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News

Application delivery controllers balance loads at insurance provider

A10 Networks : 10 November, 2014  (Application Story)
Data centres at Endsleigh Insurance are benefiting from the use of Application Delivery Controllers from A10 Networks
Application delivery controllers balance loads at insurance provider

Endsleigh Insurance Services is using the Thunder Series Application Delivery Controllers from A10 Networks to meet increased demands on critical transaction processing systems and development environments as part of a major infrastructure upgrade.

Endsleigh was originally founded in 1965 by the National Union of Students (NUS) to negotiate preferential insurance rates for students.

Critical IT is vital to manage customer policies and millions of transactions it handles each week. To provide capacity and resilience for its operations, the insurer maintains two separate UK data centres. For many years, Endsleigh had relied on application delivery controllers and load balancing from Array Networks, but with the vendor reducing its UK support capability and the installed generation of products reaching end of life, Endsleigh began considering alternative products.

“We process a large number of queries from price comparison sites alongside our own web-based quotation engine and the volume of transactions we need to handle has been steadily increasing,” explains Chris Murphy, IT core services manager for Endsleigh. “We also have a large estate of virtualised servers and a number of test and development platforms and decided on a strategy to invest in a high-performance ADC to allow us to meet both our growth requirements and to unify our various workflows under a single, high capacity ADC.”

Murphy examined a short list of potential vendors before selecting A10 Networks. “The combination of raw performance and price offered us a good fit and we particularly liked the licensing model which did not require us to buy additional software licensing for features which we considered as standard,” says Murphy.

Endsleigh purchased two A10 Networks Thunder 3030s, each offering 30 Gbps of Layer 4-7 throughput, providing application delivery and GSLB functionality from a single appliance at each datacentre to ensure the highest levels of reliability.  The two-stage implementation project began in April, with the phasing out of the legacy Array Networks devices and installation of the Thunder ADCs in an active/active configuration to primarily not only handle daily transactions made direct from the Endsleigh website, but also via third-party price comparison sites. Each transaction needs to be securely managed and balanced between clusters of virtualised transaction processing servers split between its two data centres.

“The performance and stability has been rock solid and we have enough capacity to start to bring in the other VLANs, test and development environments under the control of the new ADC which offers us further security and management options,” says Murphy. This second phase is underway now but must be progressed during very short planned downtime windows with an expected completion towards the end of the year.

“For us, it has been a remarkably uneventful upgrade which is just what you want in a mission-critical environment processing all of our daily transactions. Overall, the selection, implementation and benefits offered by A10 have comfortably met our expectations and we have enough headroom within the controllers to easily meet our needs for the foreseeable future,” Murphy concludes.

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