[c-nsp] Replacement for Cisco ACE load balancers

Steve Hillier steve.hillier at cira.ca
Mon Feb 4 15:41:06 EST 2013

I believe F5 Networks makes some of the best hardware load balancers I've ever worked with. 

Beyond the basic features all h/w LBs support, iRules give you programmatic access to Layer7 traffic management functions and also allow for in-line payload manipulations, and there is a big, diverse and very active user community (devcentral.f5.com).

I am not a fan of the one-arm configuration and I've only deployed that twice to production.  F5 works extremely well (I think better) in a routed configuration. I do not like SNAT and F5 does not require it for any protocol - as long as the back-end servers route back through the F5. 

I've federated many non-HTTP protocols without issue using F5.

F5 supports IPv6 through the entire stack (at least all modules I've worked with) including the dynamic routing modules. It also supports NAT64 for those situations where you can't deploy IPv6 end-to-end, but want to retain a public IPv6 interface to services.

In general, my experience with F5 is unparalleled and I wouldn't choose to operate any other brand of Hardware LB in production.

I'll pre-empt the obvious follow-up question: No, I do not, and have never worked for F5 networks.


-----Original Message-----
From: cisco-nsp-bounces at puck.nether.net [mailto:cisco-nsp-bounces at puck.nether.net] On Behalf Of Matthew Huff
Sent: February-04-13 10:14 AM
To: 'cisco-nsp at puck.nether.net'
Subject: [c-nsp] Replacement for Cisco ACE load balancers

We have a pair of Cisco ACE-20 blades in our core 6500 data center switches. Since Cisco has EOL the ACE blades and we are retiring our 6500s (moving to Nexus 5000), we are looking for a replacement load balancing hardware. This is for high-availability rather than scalability. Our throughput needs are very low so we are looking at the bottom end of vendors appliances.

We are looking at F5, Foundry (Brocade), and Citrix Netscaler. Anyone else go through this and have recommendations/horror stories/info they would like to share? Thanks.

Matthew Huff             | 1 Manhattanville Rd
Director of Operations   | Purchase, NY 10577
OTA Management LLC       | Phone: 914-460-4039
aim: matthewbhuff        | Fax:   914-460-4139

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