Today's Test Center guide to load balancers and Web application accelerators by Logan Harbaugh pulls together all of his reviews in the space over the past two years, and zeros in on the key differences among the products. This chart provides an at-a-glance comparison. To get all the juicy stuff you'll have to read his guide.
At bottom, the essential differences amount to the type of platform used (classic Intel appliance or proprietary switch hardware) and whether the system boosts application performance through compression, multiplexing, and other optimizations. The appliance vendors are in the minority, with Barracuda and Kemp Technologies value leaders at the low end and Zeus Technology a nice balance of features and price in the middle of the pack. The only appliance battling it out with switches at the top end, the Juniper DX, has exited the market.
|Product family||Number ports (1)||Health checking||SSL accel.||App accel.||App firewall||Network firewall||DoS protection||Geo load balancing|
|Array Networks TMX||2 to 6||Y||Y||Some||Y||Y||Y||N|
|Barracuda Load Balancer||2 to 14||Y||Y||N||Y||Y||Y||N|
|Cisco Catalyst 6500 CSM||48 to 516||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y||Y|
|Citrix NetScaler||2 to 8||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y|
|Coyote Point Equalizer||24||Y||Y||Some||N||N||Y||Y|
|F5 Networks BIG-IP||12 to 24||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y|
|Foundry ServerIron||4 to 112||Y||Y||Y||Y||N||Y||Y|
|Juniper Networks DX (2)||2 to 4||Y||Y||Y||N||N||Y||Y|
|Kemp Load Master||2 to 8||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y||N|
|Zeus ZXTM||2 to 4||Y||Y||N||N||N||Y||Y|
Notes: 1. Listed are the number of 10/100/1000 ports; Cisco, Citrix, F5, and Foundry systems are also available with 10-gigabit interfaces. 2. Juniper has pulled the plug on its DX series; the last day to order one is July 24, 2008. http://www.juniper.net/support/eol/dx_hw.html