The Riverbed Blog (testing)

A blog in search of a tagline

Why We Picked Zeus as Riverbed’s ADC Technology

Posted by riverbedtest on August 25, 2011

We kicked off our series on Zeus last week with a primer on ADC technology. Delving into this topic a bit more, in this week’s post we'll explain why, in our eyes, Zeus stood head-and-shoulders above its competitors. Here’s a quick hint, it might have something to do with the fact that Zeus was the leader in providing the most effective and versatile ADC solutions on the market.

Zeus’ technology runs on a wide variety of operating systems and can function in just about any infrastructure environment, physical, cloud, or hybrid. Once deployed, Zeus sits on the front-end of an organization’s internal infrastructure: the user- or Web- facing processes. When you enter your user name into a website form, for instance, you are interfacing with the front-end of the IT infrastructure. This front-end, in turn, relays information to the back-end, where much of the processing happens, as shown below.

Ztm_image This deployment is typical of most load balancers. But since ADCs sit at the point that connects users to business services and data, selecting the best solution is not a decision to be made lightly. Zeus Technology, now part of Riverbed, carved its market niche as the best load balancing and traffic management solution for the job for two main reasons. 

A software-based application's performance is typically comparable to a hardware-based solution. Zeus’ software meets and often exceeds the performance of its hardware counterparts. But the unique assets that Zeus brings to organizations are business agility and new opportunities. In fact, earlier this year, Zeus commissioned the analyst firm Ptak, Noel & Associates to research why its customers selected Zeus, and its findings specifically identified those assets as primary reasons.  

Many of Zeus’ customers started using ADC as a hardware appliance, but came to Zeus looking for a solution that allowed them to scale capacity without impacting the end user’s experience. Hardware-based solutions typically employ an active-passive model of scaling capability, which means customers have to buy units in pairs – one active and one standby unit. But this model forces customers to buy two units, even in situations when IT organizations only exceed their current capacity by a small amount to ensure availability if one device fails.  Because Zeus is a pure software solution, it can instantly scale up or down to accommodate changes in demand, enabling agility, without the need for costly installations or standby equipment.

Nowadays, technology changes at lightning speeds and software makes it easier an organization change right along with it. Software makes upgrades quick and easy, and doesn’t burden organizations with having to resell obsolete hardware to recoup sunk costs.  IT organizations who use hardware-based appliances must also deal with shared load balancing, an approach that is not adequate for business-critical applications.  Unfortunately, it’s the only option for hardware appliances that cannot provide the fine-grained control that's needed to properly implement these technologies.  Without the advanced management of software-based application delivery, public cloud infrastructures become risky and inefficient.

There was recently a lively discussion on the NANOG (North American Network Operators’ Group) mailing list, comparing the various options for a load balancing solution. The original poster was considering an open source option, but several of Zeus’ customers chimed in, recommending Zeus’ technology because it can be deployed on hardware, in a hybrid scenario, or a fully virtualized cloud platform.  It was described as the most versatile and adaptable option for nearly any scenario. 

We believe that this tells the whole story. The best endorsement for technology comes from those who use it. So we’ll leave you with a quote straight from the proverbial “horse’s mouth.”

“The decision to implement Zeus was critical in our migration to a virtual infrastructure because its solution is completely software-based and has maximum portability,” says Tim Maliyil,CEO, AlertBoot. “With Zeus, we’re able to handle the same – if not greater loads – and we have never had a single glitch. We’re now completely convinced there’s no need to stick with expensive hardware solutions.”

Join us again next week for a discussion on how Zeus’ partnerships benefit the Riverbed community.

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