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What is NSX Advanced Load Balancer

VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer (formerly known as Avi Networks) is a software-defined platform with a scale-out architecture for application services. The application services include local and global load balancing, application security and WAF, and container ingress delivered in any data center or cloud environment. AVI offers a single management point with elastic scale to match the growth of applications and businesses and below features

  • Multi-Cloud Consistency – Simplify administration with centralized policies and operational consistency
  • Pervasive Analytics – Gain unprecedented insights with application performance monitoring and security
  • Full Lifecycle Automation – Free teams from manual tasks with application delivery automation
  • Future Proof – Extend application services seamlessly to cloud-native and containerized applications
  • Intelligence – Built-in analytics drive actionable insights that make autoscaling seamless, automation intelligent and decision making easy

Legacy hardware and virtual load balancers require tedious manual provisioning and management. They lack visibility to troubleshoot and resolve issues before user experience is impacted. Today’s distributed application delivery solutions and cloud load balancers need to minimize application downtime and the complexity of maintaining multi-cloud environments. Customers need more flexibility in deployment models for their on-prem and cloud applications while maintaining control over infrastructure costs and day-to-day operations.

NSX ALB Architecture

As shown in Figure the NSX ALB controller acts as an entry point for UI/API operations for services and management. The controller interacts with the vCenter Server and NSX-T in an SDDC or supported public clouds via API for auto-discovery of SDDC objects like ESXi Hosts, Network port groups, etc. The Service Engines are placed on the ESXi host and perform the L4/L7 load balancing for the applications deployed in the SDDC.

NSX ALB consists of two main components:

NSX ALB Controller: NSX ALB Controller is the central repository for the configuration and policies and can be deployed in both on-prem environments or in the cloud. NSX ALB Controller is deployed in VM form factor and can be managed using its web interface, CLI, or REST API.

Service Engines (SE): The Service Engines (SEs) are lightweight data plane engines that handle all data plane operations by receiving and executing instructions from the controller.

The controller handles the following tasks:

  • All platform related configuration is done on controllers.
  • Manage and store all policies related to services and management.
  • Responsible for deploying Service Engines.
  • Manage the placement of virtual services on SEs to load balance new applications or scale-up capacity of current applications.
  • Facilitates UI console to perform the configuration and management.
  • Host API services and the management plane cluster daemons.

The responsibilities of Service Engines are:

  • Perform load balancing and all client and server-facing network interactions.
  • Collect real-time application telemetry from application traffic flows.
  • Execute data plane application delivery controls operations, such as health monitoring and test the performance of the back-end servers.
  • Protect against security threats (DoS, suspicious client IPs).

For more details, please click on this Documentation

NSX ALB Licensing

The following are the various editions supported on NSX Advanced Load Balancer:

VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer Enterprise Edition
VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer – Basic Edition
VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer essentials for Tanzu

Please refer this VMware Documentation for more details of NSX ALB licensing

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