Shopping around for an ADC solution is daunting. ADCs determine the availability, performance and security of your business-critical applications, so it’s understandably a weighty decision. While it helps that you can try out most ADC solutions before committing to purchase, it can be overwhelming to review and compare multiple trial results. To make this process easier, we’ve compiled a simple guide for evaluating ADC trials that will help you choose the right solution for your business and your IT team.
First, it’s important to establish your objectives and have a clear understanding of the problems you need to solve. Since ADCs perform several functions – i.e., load balancing, web acceleration, web application firewall and global server load balancing – you’ll need to prioritize the features that are most important to your business requirements. If your priority is website acceleration, for example, then you’ll need accurate measurements of how your site and business apps are currently performing. Before starting any ADC trial, test your site so that you have a baseline for comparison.
Importantly, any solution should be evaluated for how well it will meet your business needs today and in the next three years. Perhaps you’re planning to migrate to a cloud environment or start using containers along with virtual machines. You’ll want to know whether an ADC solution is flexible enough to be hosted in different environments and support your deployment plans.
When you have clear objectives in place, a 14-day trial will show how well an ADC can meet your needs. Evaluating an ADC solution in just 14 days really comes down to focusing on five key aspects:
- installation and configuration
- ease of use
These five areas provide a simple evaluation framework that will help you get the most out of your ADC trial.
1. How fast was the installation and configuration process?
When you start your trial, pay attention to the installation and configuration process and note the time it took to get up and running. The trial should allow you to create your load balancer group, set up the accelerator as well as configure any WAF rules for blocking IP addresses. Your first impression of the graphical user interface and dashboard is important because you’ll quickly know whether it’s easy to understand and navigate. The configuration process will also reveal if your servers and cloud environment are easily supported.
A key feature of modern software ADCs is rapid installation and configuration. It should take only a few minutes to get fully up-and-running with traffic flowing through the ADC’s WAF, accelerator and load balancer. The user interface should be intuitive so that anyone on your team can use it. Modern ADCs should also flexible so that they can be hosted anywhere – that is, any VM platform, bare metal, container, public or private cloud, as well as on any Linux device – which will give you confidence that future deployments will be supported.
2. How does the ADC perform?
Assessing the performance of an ADC is about whether the solution does what it claims and whether that’s good enough to support your IT operation today and allow room for growth in future. The trial should provide insight into metrics such as CPU and memory usage as well as the number of balancer and accelerator requests coming into the system. Compare the trial results with your existing performance benchmarks.
Snapt is a modern ADC that excels in performance on standard hardware and container environments. It can deliver more than 100,000 Layer 7 requests per second on a 2 virtual CPU system and more than 10,000 SSL transactions per second. That’s extremely high performance using minimal compute resources, which makes it a cost-effective, powerful solution. Snapt’s accelerator reduces website requests by up to 70% and makes website loading 2- to 5-times faster. But don’t take our word for it – download the trial and measure the performance for yourself!
3. Is the ADC easy to use?
Easy-to-use solutions require less time and resources, which minimizes costs. This is especially important for today’s online businesses that typically don’t employ specialist ADC engineers and more often have IT teams comprising technology generalists who use DevOps ways of working. An ADC solution needs to be simple enough that anyone on the IT team can pick it up and use it.
Modern ADCs should have intuitive user interfaces and dashboards so that you don’t have to hire experts in load balancing or spend time on excessive staff training to learn how to use the solution. Set-up wizards ought to simplify initial installation and configuration as well as ongoing system maintenance. With just a few clicks, a user should be able to set up a server load balancer group, launch the accelerator and set traffic rules for the application firewall.
In addition, the dashboard should provide visibility into the health of your network. The solution should monitor all aspects of application performance, including latency, server load, response codes and error rates. You should also be able to tailor how and when you receive alerts (i.e., via text or email) as well as easily review historical and live reports on system performance.
4. Were you supported during the trial?
A trial will give you a good indication of what a company’s technical support is like, which is important if you decide to go forward with a contract. For DevOps teams, strong technical support from your ADC provider is imperative. If you were offered support during the trial, note how helpful it was for you. Was the support team knowledgeable, friendly and available when you needed them?
The best technical support for modern ADCs is available 24/7 every day of the year and regardless of what size package you’re paying for. The support staff should respond quickly whenever you need to reach them.
5. What are the pricing terms?
The trial will also help you calculate what size deployment you’ll need. Perhaps you’re ready to go for a large, international deployment, or maybe you prefer to start with a small implementation. Whatever your requirements, it’s important to know whether the solution’s pricing structure will suit your specific needs.
Modern ADCs typically offer flexible, on-demand pricing that allows you to pay-as-you-grow. Snapt, specifically, has highly flexible pricing and licensing terms that allow you to upgrade as your business grows. Every package includes all elements of the ADC – load balancer, accelerator, WAF and GSLB – as well as technical support. There are no hidden charges for extra features.
Using our evaluation framework, you’ll get the most important information out of an ADC trial that will help you make the best product choice for your business. Get started with the Snapt free trial today, or try the Nova free trial to test our new cloud-native hyperscale ADC designed for DevOps teams.