HAProxy Review

We have been able to achieve high performance load balancing in a short amount of time

What is most valuable?

The heavily tuned full stack (NIC, kernel, and user space) produces excellent performance. Their support is available for advanced troubleshooting.

How has it helped my organization?

We have been able to achieve extremely high performance load balancing in a short amount of time. As an example, using L4 mode, we routinely return more than 100 gigabytes per second of MySQL traffic, from a cluster of about 10 replicas.

What needs improvement?

The GUI is clunky and the on-board metric viewing solution is poor. We ship metrics off the appliance to InfluxDB (using CollectIT, which is bundled with the appliance), to view them directly with Grafana.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have used this solution for around five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

During our seven years with these appliances, we have found some problems, typically under very extreme conditions. In each case, the issue was quickly escalated to a team led by the CTO at Aloha.

During one of these cases, they found three separate OpenSSL bugs, and one of them was not previously reported. We also moved to using Intel NICs. Our initial batch of appliances had a different manufacturer, which struggled when pushed to the line rate.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Full layer 7 SSL termination is limited to a single core, which is a problem. We have worked around it terminating SSL on the back-ends, but this is not ideal.

How is customer service and technical support?

Technical support is truly exceptional. The initial layer is highly technical, and can reproduce problems and provide details. Serious issues are quickly escalated to the senior R&D team.

Which solutions did we use previously?

We have moved all of our basic load balancing onto these devices. We previously used Citrix NetScalers, which were expensive, harder to configure, and more challenging to troubleshoot.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was trivial.

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

Compared to the others in the market, such as Citrix and F5, the cost per performance for Aloha appliances is extremely low. In our experience, the performance and reliability is better.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We strongly prefer to go with Open Source solutions. We evaluated https://www.loadbalancer.org/ as well. We went with Aloha because of the in-house expertise that Aloha has. The primary developer of HAProxy works there.

What other advice do I have?

Go for it. These systems are exceptional.

Disclosure: IT Central Station 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.
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