Back to Basics: What is a Traffic Manager, Anyway?Back to Basics: What is a Traffic Manager, Anyway?
I was asked recently what ADCs and traffic managers actually do, and how they differ from ordinary load balancers. I was reminded of how I first learned about the differences, and, in a series of articles beginning with this one, I will cover some of the key features that can make real a difference to your applications.
July 18, 2014
By Riverbed Technology Guest Blog 1_2
I was asked recently what application delivery controllers (ADCs) and traffic managers actually do, and how they differ from ordinary load balancers. I was reminded of how I first learned about the differences, and, in a series of articles beginning with this one, I will cover some of the key features that can make real a difference to your applications.
To begin with, what is a ‘traffic manager’?
A traffic manager performs similar functions for a website that a call management system does for a call center. Think about a customer service rep at a small startup business. His direct-dial number is published in the phone book, and he handles customer issues ranging from account queries to technical support questions.
Where the trouble starts
As a company becomes more successful, the volume of calls goes up, and customer service levels decrease. The line may be engaged, or the customer service guy may be away from his desk, so calls get missed. He is also open to all kinds of unwanted calls: Wrong numbers, spam calling and nuisance calls are all a risk. What the company needs is a way to control how phone calls are routed to employees.
A call center is a great way to solve the problem, and a company can sit a number of operators on a call management system to balance calls across staff members and to route particular calls to particular departments. Most importantly, a call center provides more control, such as stopping calls from certain locations, screening out nuisance calls and, in some cases, even responding directly to customer inquiries.
How does this work for a website?
In just the same way, organizations may open a Website with a single Web server with a public IP address. As an organization becomes more successful, it quickly progresses to building a farm of Web servers with a traffic management system in front. These traffic management systems are sometimes referred to as load balancers, but more commonly as application delivery controllers. Their job is to manage the delivery of the critical applications and services that the business is publishing. You can measure the effectiveness of an ADC with one simple metric: the degree of control it gives you.
In the next article, we’ll look a little deeper at how a powerful ADC such as Riverbed SteelApp gives you much greater availability, performance and control of your application services. Meanwhile, check out these other articles, or, if you are ready, take Riverbed SteelApp for a test drive with our free Developer Edition.
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Nick Vale is senior manager, SteelApp Product Marketing, Riverbed Technology. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of Talkin’ Cloud’s annual platinum sponsorships.
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