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U Arts London Chooses A10 Appliances for Load Balancing Content Delivery

University of the Arts London recently selected and deployed four load balancer appliances from A10 Networks to create a new Web architecture that optimizes content delivery. The network infrastructure at the university, with a focus on art, design, fashion, communication, and the performing arts, spans two datacenters to provide 25 Web sites with interactive graphic content. The datacenters run Apache servers on VMware and maintain data in MySQL and Oracle databases.

This year, the university began a network upgrade to optimize Web delivery of bandwidth-intensive graphic applications. The redesign required a new application delivery platform to replace the existing Radware load balancing devices, whose capacity had maxed out.

"Our existing server load balancer platform was incapable to meet the needs for our new Web service project," said Andrew McClements, network services manager. "We chose A10's AX 2100s, as they met and exceeded the project's functional requirements, including scalable performance for growth."

During the server load balancer evaluation process, the following capabilities were specified as requirements:

  • Direct user requests to the best fulfillment server across both datacenters, based on host/uniform resource identifier and server availability/performance;
  • Termination of SSL for HTTPS traffic once it was within the datacenter;
  • Load balancing of any TCP/UDP traffic;
  • Persistence when required by the application;
  • Health checks on fulfillment servers across both datacenters;
  • Graceful shutdown of virtual servers for maintenance; and
  • Slow start of virtual servers after maintenance.

The AX Series of application servers provides load balancing across both servers and data centers, secure sockets layer acceleration, and application persistence. The technology uses URL switching to deliver services hosted on the Arts London domain based upon the contents of the URL and custom health checks to ensure servers are available and able to retrieve data from the backend databases.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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