, with no upfront cost or termination fees, resulting in an affordable choice for businesses seeking a flexible web application delivery solution.

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Barracuda Logo

Barracuda Load Balancer ADC ensures application availability, acceleration, and control while improving application security. The Barracuda Load Balancer ADC is available in hardware, virtual, and cloud instances. It offers advanced Layer 4 and Layer 7 load balancing with SSL Offloading and Application Acceleration. It also features the Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) module for deployment across numerous locations and the Application Security module for comprehensive web protection.

The tool is designed for optimizing application performance. It offloads SSL transactions from servers, preserving resources for applications. It also includes optimization features such as caching, compression, and TCP pooling for faster application delivery and scalability. Barracuda Load Balancer ADC is a strong solution for organizations aiming to balance and secure Microsoft applications. Its assured configurations and deployment guides assist businesses in quickly and easily scaling their Microsoft applications while bolstering their security.

Barracuda’s Load Balancer ADC establishes consistent application performance by using health and performance checks to distribute traffic efficiently. This ensures efficient use of server resources and employs server failover for high availability. Its Global Server Load Balancing feature facilitates redundancy across multiple sites, enhancing availability, improving response time, and speeding up disaster recovery. The Application Authentication feature ensures only known users can access critical applications and the platform provides superior against DDoS, and all known application-layer attack modalities.

Barracuda Load Balancer ADC’s intelligent traffic monitoring capabilities distribute traffic efficiently to server resources, while also providing server failover for high availability. It readily integrates with private cloud environments and third-party cloud platforms including Amazon Web Services. Barracuda offers 24×7 technical support, staffed by in-house security engineers, for technical assistance.

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F5 Logo

F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM) is a network traffic management solution that securely allocates resources. BIG-IP LTM can manage cloud, virtual, and physical infrastructure. The solution enables rapid and reliable application scaling and provides the capability to automate and customize using F5’s iRules with network programmability.

BIG-IP LTM delivers both static and dynamic load balancing, ensuring applications are reliable and easy to scale. It provides industry-leading SSL performance and visibility for inbound and outbound traffic, reinforcing the security aspect. The platform takes real-time decisions on protocol and traffic management, based on server conditions, to enhance application delivery optimization.

Ease of operation is at the forefront of BIG-IP LTM. User-defined iApps and FAST templates simplify the deployment and management of applications. BIG-IP LTM is efficient in migrating to virtual and cloud environments, ensuring operational consistency across multiple platforms and meeting business requirements. Deployment flexibility and scalability are key components offered by this software.

F5’s ScaleN technology allows for efficient, elastic, and multi-tenant solutions for data centers, clouds, and hybrid deployments. BIG-IP LTM also offers advanced routing capabilities for enhanced network interoperability, thereby increasing the resilience and capacity of the network.

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Haproxy Logo

HAProxy One is an advanced application delivery platform. HAProxy One consolidates fundamental tasks such as application acceleration, load balancing, CDN, bot management, DDoS protection, and WAF into an efficient platform. It guarantees performance, reliability, and security at all scales in every environment.

The HAProxy One Product Suite comprises several features. The HAProxy Enterprise provides a solid code base with innovative features, an enterprise suite of add-ins, professional support, and services. It includes a Real-time Dashboard for improved management and observability over the whole cluster and a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to fend off Layer 7 attacks and harmful payloads.

The HAProxy Enterprise Kubernetes Ingress Controller serves as an effective route for traffic into a Kubernetes cluster. It consistently monitors changes within your Kubernetes infrastructure to ensure accurate traffic distribution to healthy pods. It also includes an integrated WAF to enhance the security of your applications running within Kubernetes.

Additional components include the HAProxy ALOHA, a ready-to-use hardware or virtual load balancer, and the HAProxy Edge, a scalable application delivery network providing advanced security, application, content acceleration, and load balancing.

HAProxy One delivers extensive optimization and security features including caching, DDoS countermeasures, a web application firewall, L4 and L7 load balancing, powerful observability, API gateway capabilities, and Kubernetes routing.

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Progress Logo

Kemp LoadMaster is a high-performance Application Delivery Controller (ADC) and load balancer designed to enhance application security, control, and visibility. LoadMaster is suited for public and multi-cloud environments. It ensures availability, scalability, and security for customers’ mission-critical applications and websites.

LoadMaster ensures the performance and availability of applications and data across virtual, hardware, and cloud environments. This resilience extends across multi-cloud and multi-data center frameworks, enhancing the security of applications with authentication, web application firewalls, and advanced access controls.

LoadMaster provides features designed to maximize the performance and availability of your applications and APIs. These include advanced health checks, content switching, HTTP Proxy services, an option for high-availability pairs of load balancers, compression and caching, and global server load balancing. Additionally, LoadMaster offers the security of any application or API without needing any changes to the application itself. It boasts of security credentials like Common Criteria, FIPS 140-2, and a web application firewall offering protection against OWASP Top 10.

The product is available on multiple platforms. It is easy to deploy and configure, offering hardware, virtual, and cloud options. All LoadMaster models can be configured in an active/hot-standby pair, increasing resilience and security for businesses. Along with an easy to use interface, LoadMaster offers a fully-featured API, making it manageable and simple for teams to handle and automate application delivery within their organization.

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Loadbalancer Logo

Loadbalancer Cloud ADC is a comprehensive application delivery controller solution for improving resilience in hybrid environments. The product is designed for deployment in Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google GCP, enabling optimized activity across an array of cloud-based services.

Key features of Loadbalancer Cloud ADC include advanced Layer 4/7 load balancing, which incorporates automated configuration, content routing and caching, and Layer 7 content switching. Another key component is its fully integrated WAF and GSLB, which provides an OWASP top 10-compliant Web Application Firewall and standard Global Server Load Balancing, ensuring resilient multi-site deployments. It also includes unlimited support for SSL certificates and automated SSL certificate chaining.

Loadbalancer Cloud ADC ensures high availability and allows for easy management without disruption to the environment. Its intuitive interface and detailed documentations facilitate easy set-up, configuration, and management. With added security features such as seamless failover, customizable health checks, and session persistence, the solution ensures uptime and protection for applications. This solution is used by tech vendors, channel partners, and IT Managers for its ability to maintain critical systems, reducing downtime for end-users.

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NetScaler Logo

NetScaler is an application delivery and security platform providing reliable and secure application delivery. Key performance features include a one-pass architecture for optimal latency and CPU use, internet blind-spot detection with dynamic path selection for an optimal application experience, and dynamic scaling of internet traffic for hybrid and multi-cloud workloads achieving up to 6.4 Tbps of L7 throughput clustering.

NetScaler provides protection for applications and APIs in various environments, without compromising performance. The platform features a Web Application Firewall (WAF) and volumetric bot protection at scale, facilitating Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) for internal and external applications. It also offers native and integrated authentication with a single sign-on experience.

NetScaler collates real-time insights and rich analytics that aid with optimal application performance and swift troubleshooting. It facilitates faster problem-solving with application and API traffic insights, application and API security insights, along with providing network and infrastructure performance insights. The platform also provides integrations to key tools including Splunk and Prometheus. This platform combines application delivery, load balancing, intelligent traffic management, SSL/TLS offloading, dynamic scaling, Kubernetes ingress, and Kubernetes multi-cluster routing, making it an all-inclusive solution.

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Radware Logo

Radware’s Alteon is an application delivery and security suite that manages and optimizes application traffic across various cloud and data center locations. The platform improves application availability, performance, and security. Alteon integrates a range of application protection services to fortify against numerous cyberthreats and offers analytics for insightful visibility for proactive cyberattack management.

The Alteon system delivers unified management of application traffic, constant service across varying locations, and security for applications, APIs, and data. It provides uniform application delivery and security services in any application environment and can be deployed in multiple form factors including on-premise, virtual, and cloud-based settings.

Utilizing a comprehensive array of automation scripts for leading private cloud environments like OpenStack and VMware, Alteon offers faster service delivery even for the most complex application delivery and security services. This ensures seamless integration of Alteon services into DevOps CI/CD processes.

Alteon supports virtualization across all appliances. Alteon also offers a specialized virtual appliance version for DevOps teams, supporting instantaneous deployment in any development environment. Alteon provides three different licensing packages available on each of its models; ‘Deliver’ for high-performance ADCs, ‘Perform’ for optimized performance, and ‘Secure’ for advanced protection. Each package is applicable across all models and throughput levels.

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The Top 10 Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)