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August 3, 2022 | Cyber security / Monitoring / Infrastructure management

Application Delivery Controller (ADC) from Citrix. Why your company needs it?

The Application Delivery Controller (ADC) is a network tool used to improve the availability, performance, and security of both publicly available and internally published applications within organizations. For larger companies and organizations, this is a "must-have" tool. Let's see why!


But before we delve into the benefits of using ADC, let's take a look at the sales market for such devices. According to Allied Market Research forecasts, the ADC market will grow to $12.8 billion by 2030, achieving a cumulative annual growth rate of 19.1% from 2021 to 2030.


Meanwhile, Hawatel already has many deployments of this kind in its portfolio. An example could be the migration of old Citrix ADC devices to new ones along with the implementation of high availability mechanisms between data centers for T-Mobile, the migration of services from the MS ForeFront TMG platform (using legacy technology) to Citrix ADC for the Central Statistical Office (GUS), and the implementation of Citrix ADC as an access point for publicly available applications on the network for one of the oil companies. Also, check out our Case studies!


Applications in tablet , border


How does the Application Delivery Controller (ADC) work?


In short, ADC is simply a gateway through which traffic passes between the application running on backend servers and the end user.


Since ADC operates at multiple OSI layers (from 3 to 7), we can manipulate traffic on the fly and make changes, allowing us to speed up application performance using features such as Front End optimization, Integrated Caching, or HTTP compression. ADC also provides the ability to offload backend server load to the ADC by using SSL and TLS communication decryption functionality (SSL offloading). Additionally, we also have the ability to enhance security by using appropriate traffic manipulation policies or utilizing Application Firewall (WAF) functionality.


What are the benefits of using ADC?


ADC and security

ADC significantly enhances security in an organization because:

  • ADC can act as a VPN solution for secure employee access to the internal network. The device provides network access in two models – a hard client and directly through a web browser.
  • According to NIST research, up to 92% of threats are not inside the organization's network, but in applications. Therefore, the main role of ADC is to prevent hacking attacks, downloading suspicious files and applications, and accessing insecure websites.
  • ADC protects against DDoS attacks (which overload their servers and disrupt their capabilities).
  • ADC authenticates anyone trying to access the application. If it is based on SaaS, ADC can verify the user's identity using a local Active Directory data store.
  • The ADC device has a Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) capability, which can enhance security when logging into any system published using ADC.
  • ADC can act as a SAML agent, authorizing users through any data store where their identity can be confirmed.


ADC and optimization

ADC can also improve the efficiency of IT infrastructure by monitoring application performance. This allows the organization to reduce service downtime and meet the required SLA level for applications. Also significant is SQL database load balancing, which increases the number of requests and connections that can be handled in a database cluster. ADC optimization also includes offloading tasks that heavily use the server, connection multiplexing, compression, and caching.


Aplikacje na tablecie, border


What can Citrix ADC do?


Extensions of Citrix ADC


Citrix offers a full range of extensions to its ADC. These include WAF (Web Application Firewall), bot detection, API, Analytics Monolith, and Microservices Lower Latency. This makes Citrix ADC even more comprehensive.


Easy access to Citrix ADC


Similar to virtual desktops, Citrix provides a very clear UX for its ADC. We can log in using just one username and password.


Performance of Citrix ADC


Another important advantage of Citrix ADC solution is minimizing delays. Unlike competitive solutions, Citrix places a huge emphasis on data processing time. After all, even small delays can turn into big problems that affect the perception of ADC in the organization. As Citrix states, "independent tests conducted by the Tolly Group showed that Citrix had 20% delays, which the competitive F5 noted in HTTPS data throughput tests and 50% delays for F5 in HTTPS transaction tests". Additionally, the Tolly Group found that Citrix ADC outperformed F5 BIG-IP VE in all test scenarios, with lower delays and lower processor utilization.


Speaking of processor utilization, it is worth mentioning the more efficient utilization in the case of Citrix solution. According to the latest test conducted by the Tolly Group, Citrix ADC consumes 1/3 less processor compared to F5 during traffic processing with WAF enabled.


More efficient processor utilization means that Citrix ADC can process more HTTPS requests. According to Tolly Group research, Citrix ADC can handle up to 1.85 billion more HTTPS transactions per day compared to F5.


Citrix ADC and machine learning

Citrix has developed machine learning techniques to help customers limit traffic generated by malicious bots. Machine learning can be based on normal activity, detect subtle anomalies in traffic, alert administrators, and be integrated with Citrix ADC. Based on machine learning, we can detect abnormally high upload or download volume, suspicious upload/download transactions, request rate, and unique IP address creation. All to help administrators understand whether users are real or fake.


Do you have any questions? Do you want to learn more about ADC from Citrix? Contact us!


Also, check out our previous article. We wrote about Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)!

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