The computing services available through Amazon Web Services and Windows Azure enable customers to pay for as much compute and storage resources as they use. But what about functions like load balancing across servers, content compression and data encryption?
Some of these functions can run on specialized hardware, on gear sometimes called an application delivery controller (ADC). Riverbed Technology has managed to take its virtual version of an ADC — courtesy of the 2011 acquisition of Zeus — and miniaturize the software so a bunch of copies of the application can run on a single machine. Customers will be able to get their hands on Riverbed’s Stingray Services Controller in the third quarter.
The mini-ADC instances can be easily added or subtracted to best match the needs of different applications, making it easier for customers to scale their ADC use to the jobs at hand. It’s different from the usual way of making network administrators guess how much throughput they will need for the ADC and then having to stick with it longer than is necessary. That’s one reason why Riverbed is calling the new version of the software ADC as a service. The other reason is that users will be able to deploy and manage ADCs on their own, enabling self-service.
The miniaturization also means different workloads can run on different ADCs, putting an end to what Kavitha Mariappan, director of Riverbed’s Stingray product line (pictured), called “the noisy-neighbor problem” — basically decreased performance.