Tolly Group puts A10 Networks to the test

* Test pits an A10 Networks' load balancer against one from F5 Networks

It can be hard for newcomers in the application acceleration arena to distinguish themselves from the incumbents who enjoy the lion's share of the market. When it comes to front-end devices that provide services such as load balancing, server offloading and TCP connection multiplexing, the vendor to beat in the battle for customers is often F5 Networks.

It can be hard for newcomers in the application acceleration arena to distinguish themselves from the incumbents who enjoy the lion's share of the market. When it comes to front-end devices that provide services such as load balancing, server offloading and TCP connection multiplexing, the vendor to beat in the battle for customers is often F5 Networks

One way start-up vendors can try to bolster their credibility is through independent performance tests. Earlier this year, A10 Networks had The Tolly Group put its load-balancing gear through the paces to see how it performs on its own, as well as stacked up against one of F5’s Big-IP devices.

A10 Networks was founded in late 2004 and offers its AX Series appliances, which are designed to optimize the delivery of applications across the network. A10 Networks says a key part of the technology is its Advanced Core Operating System (ACOS), which distributes application traffic to the systems’ multi-core processors to avoid performance bottlenecks caused by unevenly loaded processors.

In the first test, Tolly Group (a testing and consulting organization based in Boca Raton, Fla.) evaluated the AX 3200’s performance and in the second test evaluated the AX 2100 as compared to F5’s Big-IP 3400.

The AX 3200 is A10’s high-end server load balancer, designed for enterprises, service providers and carriers. In the performance test highlights, Tolly reported that the AX 3200: exhibited more than 540,000 Layer 4 connections-per-second and processed 8.7Gbps throughput for 128- and 512K-byte objects, respectively; scaled Layer 7 performance to more than 1.5 million transactions per second and 8.7Gbps throughput for 128K-byte and 512K-byte objects, respectively; and supported up to 9.24 million of 64-byte SYN cookies per second while maintaining 1,000 transactions per second at Layer 7 with 128-byte objects. In addition, Tolly Group reported that the AX 3200 costs less than 13 cents per connection at Layer 4 and 5 cents per transaction at Layer 7 using unlimited HTTP requests for 128-byte objects.

At the low end of A10’s lineup is the AX 2100 server load balancer, which is designed for small and midsize enterprises. The Tolly Group compared the results of its tests of the AX 2100 to the results of performance tests it published -- using the same test methodologies -- for F5’s Big-IP 3400. The AX 2100 fared well in the comparison, according to Tolly Group.

“We tested A10 Networks' high-end AX 3200 using the same test methodologies as F5's published performance report, and then tested A10's entry-level AX 2100 versus the Big-IP 3400 using the same test methodologies again,” said Kevin Tolly, president and CEO of The Tolly Group, in a statement. “After certifying the test environment and performing the evaluations, the results showed that A10’s AX 3200 delivers outstanding performance in a cost-effective platform and the AX 2100 delivers significantly better price/performance at Layer 4, Layer 7 and SSL than the Big-IP 3400.”

The full Tolly Report for the AX 3200 and the AX 2100 can be found on A10’s site.

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