We recently published a new case study on SoftLayer, an IBM company, that showcases how this major Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) provider is using Array’s APV Series application delivery controllers for Load-Balancing-as-a-Service (LBaaS) offerings. In addition, SoftLayer deploys Array’s AG Series secure access gateways to allow customers and SoftLayer administrators to manage infrastructure in their respective network segments.
This points up an important distinction: IaaS providers have a unique environment with very different requirements than enterprise deployments. However, especially with regard to application delivery controllers, Array offers features, capabilities and pricing models that are uniquely suited for IaaS deployments.
Guaranteed Performance in Shared Environments
As organizations increasingly build their businesses in the cloud (i.e. IaaS environment), load balancing becomes ever more important to support cloud-based server and storage offerings. End-users have come to expect LAN-like performance no matter where the actual resources are physically located. Best-effort application and storage performance may be acceptable for some IaaS customers, but most will require guaranteed performance and SLAs to ensure that their end-users receive a high-quality user experience.
Array offers physical, virtual and virtualized ADC appliances that provide IaaS operators with a wide degree of choice in designing their LBaaS environment. See the table for a brief introduction:
|AVX Series Virtualized Appliances||A physical appliance that is virtualized to support up to 32 fully independent instances, each with dedicated CPU, SSL, memory and I/O for guaranteed performance per instance|
|APV Series Dedicated Appliances||One physical appliance supports one customer, providing a high degree of performance, reliability and control|
|APV Series Multi-Tenant Appliances||APV Series as a multi-tenant appliance supports multiple customers by using virtual IPs (VIPs). Performance is guaranteed by limiting the number of concurrent connections per customer|
|vAPV Virtual Appliance||As a virtual appliance running on virtualized servers, performance depends upon the VM environment. Where resources are shared, performance cannot be guaranteed, however|
In a virtualized environment, and managing hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of customers and devices, Infrastructure-as-a-Service providers also face unique challenges. To fully utilize available resources and to be able to provision them on-demand, it becomes essential to implement an overarching cloud management system.
There is a wide variety of options for IaaS providers, ranging from proprietary ‘homegrown’ solutions to open-source platforms like OpenStack, to commercial offerings like VMware vRealize Orchestrator or Microsoft System Center.
To support IaaS providers, and to ensure that APV Series ADCs can integrate with the widest possible variety of cloud management systems, Array developed a robust set of APIs and integrations with leading CMS providers. Support for each of the three broad CMS categories includes:
|Proprietary CMS||Integration enabled via XML RPC or Array’s eCloud™ API. XML RPC provides very comprehensive control, while the eCloud API offers a faster path to integration for a smaller subset of ADC functions|
|OpenStack||For IaaS providers using OpenStack standards, the eCloud API integrates with the OpenStack LBaaS API and supports management of multiple ADCs|
|VMware and Microsoft||Array has developed plug-ins for orchestration systems such as vRealize Orchestrator (vRO) and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager|
Flexible Pricing Models
Like any business, IaaS providers are looking to maximize profitability by reducing risk and up-front costs and aligning CapEx and OpEx with customer demand. Much like the flexible platform and management options described above, Array also offers a great degree in flexibility in pricing models, thus allowing IaaS providers greater choice in their LBaaS strategy. APV Series dedicated appliances, AVX Series virtualized appliances, and vAPV virtual appliances each offer specific pricing advantages, depending on the deployment model and customer needs:
|APV Series Dedicated Appliances||When dedicated hardware is required for superior performance and reliability, APV Series provides the highest scalability and functionality, typically at 40% less cost than similar enterprise-class ADCs, and supports SSL processing at 75% less cost per transactions per second|
|AVX Series Virtualized Appliances||These versatile appliances can be ordered in ¼, ½, ¾ or full capacity, and partitioned for entry-level, small, medium or large vAPV instances. Configuration is field-changeable, and additional licenses can be added at any time. In addition, AVX Series can support vxAG virtual SSL VPN gateways to allow secure remote and mobile access for customer and staff administrators|
|vAPV Virtual Appliances – Monthly||vAPV monthly licenses allow IaaS providers to use only what they need, for as long as they need, at affordable price points. Licenses expire or can be renewed when the subscription period ends|
|vAPV Virtual Appliances – Revenue Sharing||This innovative pricing model requires no up-front cost for the IaaS provider, while supporting enterprise-grade LBaaS services via virtual appliances|
|vAPV Virtual Appliances – Perpetual||Perpetual vAPV licenses give IaaS providers the flexibility of deploying virtual ADC appliances whenever, wherever needed. Licenses can also be upgraded at any time to support higher throughput if needed|
As you’ve seen, through our work with SoftLayer and other IaaS providers Array has developed a very flexible set of ADC options, from platform to management integration to pricing models, to support the unique environment and requirements of IaaS and LBaaS providers. To learn more, visit our IaaS solutions page, or check out our latest white paper, titled Application Delivery as an Infrastructure Service.
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