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Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)

By Andrew Lerner | October 21, 2014 | 1 Comment

SecurityNetworkingJust PublishedADC

We just published the 2014 Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers (ADC)  (Gartner subscribers only). The Magic Quadrant includes analysis of ten vendors in the ADC market. In going thru the research process, here are a couple things of note…

Changing Landscape

In comparison to the 2013 ADC Magic Quadrant, four of eleven (36%) vendors changed positions. The resulting ten vendors in the 2014 ADC Magic Quadrant include:

  • A10 Networks
  • Array Networks
  • Barracuda Networks
  • Citrix Systems
  • F5 Networks
  • KEMP Technologies
  • PIOlink
  • Sangfor
  • Radware
  • Riverbed

Three of these vendors (A10, Barracuda, PIOlink) underwent initial public offerings, raising over $300M USD. This is a substantial injection of capital into the $1.6B ADC market which should provide additional financial flexibility and security ultimately could/should drive further R&D investment leading to innovation in the space.

Buying Profiles

Generally, we see three types of ADC buyers: basic, extended and advanced.  Basic buyers are looking for a load-balancer, no more no less. These buyers don’t want, don’t need or don’t know about the more advanced ADC capabilities. However, most of the folks we speak to are extended buyers who are looking to leverage several of the more advanced features such as WAF, GLB, programmatic scripting, FEO etc.  The most advanced buyers are looking for the advanced features, AND delivered in resource pool that is dynamically integrated with orchestration systems or CMPs like VMware/OpenStack or as part of an SDN service-chain.

To the Cloud

ADCs sit in front of application servers, thus it is no surprise that as workloads move to the cloud, the ADC vendors are integrating their products into the cloud eco-systems. Thus, over the past year, significant progress has been made with ADC vendors integrating their products tightly to work with CMPs (i.e., VMware, Microsoft and OpenStack – LBaaS plugins for all) as well as within public cloud providers like AWS, Azure, Rackspace, Softlayer, vCloud Air etc…

And Security matters too…

Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen a number of security issues including Heartbleed, weekly breaches in retail, concerns over governmental spying and proliferating DDOS attacks. These all underscore the need for defense-in-depth which includes application security that can be derived from an ADC.

This is just a snippet from the research, and here are some other tidbits, but you can access the full Magic Quadrant here:

Magic Quadrant for Application Delivery Controllers (Analyst(s): Mark Fabbi | Andrew Lerner)

Summary: The application delivery controller is a key component within enterprise data center and public cloud architectures. Network, security and application personnel should evaluate ADCs based on how they integrate with key applications and cloud/virtualization platforms.

Regards, Andrew


Update 12/23/14

We did a session at our recent Data Center Conference, that you can view here:




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