During my presentation at an Executive Briefing Center this morning, I asked the question “How many of you are familiar with what an ADC is?” In a room filled with close to a dozen participants, there was no show of hands. I rephrased the question, “Okay, what about a load balancer?” Three to four hands, as I suspected.

For any of the die-hard NetScaler fans out there, this post will be moot. If you’re one of those readers who has heard the term “ADC” or “application delivery controller” being bandied around, it’s natural to think that this is just a glorified load balancer.

NetScaler is an ADC, and yes, it does load balancing – for server and SQL database traffic. As applications have evolved over the past decade, server load balancing falls short in providing the best user experience for application users. Ensuring that an application is accessed securely, and safe from external threats, SSL offload, caching and compression are but a few of the growing list of responsibilities that ADCs are assuming beyond that of a basic load balancer.

If you’re considering an ADC for your environment, or have legacy load balancers coming up for refresh, it would be worth your while to take a closer look at everything an ADC can offer to ensure your applications are always available, secure and provide the best user experience.

I recently refreshed our “What is an Application Delivery Controller?” white paper which provides good context on the application delivery challenges faced by an ADC. Check it out, and let me know what you think of the new paper!