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Going Green by Embracing ADC Virtualization

Amir Peles, CTO Radware.


Date: 20 Jun 2011

CIOs and IT managers today are in a constant struggle between two strongly opposing forces – on the one hand there is the need to expand the IT infrastructure to support a growing business, while on the other hand there is the constant lack in data centre floor space and the need to cut operational costs such as electricity and cooling.

While the expansion of the IT infrastructure to support new business is unstoppable, there are ways to do so without necessarily throwing more hardware into the data centre. The main way to achieve this is server virtualisation.

By virtualising server hardware using technologies by vendors such as VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft, IT staff can consolidate 10, 15 or even 20 physical servers into one server running multiple virtual server instances (virtual machines). By consolidating these servers, IT staff can improve the utilisation of their servers and free up the data centre floor and rack space, greatly reducing power and cooling requirements of the data centre – essentially making them a much greener business.

While server virtualisation is the first thing which comes to mind when discussing virtualisation within a data centre, additional virtualisation technologies have started to emerge in the past year. One of these new technologies is ADC (application delivery controller) virtualisation. By using ADC virtualisation technologies, IT organisations will need less ADC hardware to support the business’ ADC requirements thus, reducing operational costs of property, power, cooling and spare parts. By consolidating 6 traditional ADC devices into 1 virtualised ADC device running 6 virtual ADC instances (vADCs), IT organisations can save up to 4200kWh of their power consumption requirements on a multiyear project.

When looking into ADC virtualisation technologies, IT organisations should look for the following capabilities when choosing a vendor:
• Ensure the ADC vendor has multiple virtualisation options to choose from, whether it is an ADC provided as a virtual appliance (software-based ADC) which can run on the existing server virtualisation infrastructure, or an ADC device which allows for the consolidation of multiple ADCs through virtualisation.
• Verify that the ADC solution supports server offloading capabilities such as SSL encryption/decryption, which when offloaded to the ADC, saves a lot in terms of the server's CPU and power consumption.
• Ensure the ADC virtualisation solution is designed to enable organisations to consolidate their ADC hardware devices without compromising the resiliency or performance predictability of their ADC services and eliminate the risks involved with the consolidation of ADC hardware – this can be achieved by ensuring complete fault, network and management isolation between the different virtual ADC instances.
• Verify that a resource guarantee mechanism exists in the ADC virtualisation solution, which will ensure that each virtual ADC instance is allocated within a dedicated resource for its operation. This way, every virtual instance can utilise only those resources for which it was specifically allocated, resulting in performance guaranty for each instance.
• Ensure the ADC virtualisation solution supports integration with the virtual data centre management system and that it can be automatically attuned to correctly redirect traffic whenever virtual machines are moved within the data centre or across data centres. This will, further allow for cost saving in a dynamic manner - by moving application workloads to the minimal set of servers or a cheaper location (“follow the moon”) while ensuring that the ADC is constantly in sync.
• IT organisations should ensure that through the consolidation of the hardware ADCS, they gain significant savings on cooling, power, etc. and thus, have clear results in terms of proof of costs savings and ROI.
To summarise, through the use of ADC virtualisation IT organisations can achieve the same business benefits provided by server virtualisation within the application delivery layer. Such benefits include- and are not limited to- reduced power, rack space, data centre floor space, and cooling requirements through the consolidation and virtualisation of ADC devices – thus allowing the business to become even greener.


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