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A10 Networks Thunder ADC OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

A10 Networks Thunder ADC is #9 ranked solution in top Application Delivery Controllers. PeerSpot users give A10 Networks Thunder ADC an average rating of 8.0 out of 10. A10 Networks Thunder ADC is most commonly compared to F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM): A10 Networks Thunder ADC vs F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM). A10 Networks Thunder ADC is popular among the large enterprise segment, accounting for 57% of users researching this solution on PeerSpot. The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a computer software company, accounting for 21% of all views.
Buyer's Guide

Download the Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: September 2022

What is A10 Networks Thunder ADC?

A10 Networks Thunder ADC is a dynamic application delivery controller and advanced load balancer. Thunder ADC is a value-added solution provided by A10 Networks specializing in robust, trusted, scalable application services for cloud, hybrid, edge cloud, and on-premise environments focused on improving business processes and keeping infrastructures safe. The solution consistently provides server availability, improves content delivery, and protects at-risk applications. A10 Networks Thunder ADC easily controls hybrid and multi-cloud deployments using a Polynimbus strategy to minimize difficulties and costs for IT processes, facilitating overall improved business results.

A10 Networks Thunder ADC is effective for small to medium businesses (SMBs) to large enterprises. Service providers and cloud operators are all using A10 Network ADC to manage their large and fast-growing group of business-critical applications.

A10 Networks Thunder ADC supplies L4-7 load balancing with numerous layers of security using DNS and web app firewalls, comprehensive support for advanced encryption, single sign-on (SSO) authentication, and high-performance Perfect Forward Secrecy and Error Correction Code (PFS/ECC). Thunder ADC is designed upon A10 Networks Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS®) platform to provide consistent, efficient application performance and trusted security for any environment.

A10 Networks Thunder ADC Benefits

  • Consistently accessible: A10 Networks Thunder ADC employs numerous load balancing protocols to evenly distribute workloads to all servers and works to ensure constant application functionality. User requests are monitored to ensure loads are directed to the appropriate server so that there is always a proper response delivery to content. This process ensures the applications are consistently available.

  • Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB): To ensure business processes are fully optimized at all times, A10 Networks Thunder ADC employs a dynamic Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) process to augment server load balancing capabilities throughout global data centers for high availability and improved user experience and application tolerance.

  • Fast content delivery: A10 Networks Thunder ADC conquers the general WAN latencies, chatty policies, and redundant software programs to ensure quick and responsive service. Employees receive a fast, excellent end-user experience while the organization's business leaders get exceeded SLA mandates and increased productivity with teams working remotely and a step up on the competition.

A10 Networks Thunder ADC Features

  • Detailed Analytics: When deployed with A10 Networks Harmony Controller, Thunder ADC delivers a large selection of detailed aggregate and per-request reports in real time. The reports include popular URLs, error and health indicators, latencies, and end-to-end response times. The data is further dissected to deliver per-app reporting, availability alerts, and performance.

  • API Coverage: Thunder ADC utilizes A10 Networks REST-based aXAPIs to structure all features with 100 percent API coverage. The resulting interface is then used to seamlessly integrate custom or third-party management solutions, such as VMware or other SDN platforms, OpenStack, Microsoft SCVMM, or other cloud orchestration systems. There are also software plug-ins available for private clouds utilizing VMware’s vRealize Orchestrator.

  • Comprehensive Management Controls: Thunder ADC is fully supported by A10 Networks Harmony Controller and can be deployed in software or as a software-as-a-service (SaaS). This controller functions as a native management platform that organizes and distributes application-centric service protocols and configuration data to numerous Thunder appliances and device cluster infrastructures throughout numerous multi-cloud environments. Users can instantly identify, audit and track every appliance using critical operational metrics, such as CPU, disk usage, device partitions, and end users. The A10 Networks Harmony Controller will also complete configuration backups and restore operations, and will schedule regular software upgrades.

A10 Networks Thunder ADC was previously known as Thunder ADC, AX Series.

A10 Networks Thunder ADC Customers

123inkt.nl, Bentley University, Box, Brainshark, Buienradar, Capgemini, CGN/LSN & NAT64, Chengdu Telecom, Club One, Code Ready, CRC Health Group, Cyso, Deutsche Telekom, Earth Class Mail, Excite, FFF Enterprises, Florence County, Framingham State University, From30

A10 Networks Thunder ADC Video

Archived A10 Networks Thunder ADC Reviews (more than two years old)

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Senior Systems Engineer at a tech services company with 11-50 employees
Real User
Service a remote workforce with more efficient deployments and enhanced data security.
Pros and Cons
  • "It helps with the efficiency of application deployments and data security."
  • "The user interface is not as pretty as it could be."
  • "There is two-factor authentication built-in, but it could be more robust."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is for servicing a remote workforce. Especially these days when a lot of people are working remotely, a solution like this is important. We have to deploy applications and we do not necessarily want to upload the applications into the cloud or locally on desktops or laptops. ADC is really good for desktop virtualization and application delivery. Instead of having a full client, you look at a projection hosted in the data center. All the processing is being done back in the data center in the corporate domain. Because of the fact that the processing is not being taken care of locally, ADC is a very lightweight client that handles the feed on your laptop. It also enhances security.  

Everything is kept in the server room, not exported locally to someone's house or whatever location they are working in. You do not have to worry about securing the data. There are certain programs that you have to patch a lot, like Adobe Flash — which seems to always need a patch. Instead of doing that on all 100 laptops that are in the field, you just do it once in the data center and everybody uses that same version. That type of simplification for your deployments is another benefit of ADC.  

Because the maintenance is all happening at the data center, it is a lot more controlled and it is way easier. Another thing that this helps with is that only certain people get access to certain applications. The accountants are really the only ones who need access to the accounting software. It is really easy to set up groups based upon Active Directory and then define who gets access to those applications. That ability to limit access is really kind of cool and can potentially save money and licensing costs.  

What is most valuable?

The most valuable parts of this product have to do with the efficiency of deployments and data security.  

What needs improvement?

Everybody says Network Thunder works as advertised. It is just one of those things that actually performs as advertised. I take no news as good news. I do not really have any negatives. We usually like to get well-balanced reviews from people who have experience with the product and especially from the vendors themselves.  

As far as improvements, that may be different than things that are missing or broken. I just do not have any cons. I do not have any glaringly big needs for additions either. One thing that might be improved is the interface. I think it is pretty straightforward. It is just not the prettiest, but it is functional. That is getting pretty granular.  

Maybe one concrete thing that they can improve on is their two-factor authentication. Just do something to make the native solution more robust. That would probably be the one thing that I have heard mentioned. They have basic two-factor authentication. It is also nice that they have options for integrating with other two-factor products. The problem with that is that then you have to buy two products and license two solutions. One customer made a comment saying that it would be nice if we only had to buy one product to take care of the whole solution. In other words, they thought it would be better to just be able to buy the A10 and not buy two products to create the two-factor authentication they would have preferred. That should be something that A10 could at least offer.  

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been selling A10 ADC (Application Delivery Controller) over the past couple of years. We have been selling the load balancer for going on nine years.  

Buyer's Guide
Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)
September 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about A10 Networks, F5, Citrix and others in Application Delivery Controllers (ADC). Updated: September 2022.
632,779 professionals have used our research since 2012.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

There are not really any nagging glitches or any kind of little ongoing annoying problems. Certainly, there are none that I have experienced and not that I have heard of from people using it. If there are ever any issues they are just normal, temporary issues that you expect when you work with technology. That is if you can consider anything that is a glitch to be normal.  

If we are talking about load balancing, then I can speak more about stability issues. But the Network Thunder ADC has mostly been very good. There was an issue a few years back with one of my customers and A10 addressed the problem and took care of it promptly. Isolated incidents can have to do with a lot of things within a larger architecture. It would be a problem with the architecture then, and not the product.   

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We never really tried to scale the internal initial deployment hands-on. It has been left as is. More users have been added over time but nothing so crazy that it really required some type of scaling of the product. This company is a little over a hundred users. They are all using it remotely, from home, daily.  

Roles for the users are just all over the board.  

How are customer service and support?

For just Network Thunder, I have not had to deal with the A10 technical support team. Our clients never said anything about how they like it one way or another. I assume that means they have not had to contact them either. There has just been one load balancing issue a client had and it was isolated to that location. A10 took care of it. They are one for one as far as tackling problems I know about.  

How was the initial setup?

The installation is absolutely straightforward. Nothing more to say about that.  

What about the implementation team?

As far as how many people are usually required to maintain it, in this company it is just one technician for 100 people using the product. His role is probably considered a straight system admin. It would not be a senior tech or even someone dedicated to the product.  

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I can just say that it is cheaper than other solutions that are supposed to do the same thing. That is actually one of the reasons that customers chose it.  

What other advice do I have?

It is a pretty good product. On a scale from one to ten (where one is the worst and ten is the best), I would rate A10 Networks Thunder ADC as a nine-out-of-ten. I do not get too many complaints from customers. Giving it a nine seems fair. It works as advertised.   

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Partner
PeerSpot user
User at a government with 501-1,000 employees
Real User
Using services map, we can map traffic from the front-end virtual server to back-end servers
Pros and Cons
  • "A lot of our SSL management is done on the front-end side, so there is one pane of glass for a lot of our security certificates. It gives us visibility. It also falls under when certificates are going to expire. Even for servers that are coming down, we can see how that affects the traffic flow by using the services map."
  • "We are starting to do a lot with containers and how the solution hooks into Kubernetes that we haven't explored. I'm hoping that they have a lot of hooks into Kubernetes. That would be the part for improvement: Marketing use cases with containers."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is the application delivery controller part where we mainly use the server load balancing features to front-end our back-end servers to give us additional high availability, some resiliency, and some failures.

All our applications are hosted on a private on-premises data center. We run our own data center with VMware being the main virtualization platform. Then, running on top of VMware, we have Windows and Linux clusters, so x86 Windows and x86 Linux.

Our biggest security concerns are malicious code, user data theft, DDoS attacks, insider attacks, brand damage/loss of confidence, and phishing/fake sites. Hacking/cyber defacement is one of our concerns, but not the biggest. A lot of these security concerns are around data loss and data loss prevention. We are a pension institution, so we do not want to lose any of our member data. We have security things in place using the application firewalls, as an example, to help with our front-end sites. 

We are running virtual machines and currently doing a proof of concept with containers. However, we're not working with containers on-prem yet.

How has it helped my organization?

It was our first step into having high availability. Before, we had a lot of things tied to one server. So, if that server/application were to crash, that would affect our users. By putting A10 Thunder in front of it, this improved our uptime and availability.

Our operations pretty much stayed the same. If anything, people got more relaxed. Because before we only had one server, and if that server went down, then we had to react rather quickly. Having multiple servers now in the APN front-ending it, if a server went down, then there may be three or four other servers sitting there doing the work.

We see a 21 to 50 percent change in traffic typically year-over-year. Our demographic is changing so we have more members who are coming to connect to get their financial statements. So, there is growth of our pension system.

What is most valuable?

One of the features that we really like is the services map, which is a way that we map traffic from the front-end virtual server to the back-end servers. 

Another feature we like is application switching. I'm using this as a template. 

A lot of our SSL management is done on the front-end side, so there is one pane of glass for a lot of our security certificates. It gives us visibility. It also falls under when certificates are going to expire. Even for servers that are coming down, we can see how that affects the traffic flow by using the services map.

Each release of the code is becoming more polished, not that I find it difficult today. I'm glad to see the features and enhancements we request are making it into every release. It is very simple to use.

What needs improvement?

We are starting to do a lot with containers and how the solution hooks into Kubernetes that we haven't explored. I'm hoping that they have a lot of hooks into Kubernetes. That would be the part for improvement: Marketing use cases with containers.

For how long have I used the solution?

We are on our second set of boxes. For Thunder ADC, we have been using it since 2015 for probably four to five years now. 

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution is really good.

There are fewer than 25 people deploying and maintaining this solution. Most of them are application engineers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales well. We are using the hardware appliance. For us to scale up, we buy new hardware. We always buy bigger than what we need so that way we can grow into it.

Internally, we have close to 600 people using it. Externally, we have 400,000 to 500,000 active members who pass data through the device. Typically, everything is web browsing or API calls.

We do not have plans to increase usage at this time, but with the cloud coming up, that is a possibility.

How are customer service and technical support?

The on-premise support is really good. From a support standpoint, if we have problems or anything like that, usually the case is solved within 24 hours. There have not been too many that went over that time frame. Obviously, that is key to keeping things up and running. We have fast resolution. 

The device is really solid and we don't need a lot of support. We may have one case a year, if that. This also speaks to how we're using the device. We just haven't hit a lot of bugs in the code or a lot of problems that we can't solve onsite.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used a Microsoft solution. We switched because A10 has a lot more options. It is like day and night.

How was the initial setup?

I would put the initial setup at an intermediate level. It is nothing that someone will be able to unbox and do without having some networking or application knowledge. However, if you have a firm IT understanding, then it is pretty simple.

Adding new things takes under 30 minutes.

What about the implementation team?

A10 did not assist with our initial deployment, but I would tell everyone else to do that.

We do have an implementation process that people follow, but it is handled by another team.

What was our ROI?

I believe we have seen ROI. I don't regret our decision to purchase it.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I think people are scared to take a look at A10 because they're not F5. Now, F5 is their biggest competition. You get a lot more for your dollar with A10. So, I would tell people to give A10 a strong look.

We did try out the solution’s Harmony analytics and visibility controller for its one-year trial. Due to the cost, we chose not to keep it onsite.

We just pay for support in addition to our licensing.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated F5. 

Because we were new in the market, our decision was purely based on cost. A10 can deliver the throughput we need, so there wasn't a technical challenge. It ended up being a cost-based decision.

What other advice do I have?

Start off with Professional Services. It doesn't hurt to get 40 hours of Professional Services to help you stand it up. Usually, that's all you need. It is not a lot of hours. A week's worth of help goes a long way.

We can troubleshoot the traffic flow using the services map. Then, we can get flow data out of the device. So, I would rank the solution’s traffic flow management capabilities as adequate.

We plan to implement these technologies or strategies in the next three years: move from hardware appliances to software/scale-out solutions, DDoS protection, upgrade TLS/SSL capabilities to modern PFS/ECC encryption standards, and move to Office 365. DDoSs prevention is something that we're looking into. The web application firewall in the A10 is an option that we're exploring. SSL for strengthening our ciphers has been put on us by more of the user community, as we want to ensure our data is secure. Then, I see us moving more to a hybrid cloud model over the next three years, having more systems in the cloud and less on-prem.

We consider these benefits most important when funding new technology: revenue generation, cost savings, and operational improvements.

We haven't ventured into the solution’s support for expanding infrastructure to public, private, and hybrid cloud containers yet, but we will be.

We don't use a lot of the security features.

There is always room for improvement. I would rate this solution as an eight (out of 10).

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

On-premises
Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)
September 2022
Find out what your peers are saying about A10 Networks, F5, Citrix and others in Application Delivery Controllers (ADC). Updated: September 2022.
632,779 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Network Engineer IV at a comms service provider with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Looking back at traffic flow data helps us with troubleshooting
Pros and Cons
  • "The ADCs are pretty straightforward and easy to use. There is a GUI base where you can go in and see everything, but they also have a CLI base where you can use a command and get the information that you want, very fast."
  • "There is room for improvement in the upgrading process. Sometimes we have to contact A10 for verification of some stuff."

What is our primary use case?

The A10s that we have in Florida are being used for load balancing. We have a pair of A10s there, an active and a standby, and we are balancing the traffic between. We also use our A10s, in general, for provisioning wireless products. Eventually, we will use our new A10s for more stuff.

Our applications are hosted in a private on-premises data center, on public cloud in AWS, and in a hybrid cloud which is primarily public infrastructure.

Among our biggest security concerns are malicious code and DDoS attacks.

What is most valuable?

We use the monitoring features and security features. The solution will tell us if someone tries to use the wrong password or to hack into the system. We do have firewalls in place so no incoming traffic from the outside can get in. Our firewall blocks everything coming in from the outside, but we can go out to our network.

We use the diagnostics to debug files and, when there is a problem, we can generate a file that we can send to our NOC engineers so they can take a look at it.

We also use the login resource usage which gives us a summary and graphs of services — when things are going down and are up.

The ADCs are pretty straightforward and easy to use. There is a GUI base where you can go in and see everything, but they also have a CLI base where you can use a command and get the information that you want, very fast. You log into the website with the A10 GUI and you can see all of your functions and your health monitor, which is very important. With the health monitor you can see the health of the switch and, if something is going on, how it's progressing. Also upgrading the GUI is very easy. It's user-friendly.

The traffic management is very good. I can monitor the traffic that comes into the A10 very easily. We balance traffic between the active blade and the standby blade. The traffic management is holding its load properly and its balancing properly. It's very good.

In terms of the traffic flow management capabilities, there are graphs that you can look at as you enable them. You can look back at live data for the last 30 minutes and it's very good. I like it. You can manage your traffic easily and you can troubleshoot because, if you look back at your data for the past two weeks, you can see if something was flipping. It's a good feature.

What needs improvement?

There is room for improvement in the upgrading process. Sometimes we have to contact A10 for verification of some stuff.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have had A10s for about 10 or 12 years, in our Florida market. Our company merged with two other companies, so we inherited som A10s. Those are in Florida and those are the ones we have had for 10 or 12 years. They are TH3030S models.

We also purchased an A10 about a year ago and just finished configuring it, although it's not in full usage yet. This one is a TH4430S.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

So far, the stability has been very good. We haven't had much of a problem.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

As I said, we don't use them for too much, just for load balancing and our 911 service. We have different internal switches that are connected to the A10 to load-balance the traffic, so we don't use the A10s 100 percent but between 20 and 50 percent for now. But as time goes by we are going to be using them more.

We currently have about 25 to 30 people who log into it to do provisioning on a daily basis. 

As for our plans to implement technologies or strategies in the next three years, we may look at moving from hardware appliances to software/scale-out solutions. Our company is always looking at new solutions to meet market needs. We will also look at multi-cloud failover, upgrading from TLS/SSL capabilities to modern PFS/ECC encryption standards, and moving applications to the public cloud.

How are customer service and technical support?

We have used their tech support a few times. They're quick to answer the call and they respond to you in a timely manner. Their engineers are pretty good. They will join a WebEx session and look into the switch for you and try to resolve your problems. They resolve issues in a timely manner.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used F5 BIG-IPs. The switch to ADC was an upper-level decision. They wanted to change because things were outdated and it had to do with contracts and the like.

The things we consider most important when funding new technology are revenue generation, customer satisfaction, operational improvement, accelerating development speed, and business advantages from new technology.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was very straightforward but it depends on the solutions you are using in your environment.  In our network we don't configure all the features because we are not using them as yet, but it's very straightforward to configure them.

In our department, setup takes six to seven months, including getting the ADCs, racking and stacking them, and configuring them. Our organization has a standardized, tailored deployment strategy, where we have our own config, but it has to be coordinated with our other switches.

We have four to five people involved in the deployment of the solution. Our local engineers will install it, power it up, and give us a remote connection and then I, as a network engineer, will get in remotely and configure it.

What other advice do I have?

It's very simple to use, as long as you understand the engineering technology behind it. I would advise going with it. Make sure you have the GUI feature on it so that you can go in and do quick, at-a-glance monitoring.

The solution is good for load-balancing your traffic. We don't want to overload other switches, so we pass traffic through the A10 and load-balance it. It also helps us to troubleshoot issues within our network.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
VP, Web Services and Cyber Security at a financial services firm with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
SLB and GSLB enable us to distribute traffic, not only intra-data center, but inter-data center
Pros and Cons
  • "The SLB and GSLB load balancing are the most valuable features. They meet our need to do server-side load balancing and global site load balancing so we can distribute traffic, not only intra-data center, but inter-data center."
  • "In my opinion, they need to improve their cloud support. There is support for cloud, but not all functions are there, such as high-availability."

What is our primary use case?

We use it for SLB and GSLB load balancing. We're using the Thunder ADC 1040 but before that we used their AX 2500.

What is most valuable?

The SLB and GSLB load balancing are the most valuable features. They meet our need to do server-side load balancing and global site load balancing so we can distribute traffic, not only intra-data center, but inter-data center.

We are using them in the cloud and they are flexible, supporting the cloud services that we use. We use Azure.

What needs improvement?

In my opinion, they need to improve their cloud support. There is support for cloud, but not all functions are there, such as high-availability.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using A10 Networks Thunder ADC for eight or nine years. It's nothing new for us. It's been a while.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability is on par with what we expected. We have very little downtime that is related to the product itself.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability for us is more horizontal, so it's easy for us to add nodes into the cluster. It's not really scaling vertically where we need more power. We're using the smaller devices; we don't use their chassis where you can add more power.

It is our only load balancing solution. We plan to transition into Azure, but we don't see a need, based on the way we use it, to grow it. It will just be transitioned.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Previously, we were using F5 Networks' load balancers and we moved away from them because they were not flexible and they did not provide a good value. Since we switched to A10 Networks, we have had all the features that we need in a more value-oriented package. In particular, they provide SLB and GSLB, whereas F5 wanted to charge us for every single thing. We like the all-in-one-bundling from A10 Networks. It turns out to be a good value.

How was the initial setup?

The setup was straightforward. We worked with a support engineer from A10 Networks to plan the setup and they provided a migration tool. It was a straightforward migration when we switched from the AX to the Thunder series. Also, when we switched from F5 to A10 they provided resources to us.

We have it installed globally, so it took about three months to replace them all. The replacement strategy was to do it in pairs in each location, one at a time, to have the least impact with production.

What about the implementation team?

I didn't have any complaints about the consultant from A10. It was a good experience.

What was our ROI?

We ran the numbers and our return on investment is projected to be five years out with A10, compared to if we had replaced our infrastructure, back then, with F5.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It's a regular CapEx purchase, and annual maintenance per device.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We evaluated F5 again, because it was time for a renewal. We evaluated Juniper — at the time they had a load balancing solution. We also evaluated Cisco.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned is that even though at that time A10 was an up-and-comer, it was worth the chance. As a smaller player at the time, it provided a product that was stable and provided a better value. Being willing to take a calculated risk was worth it in the long-run.

Don't only look at the dominant players like F5. Do your research on vendors that might not have dominant market share. That's not to say that you would just choose to go with any small player. It would have to be a smaller player that has stability and that has at least some size to support you on an enterprise level, which is what we found with A10 at the time.

We have about 10 administrators of the solution.

I would rate Thunder ADC at nine out of 10. There are some things that can be improved, but we've been happy with it.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
IgorVan Den Ouden - PeerSpot reviewer
Network Architect at a retailer with 201-500 employees
Real User
With iRule or aFleX scripting, you can influence the complete packet instead of just a few bytes or bits
Pros and Cons
  • "Compared to F5, which I used about six years ago, the A10 is much easier when routing. You don't have to use the wildcard bits to route it between the different segments. It's much less troublesome to configure."
  • "There is room for improvement in the GUI. I just migrated from the 2.7 software train to the 4.1, and there are still people on 2.7. The latter is a very old GUI if you compare it to F5. It's not as easy to use and a lot of things are missing. They've made a lot of improvements in the 4.1 step, but compared to the ease of use of F5, it's still quite difficult. For people who haven't got a lot of experience, the GUI can be quite challenging."

What is our primary use case?

Our primary use case is load balancing, from Layer 4 to Layer 7, on different partitions. And it's also our internet gateway router with our ISP. We're using the standard DDoS protection which is on the box itself.

We have about 91 virtual IP addresses we're load balancing at the moment.

How has it helped my organization?

Before A10, we didn't have any load balancing capabilities. Now we use a different partition for the DNS infrastructure with the DNS firewall. The unit uses a separate partition for the internal- and for the external-facing. Before, everything was connected together, and we couldn't split very easily between test, production, and development.

The effect of the solution on our efficiency is that before, we only had round-robin DNS load balancing capabilities, with no health-checking, for example. Or we would have to use network-based load balancing from Microsoft. All that can bring a network down quite quickly, if you configure things incorrectly. With A10, we have a very robust load balancing solution that is capable, like F5, of iRule or aFleX scripting. You can influence the complete packet instead of just a few bytes or bits of the packets, depending on whether it's http or another Layer 4 to Layer 7 traffic flow.

What is most valuable?

Compared to F5, which I used about six years ago, the A10 is much easier when routing. You don't have to use the wildcard bits to route it between the different segments. It's much less troublesome to configure.

A10 Networks also doesn't have separate licenses for some features. All licenses are already onboard, which is not the case with F5. It's called the GTM on F5 and on A10 it's GSLB. The DNS load balancing is globally based and that isn't a separate license. That's already on the box in the ADC license itself.

The solution's traffic flow management capabilities are quite easy to use and quite good, and our ability to troubleshoot traffic flow issues is good if you know how to read the packet captures. If you know your way around the command prompt, it's fine.

We've got the solution's support for expanding infrastructure to public, private, and hybrid cloud containers for our internal data center, and we're also balancing some things we've got in AWS. That's only available internally. That scales well, especially the virtualization with the A10s. You can split it up into 32 separate units.

The solution's support for our on-premise applications is good. It's very flexible. You can split it up into different Layer 3 partitions: internal- or external-facing. Or you can use it as a separate partition for testing.

What needs improvement?

There is room for improvement in the GUI. I just migrated from the 2.7 software train to the 4.1, and there are still people on 2.7. The latter is a very old GUI if you compare it to F5. It's not as easy to use and a lot of things are missing. 

They've made a lot of improvements in the 4.1 step, but compared to the ease of use of F5, it's still quite difficult. For people who haven't got a lot of experience, the GUI can be quite challenging.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using the Thunder ADC product for nearly six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I've never had any trouble. There have been some bugs in some software-release trains, but there were no production issues as a result.

We have between 1,500 and 3,000 users connecting to the appliances daily. Administration-wise, there are two network admins but we're not required to look at it because we've got our daily monitoring alerts.

For our new applications, all load balancing is being done on the A10s. In terms of increasing our usage, there are still some new applications on our roadmap that are being developed. They will replace other applications that are not load balanced at the moment. The replacement will be load balanced so we plan to put more things behind them.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scales well. I haven't found any inconsistencies between the data sheets and the hardware specs. For our purposes, we haven't run into any degraded performance or the like.

How are customer service and technical support?

A10's technical support is very good. Most of the time we go through our support partner, but you can also send an email straight to A10 support and, most of the time, within one to two hours, you get a response.

Initially, I got support directly with the vendor and that was fine. Now, we've also got a support partner. I haven't any experience with them yet because we just engaged them with the new units. But my direct experience with A10 was quite good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

The primary reasons that we switched to A10 were that F5 wasn't 46-bit hardware-capable yet, at the time, and because of the licensing. For what we wanted to do with our replacement parts, we would have had to migrate to a much more expensive and higher-end hardware model at that size. And support-wise, F5 is about five times more expensive than A10 is.

Overall, at the time, we were quite happy with F5. But we were looking around and came across A10 and did a proof of concept with them. Price-wise, it was very interesting and hardware-wise as well.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was quite straightforward, but take into account that I've been using it for a long time. 

If you come from a Cisco background and you switch to F5, it's quite a big step. A10 is more like a Cisco IOS, in terms of the CLI. The F5 is more Junos OS, CLI-wise. So for me, the migration from F5 to A10 — because we use a lot of Cisco as well, internally — and the setup of A10, was quite easy. The commands are quite similar for configuring the interfaces.

For the migration five or six years ago took, the initial deployment took about two or three days to get the failover and everything else working. The migration itself for about 70 VIPs, took about a month. My recent migration from one unit to the other unit took about two weeks, taking into account the different departments and getting a service window to migrate things.

In terms of our implementation strategy, as is, from the one A10 to the other A10, everything we're load balancing was just a copy-paste and then we made some hardware improvements because we have more 10-GB interface capabilities. We can split the load better between a separate Layer 3 core and our ACI data center core.

What about the implementation team?

We did it ourselves, but we had a review of the initial configurations and migration steps from A10 Professional Services, and that took about two hours. Our experience with them was quite good.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI from going with A10. Part of that was the ease of configuration, but that's because most of the other network engineers also have a Cisco background, and they had never done anything with the F5 solution before. So it was quite easy for them to get used to configuring it. And in the support contract, we saved a lot of money, on the order of $15,000 to $20,000 a year.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

As for the initial investment in the hardware, F5 and A10 are quite similar now. For the current A10 solution, the initial cost was about $36,000. As for annual support, the F5 solution would be between $10,000 and $12,000, while the A10 is $2,200 a year for support.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

In terms of A10's security features, the web application firewall handles the top 10 OWASP use cases. But the ATM on the F5 is much more enhanced or comprehensive. For pure load balancing and the normal security features, both solutions are okay. They are easy to configure for simple setups.

What other advice do I have?

The biggest lesson I have learned using the ADC solution is the ease of routing between the different segments that are behind the solution, compared to F5.

You have to look at your use cases for load balancing and how much you want to have influence from the traffic. In my opinion, there are only two solutions that are very close to each other, the F5 and the A10, in terms of the way you can influence your traffic. Then it comes down to the price. Security-wise, they each have different angles for how you set it up.

We don't use A10's FlexPool consumption-based licensing model. We have some VM test units. We would have to bring our own license if we wanted to host it in the cloud. That's another subscription model that we haven't used.

In terms of the solution's single-pane-of-glass view, you actually you need the Harmony analytics to see everything. You can see everything that is configured on, but to get the most out of the monitoring part, you have to have Harmony with it. With Nagios and Zabbix, etc., you have to do a lot of OED searching to get all the collect counters for your service groups.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
IT Specialist at a university with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Seamless and robust and gives us one less thing to worry about
Pros and Cons
  • "The ease of use is very good. It's very robust. It just sits and works."
  • "The user interface is what people complain about most of the time, particularly if they don't use it very often. Then they complain that it's a bit clunky."

What is our primary use case?

We use it to load-balance the website.

How has it helped my organization?

It's seamless.

The solution has made things easier in terms of operations efficiency It's one less thing to worry about. It just sits and it runs. 

What is most valuable?

We don't use many of the features. We're just using the basic ADC features. We're not really using anything particularly extensive on them. They sit and work most of the time. 

The ease of use is very good. It's very robust. It just sits and works. We forget that it's there a lot of the time.

What needs improvement?

The user interface is what people complain about most of the time, particularly if they don't use it very often. Then they complain that it's a bit clunky. It works from an ADC point of view, but the interface is a bit clunky.

For how long have I used the solution?

We've been using it for about eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It's rock solid. It just sits and works. That's the way you want it.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It's definitely scalable. We've not had any problems. I'm looking at the CPU graphs and it's not bothered at the moment.

How are customer service and technical support?

The support is very good. They're very responsive if we ever have any problems. That was what drew us to them in the first place.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Prior to this one, we had another Thunder ADC. Before that, we didn't really have a requirement for an ADC. This was the first one we ever had. We've did have some free, software-based ones in the past. But when it became a bigger requirement, we ended up with ADC.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward because we had an A10 engineer who came onsite and helped set it up for us. It wasn't plug-and-play. We did have to have some engagement. The deployment took a couple of days. We have continued adding more and more services onto it.

We put it in primarily for Exchange, to do some load-balancing at the time. These days, if we put it in, we'd have a lot more change-control to go through, but back in those days we just put it in, set it up, and away it went.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There aren't any licensing costs associated with it. It's just an appliance and you get all the licenses with it.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at Kemp and there was another one, but it was about ten years ago. We went with A10 because of price and support.

What other advice do I have?

Do research. I'd probably look at virtual appliances if I was going forward. One thing we could do with is a proper Dev and Test environment, which we don't have. I would have had some virtual appliances for Dev and Test. We did talk about that, but we haven't gotten around to doing it.

There are about ten of us who use it from a management point of view. But all the staff and students benefit from it.

It requires two or three people for maintenance.

We don't have any specific plans to increase usage. A lot of things might be going to the cloud, so there might be less use going forward.

I would give it an eight out of ten because it sits and works, it's robust. But the interface could do with a bit of work.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
IT Head at Medi Assist
Real User
Improves our performance and management, saving us money
Pros and Cons
  • "A10 explained why the latency dropped significantly on a site that we have."
  • "I would like them to provide learning tips and a community forum where users can share ideas. They need more detailed support articles on the A10 website."

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is to use it as a software load balancer. 

Because of the industry that we operate in, we cannot use cloud. Therefore, we use it on-premise. We have 32 medium boxes, and that's what runs production.

How has it helped my organization?

A10 explained why the latency dropped significantly on a site that we have.

It gives me information on load balancing and offloading, which provides me information on performance.

What is most valuable?

I use SSL, TSL, and additional offloading. With additional offloading, this is where I can put my certificate on A10, as servers don't have the capability.

It has allowed us to smooth out our traffic.

What needs improvement?

The ease of use could have been created better. Some of the UI features are very primitive. Sometimes, wrong entries will go in and stay. I gave this feedback to the team who sold it to me. 

Also, some things like the traffic flow management take a lot of time to learn to use. While we have mastered using the feature, it doesn't tell us where we are going wrong or if something is breaking.

It will start failing if you have a containerized environment, which is why we have to start moving away from using the A10. If they could fix this, that would be good. 

It would be also be nice if someone could walk me through the solution’s Secure Service Mesh to optimize traffic within Kubernetes and containers, since I am not able to use A10 for rebalancing right now.

While I do use the security features on the load balancing, I find them to be primitive.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using it for two and a half years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I can't complain about its stability.

My engineering managers, with help of the DevOps team, manage the deployment. They have become self-sufficient and, with zero impact, they patch the servers in broad daylight, meaning mid-week.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I haven't needed to vertically scale beyond this box. It does scale horizontally.

The journey started with four servers and two websites and now I run close to 32 servers and service 36 applications, consisting of Web, application, and microservices. CPU utilization has moved marginally, by about three percent.

How are customer service and technical support?

Troubleshooting always results in us contacting the tech support team and have a solutions expert, who is part of the sales team, send us helpful information. The solution expert is phenomenal, which is not the same experience that I have with the technical support.

I haven't been impressed with the technical support, though. When we need help, there is less support staff than we would like in the time that we need them. E.g., it may take an hour and a half to get assistance during an emergency. 

I would like them to provide learning tips and a community forum. where users can share ideas. They need more detailed support articles on the A10 website.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

Before A10, I was using Network Load Balancing from Windows, which came pre-bundled and was primitive. I wanted to move to a professional version where I would have more control. I evaluated a couple of products and A10 seemed to be the clear winner. I had very simple parameters: the latency of response from our servers. The benchmark was NLB. When we compared the numbers with A10 and, when configured properly, it reduced the latency by roughly 15 percent.

There is absolutely no comparison between A10 and Windows load balancing.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup wasn't complex. A10 helped us with the setup. 

It took seven days to go into production, which was due to number of sites that we were running.

Implementation strategy:

  1. It should have the ability, as a load balancer, to manage circuits.
  2. Not everyone should have access to it.

I created a replica of the production box. Then, I set up the service, which I put on the load balancer. For 15 minutes, I moved the traffic from my NLB through A10 and monitored the performance. Then, I moved it back and it gave me the confidence that it could run safely. Then, I did the same for all 36 sites that I run. Afterwards, I moved it over to my team.

What about the implementation team?

A10's solution expert helped us configure the box.

A third-party called Value Point helped us with the deployment. I was not impressed with their skills. 

For the deployment, there were two or three people from my team, two or three people coming from Value Point, and two from A10.

What was our ROI?

It's a phenomenal investment that the company has made.  

It improves our performance and management saving us money. 

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

There were budgetary constraints that keep us from investing in the single pane of glass traffic management feature. We saw a demo of this feature about a year to a year and a half ago.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We have not looked into any other options.

What other advice do I have?

Go for it. 

It's always better to go with a nimble, growing company. Partner your growth with their journey. It's always beneficial for a stable setup. 

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Amita Mahajan - PeerSpot reviewer
Network Analyst at Alamo Colleges
Real User
Load balancing works really well, and it provides persistent cookies, source IPs, and good security
Pros and Cons
  • "We have two appliances and I'm able to move my application from one appliance to another. I don't have to move my whole A10 to be active on the other side or to be passive on the other side. If an application is having a problem, I can just move it using a command."
  • "We do have the option of creating virtual chassis, so that gives it a bit more security. If we find an application which is not going to play well in the main pool, we can easily create a virtual chassis and have that application in that virtual chassis. With the virtual chassis we can also create system partitions and have a test system for test applications, and have the others elsewhere."
  • "The solution does logging, but the logging capacity is really small. Because we have a bunch of traffic here, we usually get a logging-side warning that "This many logs were lost because of the heavy traffic." If the logging was better, that would be very good."

What is our primary use case?

We are using ADC for load balancing. Most of our enterprise applications are behind ADC.

It's on-premise.

How has it helped my organization?

It has definitely improved the way our organization performs. Our company is mostly an education institution. We have a campus and an administration where we host all the enterprise applications. With enterprise applications going to six separate entities, it requires a lot of hardware underlying the applications. So load balancing has worked very well.

It definitely has enhanced our application security and our application accessibility. We don't have to go with the original application, the built-in, round-robin kind of thing. The security features, like SSL version 3.0 or TLS 1.2, mean it has pretty good options in the way the application can be configured to make it more secure, as well as the number of servers that are behind it and the way it chooses its servers.

What is most valuable?

The features we have used are basically for load balancing. The round-robin feature, the persistent cookies, the source IPs, source mapping, we use all of that in our situation. 

They also have a feature I use frequently. We have two appliances and I'm able to move my application from one appliance to another. I don't have to move my whole A10 to be active on the other side or to be passive on the other side. If an application is having a problem, I can just move it using a command. That is really interesting and very appropriate for our environment.

It's very easy to use. The commands are easy to use. I have used a couple of other load balancers and I find A10 to be the easiest one. The language and the commands are easier, as is the layout. Even the technology behind it all just links together, so it's pretty easy to use. You just follow the steps and you're good.

Within load balancing, we use some of the security features as well, such as the source mapping. We make sure that everything goes in and out from A10 itself. That makes the messages more secure too. We know what's going in and what's going out. It captures their source IP addresses if we want it to. The VRRP solution is also good. It has automatic failover.

It also has a Virtual Chassis System, although we don't use it. But we do have the option of creating virtual chassis, so that gives it a bit more security. If we find an application which is not going to play well in the main pool, we can easily create a virtual chassis and have that application in that virtual chassis. With the virtual chassis we can also create system partitions and have a test system for test applications and have the others elsewhere.

What needs improvement?

The solution does logging, but the logging capacity is really small. Because we have a bunch of traffic here, we usually get a logging-side warning that "This many logs were lost because of the heavy traffic." If the logging was better, that would be very good.

It has security features like DDoS and WAF, but they are not updated automatically. If any new vulnerability comes out, you are given an option to update that vulnerability in your system and the actual firewalls. Because, for ADC, this is just an added feature, it's not the main security solution right now. It's not the only security that any company would have. There is an opportunity to modify that and make it better.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for the last six or seven years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I don't want to jinx it, but it's pretty stable. There are times where we don't even have to reboot it for a year. We would look at the time and say, "Oh, it's been like 270 days. We haven't rebooted. Let's schedule it to reboot." Otherwise, it's very smooth.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability depends on the resources you have. We do have resources so we are on the higher end in terms of what we bought, and we do have the scalability built-in. We are not using the virtual chassis. But if we want to expand it and have partitions created, to create a separate virtual chassis, we do have that scalability. If we need to add another appliance to it, the process is pretty simple. So it's scalable.

There are talks, internally, that all our applications should be behind ADC. As soon as we get to that level, even if it is just one server-application, the application will be behind ADC. Right now, we have our major enterprise applications, our major ERP systems, our email systems, and our tier-one applications behind ADC.

How are customer service and technical support?

They do have support and it is wonderful. We are on the highest support level. It's very good, even excellent.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We were using another product. The main things that attracted us - I saw it a conference where there was a demo - were the pricing at that time, the functionality, and the stability. Of course, we continued afterward doing a little bit more research. A10 was still trying to get its foot into the market over here and they were very helpful. I do not have any regrets switching over to A10.

Initially, we deployed it because of our learning management system, which I was handling. It is Linux-based and it required load balancers. We moved to A10 from another load balancer at least in part because of the better pricing. Also, it was doing Layer 4 and Layer 7 and that's what was required.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup is pretty simple if you have the guide. It's just like a basic switch on any appliance deployment. Deployment is not hard.

When we initially did it, this was a new product, of course, so we had support do the deployment. But when we changed the appliance, I did it myself, moving from one to another and doing the initial configuration. It's more a matter of the paperwork that you do on the network, and how it will change. But the deployment itself on A10, like configuring your settings, etc., takes no more than two or three hours. If you have your paperwork done, it's pretty easy.

When you move into this solution there is a learning curve if you come from another one. But once you get used to it and you know how things are flowing, it's pretty good.

What about the implementation team?

When we bought A10 and we moved to it, we did have the A10 consultants help us.

Our experience with them was excellent. They were eager to do it. At that time, A10 was pretty new over here. From the support to the administration, everybody was eager to help out, to get it deployed and be successful.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

We pay for it on a yearly basis. There is standard licensing for the number of controllers; that just came into existence last year. Other than that, there's just the support: Basic or Gold Support, etc.

What other advice do I have?

In implementing A10, you need to keep in mind your end goal, what is it that you desire? If you're looking for more DDoS, or if you're looking for more firewall-type of capabilities, then you might have to do a little bit more consultation. But if you're looking for ADC and trying to see separation and load balancing, A10 does the job and provides security very well. It has both CLI and a web interface, so it's not too congested nor does it look too busy. Its appearance is very soothing and relaxing so that helps.

It does have the reporting capabilities and the capability to send logs to an external device. If you feel comfortable with Linux, you can really expand its usage. It depends on what your company goals are.

Overall, A10 ADC is pretty good. It's reasonably priced and easy to use.

The biggest lesson I have learned from using ADC is that I have to keep on learning it. The good thing is that even when they do firmware upgrades, there are minor tweaks but it's not ever-changing firmware where we have to upgrade. That's a good thing about A10. I have other applications that I am responsible for and they generally have frequent upgrades and you have to do them or you won't be supported. But I have not gotten into that situation with A10. That's a huge advantage for us, being in the education field, because there are semesters during all 12 months of the year. There are very few windows in which we can actually bring down appliances and upgrade them. Maintenance-wise, with A10, we have not had that problem.

We have the solution’s Harmony analytics and visibility controller but I would not say that it has enabled us to proactively detect, anticipate, or resolve issues before they become problems. It does give very good reporting, but we have not had any issues that it told me about first-hand - or maybe we are not configured in that way. But it's a very good reporting tool and a very good graphical analyzer.

As for deployment and maintenance of the solution, it's only me.

Regarding the solution's single pane of glass traffic management, I don't think we have used any feature for traffic management. At the back-end we have very good bandwidth and, the way it is positioned in the network, the agent doesn't have to do any traffic management. We are not at the saturation point. We are even below the midpoint on traffic.

The solution hasn't affected our operations efficiency because we offer the solution to our applications team, if they need to have their applications behind A10. We just changed data centers, moved into a new building. We are at a stage where we would like, and there are talks, to have all our applications behind ADC, just for security, to have that separation from the users, but we are not there yet.

It is a work in progress. Initially, when we deployed A10, it was the demand of an application that we have a load balancer in place so that it could load balance among the ten different servers the application needed. But now, it has improved our decision-making where, if added security is needed, the application team would say, "Okay, let's put it on A10 for the off-loading, etc." Other features that a server would normally do are conducted by A10, which means a little less load on the server side. That helps the application efficiency.

We are in the process of using the WAF, the web application firewall, from A10. It's not the main firewall product, obviously, but we have found it to be interesting. We are trying to implement it. We are in learning mode right now.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Senior Network Engineer at a recreational facilities/services company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
Simple to use GSLB. However, administrators find it difficult to maneuver through the web user interface.
Pros and Cons
  • "The Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) is simple to use."
  • "Traffic flow issues are very difficult, as there's no means for us to analyze the traffic coming in or out of the appliance without technical support."

What is our primary use case?

The primary use case is server load balancing.

We use the on-premise deployment model.

How has it helped my organization?

It has provided improvement in regards to flexibility of our applications between data centers.

It does improve operational efficiency, but it's not overwhelming.

What is most valuable?

The Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) is simple to use.

What needs improvement?

It's not easy to use (mediocre at best). It's difficult for administrators to maneuver through the web user interface. It should be more intuitive through the web GUI. If you're a command line person, you can get around. However, the web UI is very difficult, and for our operational folks, they need the web UI.

The solution’s security features are minimal. I'm not impressed by the DDoS solution.

Traffic flow issues are very difficult, as there's no means for us to analyze the traffic coming in or out of the appliance without technical support. 

They need to improve in-depth diagnostics. I don't know how to do a tcpdump on the appliance. We need to do packet captures on the appliance to analyze what's going through it. Information is not as easy to attain as it is with other vendors. Better diagnostic tools would probably help.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the solution for three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Stability has been fine. It's been stable.

We upgraded our solution last year.

For deployment and maintenance, we only need a couple of administrators (less than 10 people).

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is appropriate.

It's moving along based on the business growth, so there are no plans to increase usage.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is not great, but they are not poor either. They're fair. We don't open a support case that often, but when we do, it's not immediate as far as their response. When they do respond, they come up with a collaboration to troubleshoot or find an answer. So, it's fair at best.

The solution's support for our on-premise applications do their job. The basic functionalities for on-prem services are okay. They're not anything great. They do what they're supposed to do.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously had F5 and switched because of costs. 

We are able to do the same things (as the previous solution), but it is cheaper when we have to renew.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. The deployment took three to four months.

What about the implementation team?

We were pretty familiar with the product, so we did the deployment ourselves.

What was our ROI?

It has broken even on ROI. We haven't lost any, which is good, but we haven't gained anything.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

It is $7000 per unit for the support annually.

What other advice do I have?

It does do the job, if your environment is simplistic enough. The product is fair for its market.

We test and used the single pane of glass traffic management, but we don't use that now. We went away from that. Now, we administer our devices individually.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
Shiven Singh - PeerSpot reviewer
Network Manager at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
Real User
A reliable product that is very easy to configure and administrate while being cost-effective
Pros and Cons
  • "Being a public entity and having a public website which is highly visible with a lot of traffic, we are a target for DDoS. Within the last year, we have had a couple of DDoS attacks which could have affected our web traffic and taken down certain parts of our website. This did not happen because the A10 was able to mitigate the attacks using rate limiting that can be configured for DDoS mitigation on the box."
  • "It is very useful to have a simple dashboard where you can login and look into what your traffic patterns are, then look and see what times of day you're experiencing the heaviest traffic. You can quickly identify if you are possibly having a security issue or security breach. It makes it very easy to use the box."
  • "When it comes to support, there is always room for improvement. First call resolution is not always there for urgent issues. The first call resolution is something that could be improved upon."
  • "They need to make the user interface (GUI) a bit more usable and intuitive. Some features can be a little difficult to find at times. Sometimes, the workflow in the GUI doesn't match the workflow of an actual workflow. E.g., if I want to create a load balancer application, sometimes you've got to do things a bit out of order in the GUI in order to make it work right."

What is our primary use case?

  • Load balance web traffic
  • Load balance application traffic
  • DDoS protection
  • Carrier Grade Network (CGN)

We have the ADC product, as well as the CGN.

We are using both the public and private deployment model. We are using AWS as our cloud provider.

How has it helped my organization?

It helps us operational when had our DDoS attack. We got a call at two o'clock in the morning one day from one of our service providers that there was a DDoS attack happening against one of our IPs. We looked at the way our network was configured, then we looked into the best way to mitigate it. We knew that our A10 had the capability, but we didn't have it enabled at the time. We called support and were able to get it enabled. Immediately, we stopped that DDoS attack. From an operational perspective, we had a down situation that we were able to quickly resolve and bringing it.

It also helps out a lot, from an operational perspective, when we are load balancing our servers, whether application or web. It is real easy to do a maintenance window. I can go into any of my service groups, then take the servers out of the service group and do maintenance on half of the servers while the other half are still online. I can get all those updated, back up to date, and put all of them back, then take the other half out and update them. So, it allows us to do seamless updates to our servers and application infrastructure.

What is most valuable?

We send all of our production web traffic through our A10. We have a major website, which is our school's website. On the website, there are many different applications and sites, so being able to balance that between our on-premise resources as well as our public cloud with AWS is a huge feature.

The solution's security features are excellent. It actively helped us mitigate a DDoS attack in October of 2018. You can do SSL offloading. You can use the A10 to terminate your SSL connectivity, meaning that you can install all your public certificates on the A10 box itself. It just has a wealth of security features.

Being a public entity and having a public website, which is highly visible with a lot of traffic, we are a target for DDoS. Within the last year, we have had a couple of DDoS attacks which could have affected our web traffic and taken down certain parts of our website. This did not happen because the A10 was able to mitigate the attacks using rate limiting that can be configured for DDoS mitigation on the box.

The single pane of glass traffic management is a nice feature. It allows us to be able to delegate access to different groups of people. This means that I can provide a front line support (a help desk) a certain level of access to be able to look at things, a second level support a little more access, and then engineers can have full access. It is very useful to have a simple dashboard where you can login and look into what your traffic patterns are, then look and see what times of day you're experiencing the heaviest traffic. You can quickly identify if you are possibly having a security issue or security breach. It makes it very easy to use the box.

Troubleshooting traffic flows is fairly easy on the box, as you can do packet captures or tcpdumps directly on the A10 itself. So, you can do a trace and see what the A10 is doing with certain traffic. E.g., if I have a client somewhere out in the world who is coming into my A10 box and reporting some weird behavior, or saying, "Hey, I can't get to this application on your website," or "I'm getting blocked for this reason. I can't look at the A10 and figure it out." I could then go into the traffic flows, run a tcpdump, and do a traffic capture. At this point, I can immediately identify where the traffic is coming from and why it is not getting through the box.

I have a very technical background and was a network engineer for many years before I became a manager. For me, it is a very easy to use product. The web GUI makes it very easy to configure. The CLI is not very difficult to use, along with the syntax. The command line is very easy to learn.

What needs improvement?

They need to make the user interface (GUI) a bit more usable and intuitive. Some features can be a little difficult to find at times. Sometimes, the workflow in the GUI doesn't match the workflow of an actual workflow. E.g., if I want to create a load balancer application, sometimes you've got to do things a bit out of order in the GUI in order to make it work right.

For how long have I used the solution?

I have been using the product for at least 10 years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It has helped us deliver five nines of uptime. It is a very reliable box. It has never failed on us.

For deployment and maintenance, we have a primary and backup who are network engineers.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

I know that they are scalable, but we personally have never outgrown the boxes that we have. We've never really had to scale.

We definitely plan to increase usage. Today, A10 is used on a production website that gets hundreds of thousands of visits a week. I would expect an increase in the number of visits to the website, which is on the load balancing side. For the Carrier Grade Network, we are currently using it to net roughly 9500 users through the A10. So, we're doing CGN for 9500 people in all of our residences. That number is expected to double within the next five years.

We have about 20 to 25 people administrating or helping support it: network engineers, network architects, software engineers, security engineers, support staff, and web developers.

How are customer service and technical support?

The technical support is really good. When it comes to support, there is always room for improvement. However, there has not been a time that I reached out to A10 support, including after hours, such as two o'clock in the morning during that DDoS attack, and I have not been able to get a hold of an engineer right away. I have had some situations where the person couldn't resolve my issue and they had to go do some research, then come back to me within a day or two with a solution. Overall, they have a good support model. They have a great response time. First call resolution is not always there for urgent issues. The first call resolution is something that could be improved upon.

The A10 support and training site has a significant wealth of information and documentation about how to configure the most common configurations requested. Therefore, it is very easy to use coming from a network engineer background.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We previously used a Cisco solution. One of the main reasons for switching away from Cisco was the licensing model. A10 gives you global server load balancing for free, while Cisco charged a significant licensing fee for that.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was straightforward. The way the box is brought online, A10 has good documentation on how to set it up. The person that I had on my team in charge of bringing this box online had zero A10 experience. Within a week or so, they were able to get up to speed and bring the box online, get it licensed properly, get it updated to the latest code, and put a basic configuration on it.

You plug it up, then it is a next, next, finish type of thing to get it online and operational.

The initial deployment plan was to get the box online, then to load balance some basic traffic and see how it worked. After that, we created some health checks to see how they worked and tested those out. We then tried to create some flex codes to do some basic redirects. We tested them, and those worked. We followed that same pattern when it came to application balancing.

From the network side of things, once we knew that it worked, we then passed it over. We created partitions for each of our application groups and gave them access to the A10 box. They could then configure their own server or applications on the box.

You do need intermediate network skills in order to use the box effectively. It is an advanced technology that you are configuring. It is not like you're just setting up a basic network with a switch and a router. Load balancers can be used for many different purposes: Doing URL redirects, application load balancing, and web load balancing. It can be used a million different ways. It can also be used to do a lot of different security features, such as SSL offloading so you can inspect SSL traffic. Thus, you must have a good understanding of what the box is capable of to be able to configure it.

So far, the solution has supported all of our in-house applications, which are homegrown, as well as the applications that we have purchased from vendors. We haven't run into a situation where we have ever tried to configure our A10 to work with software that was either homegrown or purchased where we couldn't get it to work. The solution has been very successful.

What was our ROI?

We have seen ROI from a being able to delegate certain rights to certain other groups of people to administrate their own configurations on the A10. Also, from an operational overhead, as well as cost, there has definitely been a huge return on investment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

For the hardware and license, we paid $35,000 per box, which was a one-time cost. Then, for the Gold Support on the two boxes, we pay $9400 annually.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We also evaluated F5 and Citrix NetScaler.

The pros of A10 versus F5 are ease of use, as well as cost. F5 is much more difficult to configure. One of the pros of F5 is that it has more granular configuration, meaning you could do a lot more with F5 than you could do with an A10. However, A10 was a better fit for our needs. One of the cons of F5 is the cost.

With NetScaler, one of the cons is the cost. One of its pros is functionality-wise, the feature sets are very rich. 

The pros of Citrix and F5 are that they are more widely deployed than A10. If I was trying to find other people, such as my peers who have worked on A10s, there will be a lot more people out there that have worked on Citrix or F5 opposed to A10. This is a con for A10. 

What other advice do I have?

It has been a good, reliable solution for us. If you want a reliable solution that is very easy to configure and administrate, the A10 is the right choice. It is a very cost-effective solution. I would always pick A10 unless there was a specific feature set that one of the other vendors offered and I absolutely needed.

We do not use the solution’s Secure Service Mesh to optimize traffic within Kubernetes and containers today, but that is something we would like to do in the future.

Disclosure: PeerSpot contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
PeerSpot user
it_user626721 - PeerSpot reviewer
Security Consultant & IT Professional at Sistemas Aplicativos, SISAP
Consultant
Provides load balancing, proxies, and internal proxies

What is most valuable?

The load balancing, proxies, and internal proxies are valuable features. 

What needs improvement?

  • Improvement of the grid look
  • Intuitive UI
  • Syntax 
  • Configuring

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

It is very stable. 

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability is really good. You can easily unify many devices at once. ADCs are simple to configure and each device is powerful. We have two engineers managing and monitoring multiple systems and it works well for us. 

How is customer service and technical support?

For the past two and a half years, we have not had a need to open a tech support ticket. It is really stable. In the past, our experience with tech support was that they were extremely helpful. 

How was the initial setup?

The setup depends on certain situations. In certain scenarios, it may be more complex than others. For example, while the initial configuration may be easy, the environment itself may be complex and that may limit the ease of deployment. It is easy for those who understand their environment.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

The pricing and licensing are really easy because we bought the hardware and it has all of the license availability. The licensing is embedded in the hardware. We do not have to import any other license. The pricing is a third of the price of the F5 competition. 

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: I am a reseller.
PeerSpot user
it_user848256 - PeerSpot reviewer
Senior Network Architect at a financial services firm with 10,001+ employees
Real User
Solved our CGNAT performance issues and provides good scalability
Pros and Cons
  • "The Deterministic CGNAT feature is valuable for us."
  • "It scaled well for our numbers, up to 3 million subscribers for our most crowded region but I would like to see the same scalability numbers for the virtualized version as well."

What is our primary use case?

Carrier-grade NAT is the purpose of using A10 Networks Thunder ADC at Turk Telekom Mobile.

How has it helped my organization?

It solved the CGNAT performance issues and, within two years, it had no problems and no outages.

What is most valuable?

The Deterministic CGNAT feature.

What needs improvement?

I would like to see the scalability numbers for the virtualized version which are comparable to those I noted in my answer on "Scalability."

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Every six months we made active-passive changes and upgraded to the latest version of the firmware. But we didn’t have stabiliy issues.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

It scaled well for our numbers, up to 3 million subscribers for our most crowded region.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support was mostly provided by another company, but A10 also responded our questions on time and accurately.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We used F5 load-balancers for the same purpose before, but those devices weren’t meant to be built for CGNAT. F5 devices built for CGNAT were also functioning well according to PoC tests.

How was the initial setup?

It was easy. The CLI of the devices are universal and we had to make the solution as simple as possible in order to get scalability.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

F5.

What other advice do I have?

I would advise doing comprehensive PoC tests for your specific purpose, for all products.

Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
it_user3834 - PeerSpot reviewer
Network Engineer at a insurance company with 1,001-5,000 employees
Vendor
A cost-effective and highly scalable ADC for enterprises seeking advanced load-balancing features

Valuable Features:

One of the main advantages of A10’s line of ADCs is that they offer an all-inclusive licensing scheme for their products. This scheme enables enterprises to save significantly on costs, and makes managing licenses easier. A10’s ADCs is a solid, high-performance platform. It supports advanced traffic management and scripting features and broad set of security features using a third-party web application firewall. Lastly, A10’s ADCs have IPv6 support which gives it an edge over other offerings in the market should IPv6 functionality be required.

Room for Improvement:

Though A10 has a solid offering, they have an on-going legal battle with Brocade. Depending on how this plays out eventually, this is a risk that must be evaluated carefully. Support can also be a problem if you are in the United States, as its main contact centers are in Asia. Application integration with third-party development tools is also a problem, as there are limited integration options available. Finally, A10’s products has limited web acceleration support for mobile users. This can be a problem if the application is intended for this purpose, but custom scripting is available to help alleviate this issue.

Other Advice:

Overall, A10’s ADCs are a good product with the price many companies can afford and have features that even some high-end ADCs. I recommend it for those companies looking for advanced features offered by the product yet wants to keep costs down. However, the future might not be bright for this company, and I highly suggest that existing and potential users follow the progress of their legal battle with Brocade. Long term support might suffer if they lose their case, which a cause of concern for both existing and future customers.
Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
PeerSpot user
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) Report and find out what your peers are saying about A10 Networks, F5, Citrix, and more!
Updated: September 2022
Buyer's Guide
Download our free Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) Report and find out what your peers are saying about A10 Networks, F5, Citrix, and more!