A10 Adds Thunder to Unified Application Service Gateway Lineup

The market for Application Delivery Controller (ADC) solutions got a bit more crowded this week.

A10 Networks is introducing its new Thunder Series Unified Application Service Gateway (UASG), starting out with three appliances ranging from the entry-level to large enterprise use-cases.

A10 doesn’t like to refer to its UASG devices as Application Delivery Controllers (ADC), though they share many similarities.

“Things have evolved beyond just the ADC, so if you’re going to run more services on these boxes, you’re going to need a lot more power,” Paul Nicholson, director of product marketing at A10, told Enterprise Networking Planet.

The Thunder series is the successor to A10’s existing AX line of ADCs. One of the key differences in the Thunder series overall is the use of new processors, which improve performance.

At the top end of A10’s new UASG family sits the Thunder 3030S, which supports up to 750,000 connections per second of unencrypted throughput. The device can handle up up to 14,000 connections per second of 2048-bit SSL encrypted traffic. From a ports perspective, it has 4 x 10-Gigabit ports (SFP+), 6 x 1-Gigabit Copper, and 2 x 1-Gigabit SFP ports.

The mid-tier device for small enterprise use is the Thunder 1030S, with support for 450,000 connections per second and 7,000 SSL connections. The 1030S has 2 x 10-Gigabit ports (SFP+), 6 x 1-Gigabit Copper, and 2 x 1-Gigabit SFP ports.

Both the Thunder 3030S and the 1030S are powered by a Cavium Nitrox III ASIC. Nicholson said that the Nitrox III provides a big SSL boost for the two appliances.


The ACOS operating system sits on top of the raw hardware. Nicholson explained that ACOS is built on top of a Linux base.

“Every piece of traffic that is passed though the box goes over ACOS,” Nicholson said. “We do use some Linux components from the management side, but the traffic is all via ACOS.”

Application Awareness

A key feature in any ADC type device is its application awareness capability. It’s a feature that A10 is fully baking into its Thunder appliances.

The Aflex technology in Thunder provides Layer 7 deep packet inspection and can look at the data portion of the packet. Nicholson explained that Aflex can transform and change behavior of data packets because it is application aware.

Aflex is a scriptable tool buill in the tcl language.

“It’s all about being able to transform data as it goes through to be able to do what you want, whether that’s for security or you want to adjust application behaviors,” Nicholson said.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Enterprise Networking Planet and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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