Council future-proofs network with A10’s AX Series appliances

Thames Coromandel District Council (TCDC) in New Zealand has created a fast, reliable and future-proofed network for interacting with and servicing its various communities.

The main drivers of this efficient technology are two AX Series application delivery controllers from A10 Networks, whose benefits include enabling Council’s web pages to load five times faster than before.

TCDC manages social, economic, cultural and environmental matters for a diverse community on the East Coast of New Zealand’s North Island. A wide array of online services form a key element in its commitment to local businesses, residents and internal users. These include everything from waste collection through to libraries, town planning, environmental issues and local cemeteries.

The Council relies heavily on web-based services to provide an efficient delivery mechanism to all parties and to support the organisation’s overall mission and goals.

According to Murray Foster, IT Manager at TDCD, the local authority focuses on ensuring that its communities have a good quality of life, now and in the future. Council needs to identify what its communities require and identify the most effective ways of fulfilling those needs. The commitment to mission-critical online services demands a fast, reliable network.

Based on its previous technology, Council’s ability to support the future requirements of all stakeholders was very limited. Performance, security and overall manageability were being compromised and the situation was expected to deteriorate as more applications were added to the network.

Auckland-based IT consultants Network Edge, who have worked closely with TCDC for some years, suggested that the council look at ways of speeding up their applications and preparing the network for greater capacity in the near future.

Paul Johnson from Network Edge adds: “There were some performance issues with the network setup. Application delivery relied on an end-of-life (EOL) Microsoft ISA, which was fine initially, but the infrastructure could not meet increasing demands and support the new services TCDC were looking to introduce.”

Network Edge evaluated the existing solution and sought ways to remedy the situation. They considered products from several vendors to help with server load-balancing and application networking, before recommending deployment of A10’s AX1030 units.

A10’s advanced application delivery controllers (ADCs) help organisations like TCDC to scale and maximise application availability and ensure their networks run at peak efficiency.

A10 Networks worked with Network Edge to understand the council’s key requirements and develop a proof of concept (POC). The AX Series units were quickly integrated into the existing network environment.

A10’s appliances improve web services availability through server load-balancing, as well as web performance optimisation through SSL offload, HTTP caching, compression. The AX Series also optimises security services such as DDoS protection, web application firewall (WAF) and DNS application firewall (DAF), and future-proofs TCDC in areas such as multi-tenancy, IPv6 migration and virtualisation.

Paul Johnson says: “Implementation after a proof of concept (POC) and then transitioning into production using the two AX1030s was extremely easy. The A10 interface is highly intuitive and enabled our new infrastructure and services to be deployed quickly and efficiently.”

Performance benefits were apparent immediately. The average load time of web pages is now five times faster – 1.4 seconds per page compared to the previous 7 seconds. With cached web pages on the A10 Series, the average load time is close to 0.6 seconds.

Certain features were needed immediately, and the expected benefits of deploying thosre features are being fully realised by Council. But investment in A10’s AX Series has also improved performance in unexpected areas.

“A10’s unique application delivery partition (ADP) feature has been highly beneficial, allowing us to utilise their device as load-balancer on our LAN, as well as being a perimeter device,” adds Shiv Singh, TCDC’s Networking Engineer.

“We can create logical Layer 3 separation on the appliance for services published in DMZ, WAN, LAN and to the Internet. Each partition has its own routing table, and its own group of networks and associated VLANs. A rule change on LAN partition will not affect the rule changes on other partitions. The A10 technology is a perfect fit.”

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