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A10 Networks Thunder ADC OverviewUNIXBusinessApplication

A10 Networks Thunder ADC is #5 ranked solution in top Application Delivery Controllers. IT Central Station users give A10 Networks Thunder ADC an average rating of 8 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). The top industry researching this solution are professionals from a comms service provider, accounting for 26% of all views.
What is A10 Networks Thunder ADC?

A10 Networks' application networking, load balancing and DDoS protection solutions accelerate and secure data center applications and networks of thousands of the world's largest enterprises, service providers, and hyper scale web providers.

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

A10 Networks Thunder ADC Buyer's Guide

Download the A10 Networks Thunder ADC Buyer's Guide including reviews and more. Updated: December 2021

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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DC
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: 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.
HR
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: 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.
Learn what your peers think about A10 Networks Thunder ADC. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: December 2021.
554,676 professionals have used our research since 2012.
Amita Mahajan
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: 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.
CB
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: 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.
Shiven Singh
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: 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.
it_user626721
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.  …

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.
it_user848256
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.
it_user3834
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.
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