Array Networks

* A front-end device from Array Networks

The Array TM is an example of a device that is good at many things, but does not excel in any one area. However, Array's delivery approach to front-end devices lets you buy a base unit with typical load-balance features and then add on other features as you need them.

The Array TM is an example of a device that is good at many things, but does not excel in any one area. However, Array's delivery approach to front-end devices lets you buy a base unit with typical load-balance features and then add on other features as you need them.

The Array TM's Web-based interface is generally clean and relatively intuitive but it's not without its quirks. A confusing GUI made it bothersome to determine if configuration changes took hold. We also had trouble with monitoring graphs for our unit even after an Array engineer investigated the problem.

The core load-balancing features of the box contain familiar algorithms like round-robin and least connections. However, load balancing also can be based on URL request type. Even better, you can determine where to route a request based on arbitrary HTTP request headers values. TCP offload features are part of the equation helping to offload the back-end servers.

The Array TM can perform basic URL rewriting such as changing file extensions from .asp to .htm or cleaning a query string from ?id=test to /id/test. Basic content filtering can be performed to block requests based on signatures you define. The Array documentation obtusely suggests the box supports response rewriting, but we couldn't get this to work. However, some basic response needs such as dumping server headers can be done from within the GUI.

The Array's reverse-proxy cache feature called SpeedCache is well done and offers an ample cache size that ranges from 512M to 2G bytes depending on the device configuration. Caching is mostly automatic and invalidates changed content properly. The device also provides features to force objects in cache manually, as well as support for byte-ranges in cache, which would be useful for big files or PDF files in particular. We were happy to find the ability to inspect items in cache and flush them easily because that can be useful when debugging.

Overall, if caching is one of the main features you want besides load balancing and connection management, the Array TM warrants a closer look.

For the full report, go to:

http://www.nwfusion.com/reviews/2004/1025rev.html

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