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Application Traffic Routing with DNS GSLB

September 11, 2019 | Written by: EfficientIP | , ,

Application delivery to users is key in the digital transformation of enterprise processes. With the growing complexity of networks, hosting and application architecture, users still need to be directed to the best available component of the application. This is a challenge EfficientIP has accepted, and our DNS GSLB solution provides the answer with intelligent application traffic routing feature.

IT systems have been shaken by multiple new approaches. Hybrid multi-cloud tends to distribute the workload on the most convenient and efficient infrastructure. At the same time, application development methods tend to distribute the workload between multiple software components, microservices and decoupling, moving the lines. Continuous integration and deployment, agile methodologies and time to market are requiring more frequent deployment, performing A/B testing and blue/green deployments. Then there are the security and regulation constraints, imposing rules that data location and associated processing be well known, documented and auditable. Zero trust methodology pushes IT teams to not trust anyone on the network, and perimetric security is no longer the optimal solution.

In this context and despite all these perturbations, users need to access their applications, which should be available and provide a high level of efficiency- user experience has become a KPI. Technologies provide part of the solution to reach this high level of quality, for example Content Delivery Network (CDN), Software Defined Network (SDN) or load balancing. But some challenges are bigger than others, and may require new solutions. Directing user traffic to the appropriate application component is a real concern of modern IT systems, and below are some main components that can help:

  • A load balancer and Application Delivery Controller (ADC) can balance traffic between co-located servers in a data center (though multi-datacenter is far more complex or even impossible to achieve)
  • CDN can accelerate access to some resources for static web applications by implementing storage and cache at the edge of the network, mainly targeting internet applications
  • IP rerouting of service using DNS or centralized GSLB can redirect users towards specific regional data centers (but continuous manual mapping of user and application location is still required for optimal mesh)

DNS is a well-positioned component in the IT topology, as it is at the intent of most IP traffic. The end user software client requires access to service components that are known by their name (see FQDN), and from a technical IP perspective only addresses are manipulated. Then the DNS- as the component which translates FQDN into IP address- is in a very good position to help users get access to their business applications.

Implementing application traffic routing at the DNS level has multiple advantages:

  • DNS is at the intent of most traffic
  • DNS doesn’t have to handle the application traffic (ADC does instead)
  • DNS is lightweight, robust and distributed by design
  • DNS has components near users with the recursive and cache principles

This is where Global Server Load Balancing (GSLB) provides a solution to application traffic routing complexity for users. By acting globally for distributed users and distributing application resources at the DNS level, it helps direct users to their appropriate application location.

EfficientIP has taken a disruptive approach with its Intelligent Application Traffic Routing solution, bringing a unique approach to user application access by combining simple IP DNS information manipulation and local routing decision near the user. This makes it easy to deploy, doesn’t require complex mapping or configuration, and can be used on any kind of application (not just modern web based).

Implemented within its DNS appliance, the EfficientIP DNS GSLB optimizes IP address resolution to direct users towards the appropriate application server, taking into consideration transit delays, application response time and availability.

  • Not in the application IP flow, DNS GSLB can handle a large amount of user sessions without any impact on the application architecture.
  • Running on recursive DNS server, DNS GSLB does not require specific information about the location of users and application components, easing the deployment of application traffic routing.
  • Located at the edge of the network, DNS GSLB can analyze the IP network performance for any application hosting location and make the best decision for users.
  • With a wide set of strategies to direct the traffic, network and application architects can find the appropriate configuration that fits their needs, from service continuity to performance optimization and horizontal scaling.
  • Fully opened through its API, DNS GSLB can easily be integrated in a continuous integration and deployment pipeline to ease application publication, from test environment to production. Modules for python and terraform are available to integrate quickly in existing infrastructure as code and network automation processes with a DDI solution.

DNS GSLB can be setup in multiple topologies and answer a wide set of use cases, from simple application traffic routing to more complex latency optimization or high performance cluster data routing.

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