Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)

Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) Overview

An application delivery controller (ADC) is a network component that manages and optimizes client connections to web and application servers. Its capabilities are implemented through either a hardware device or software. ADCs are housed in a data center between network firewalls and application servers and are a part of application delivery networks (ADNs) along with WAN (wide area network) optimization controllers (WOCs).

Application delivery controllers are used to accelerate application delivery, maintain website performance, and promote application availability, visibility, security, and scalability.

ADCs speed up application delivery through load balancing, SSL offloading, smart caching, and intelligent compression. ADCs can include firewalls and intrusion detection, fend off DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks and provide analytics regarding application performance.

ADCs help support outward-facing applications such as eCommerce sites and internal applications such as CRM, ERP, BI, MS Exchange, and SharePoint. Software-defined networking trends have pushed ADCs to function more like SaaS (software-as-a-service).

Organizations that use large-scale delivery content networks (CDNs), employ application delivery controllers to ensure responsive and secure web application services for their high-volume sites. IT, network, and DevOps teams manage and analyze application delivery controller performance.

Top Rated Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) Products

TrustRadius Top Rated for 2022

These products won a Top Rated award for having excellent customer satisfaction ratings. The list is based purely on reviews; there is no paid placement, and analyst opinions do not influence the rankings. Read more about the Top Rated criteria.

Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)  TrustMap

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Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) Products

(1-25 of 31) Sorted by Most Reviews

The list of products below is based purely on reviews (sorted from most to least). There is no paid placement and analyst opinions do not influence their rankings. Here is our Promise to Buyers to ensure information on our site is reliable, useful, and worthy of your trust.

Cloudflare
Customer Verified
Top Rated

Cloudflare, from the company of the same name in San Francisco, provides DDoS and bot mitigation security for business domains, as well as a content delivery network (CDN) and web application firewall (WAF).

Kemp LoadMaster

LoadMaster from Kemp Technologies in New York is an application delivery controller.

NGINX

NGINX, a business unit of F5 Networks, powers over 65% of the world's busiest websites and web applications. NGINX started out as an open source web server and reverse proxy, built to be faster and more efficient than Apache. Over the years, NGINX has built a suite of infrastructure…

Citrix ADC

Citrix ADC (formerly NetScaler ADC) is an application delivery controller.

F5 BIG-IP

F5 BIG-IP software from Seattle-based F5 Networks is a load balancing and application protection solution suite available on cloud or via virtual editions, on a subscription or perpetual licensing basis. The BIG-IP suite of products supports a wide range of security and application…

Azure Application Gateway

Microsoft's Azure Application Gateway is a platform-managed, scalable, and highly available application delivery controller as a service with integrated web application firewall.

Barracuda Load Balancer ADC

The Barracuda Load Balancer ADC is a Secure Application Delivery Controller that enables Application Availability, Acceleration and Control, while providing Application Security Capabilities.

Amazon Elastic Load Balancing

Amazon's Elastic Load Balancing automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets, such as Amazon EC2 instances, containers, IP addresses, and Lambda functions. It can handle the varying load of your application traffic in a single Availability Zone or…

A10 Thunder ADC

A10 Networks offers their application delivery controller, Thunder ADC.

Imperva Application Delivery

Imperva Application Delivery (formerly Incapsula Load Balancer) is Imperva's solution for load balancing, application delivery and performance, with real time health monitoring and notifications to ensure traffic is properly routed.

Pulse vADC (Virtual Application Delivery Controller)

Pulse vADC (Virtual Application Delivery Controller) is composed of three products which can be combined to suit the needs of applications. The solution is now from Ivanti since the company's December, 2020 acquisition of Pulse Secure.

Akamai Ion

Akamai offers the Ion application delivery controller suite to automatically supply performance optimization to websites and mobile or web applications.

Radware Alteon

Radware Alteon, from Israeli company Radware, is an application delivery controller.

F5 on IBM Cloud

F5 on IBM Cloud lets you see and control all traffic passing through your network. F5’s highly scalable, resilient and reusable services dynamically adapt to ensure application availability, performance and security.

Fortinet ADC

FortinetADC enhances the scalability, performance, and security of your applications.

Riverbed Stingray ADC

Riverbed's Stingray ADC platform enabling customers to deliver application delivery controller-as-a-service (ADCaaS).

Avi Vantage, from VMware

Avi Networks, from VMware (acquired June, 2019) enables public-cloud simplicity for application services such as load balancing, application analytics, and security in data centers or cloud. The Avi Networks Platform provides software-based ADC capabilities, auto scaling and automation…

Brocade ADX (Discontinued)

The ADX series of application delivery controllers were developed by Brocade and acquired by HCL Technologies in November 2017, after the company Brocade was acquired by Broadcom and many of its products sold.

Radware LinkProof

Radware LinkProof, from Israeli company Radware, is an application delivery controller.

Cisco Application Control Engine

The Cisco Application Control Engine is... an application delivery controller.

OVH Load Balancers

OVH Load Balancers feature anycast DNS, failover IP, anti-DDoS, and traffic prioritization.

NGINX Plus

NGINX Plus is presented as a cloud‑native, easy-to-use reverse proxy, load balancer, and API gateway, from F5.

F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager (LTM)

F5 states that the "brain" of the BIG-IP platform, Local Traffic Manager (LTM) intelligently manages network traffic so applications are always fast, available, and secure.

FortiADC

FortiADC, from Fortinet in San Francisco, is an application delivery controller based on technology acquired with Coyote Point in 2013.

Radware FastView

Radware FastView (formerly Strangeloop Site Optimizer, acquired 2013), from Israeli company Radware, is an application delivery controller and web page accelerator.

Learn More About Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)

What are Application Delivery Controllers?

An application delivery controller (ADC) is a network component that manages and optimizes client connections to web and application servers. Its capabilities are implemented through either a hardware device or software. ADCs are housed in a data center between network firewalls and application servers and are a part of application delivery networks (ADNs) along with WAN (wide area network) optimization controllers (WOCs).

Application delivery controllers are used to accelerate application delivery, maintain website performance, and promote application availability, visibility, security, and scalability.

ADCs speed up application delivery through load balancing, SSL offloading, smart caching, and intelligent compression. ADCs can include firewalls and intrusion detection, fend off DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks and provide analytics regarding application performance.

ADCs help support outward-facing applications such as eCommerce sites and internal applications such as CRM, ERP, BI, MS Exchange, and SharePoint. Software-defined networking trends have pushed ADCs to function more like SaaS (software-as-a-service).

Organizations that use large-scale delivery content networks (CDNs), employ application delivery controllers to ensure responsive and secure web application services for their high-volume sites. IT, network, and DevOps teams manage and analyze application delivery controller performance.

Application Delivery Controllers Features

Application delivery controllers will have many of these features

  • Application acceleration
  • Load balancing / global load balancing
  • Caching
  • Compression
  • SSL offloading
  • Proxy and reverse proxy
  • Bandwidth management
  • Traffic shaping
  • TCP multiplexing
  • Multi-tenancy architecture support
  • Security, SSO (single sign-on), application authorization
  • Application and server health monitoring
  • Web application firewall
  • DNS firewall
  • Intrusion detection
  • DDoS protection

Application Delivery Controllers Comparison

Consider the following when purchasing application delivery controllers.

Application delivery controller physical device vs ADC software: A physical device supports more features, has better performance due to customized computer chips and specialized network interfaces, and comes at a higher cost than its software counterpart. The software implementation is more flexible, offers a simplified infrastructure, runs on any infrastructure including a public cloud, can be provisioned on-demand, and is priced lower than an ADC physical device.

Scope of Features: ADC’s offer a broad range of features, however, if your needs are limited to Load Balancing Software, for example, no need to countenance the higher costs that ADCs with extensive features will incur.

ADC Capacity: Determine your requirements for incoming connections per minute, and the amount of bandwidth that will need to be managed along with any scaling up requirements that may occur in the future. ADCs offer different capacity levels, with their costs increasing as their capacities expand.

Pricing Information

Pricing is dependent upon the features and capacity of the application delivery controller, and whether it is a physical device or a virtual software appliance. Pricing models can be for a perpetual license or a monthly fee. Basic physical devices can be found starting at around $1,000 dollars while full-featured, high-capacity, enterprise-level physical devices can cost up to and over $200,000. Software versions pricing is based on the number of connections, bandwidth, and rules to be applied. Vendor price quotes are usually required. Free trials are usually available.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do application delivery controllers do?

Application delivery controllers (ADCs) accelerate application delivery and enhance website performance by optimizing client connections to web and application servers. ADCs offer either a hardware device or software.

What are the benefits of using application delivery controllers?

Application delivery controllers optimize application and website performance, eliminating downtime, making applications highly available and secure. ADCs support business continuity automatically providing ‘work arounds’ when encountering networking issues. These features help ensure satisfactory user experiences and help sustain in-house team productivity.

How much do application delivery controllers cost?

Physical application delivery control devices are priced higher than ADC software. The actual cost is determined by the ADC’s capacity and features. Physical devices have a broad range of pricing ranging from $1,000 to over $200,000. Software pricing is based on the bandwidth, number of connections and rules supported. Free trials are usually available.