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We looking for a firewall/load-balancer appliance for our solution running on co-located servers in a data-center.

The appliance should have a throughput of 200 Mbps, and preferably have some scaling capabilities.

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Can you describe the "solution" in a bit more detail? i.e. are we talking about a Web application? –  gravyface Feb 10 '11 at 17:58
    
The solution is a real-time video streaming platform, which requires good and reliable throughput. –  SyRenity Feb 10 '11 at 18:09

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well, OK, I'll bite:

  • Coyote Point is perhaps the largest of the reasonably-priced load balancer appliance makers.

  • Kemp Technologies is another commonly seen name.

  • Barracuda Networks is most known for their spam filtering appliances, but they also make load balancers.

  • If you don't need SSL on the load balancer, then HAProxy packaged as an appliance is a very viable option. Scroll down to "Commercial Support" and "Products using HAProxy".

  • Lastly, there is a network of brokers who re-sell second hand F5, Citrix NetScaler etc gear. That might also be an option.

Of the above, my personal choice would be 1) Coyote Point, 2) HAProxy appliance, and 3) Kemp. Fair warning, my personal opinion is based on older models & some speculation, and may not be accurate -- caveat emptor.

About the "firewall" part of the question: What I see is that firewalls mostly are a separate unit now, and the long-term trend is that firewalling functionality may move into the router. The load balancer is still a standalone unit, either an appliance, or software installed on a server. There are firewalls with load distribution based on for example IP hashing, and that can be a viable solution, but look at the health check and failover parts -- these are often lesser developed.

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@SyRenity: OK, welcome aboard, hope I wasn't too annoying. :-) Quick note, above you wrote "real-time video streaming" -- keep in mind that some streaming video solutions don't use HTTP, but might use fx RTSP, MMS et cetera. –  Jesper Mortensen Feb 10 '11 at 19:16
    
Hi. Sorry for long time taken to accept your answer. We tried both Coyote and Kemp, and were happy with their performance. The solution LB's the video streaming by itself, so only HTTP balancing was required. –  SyRenity Apr 4 '11 at 11:54

This depends on your budget and how much support you want.

Cisco has lots of products that meet this requirement, at a premium price.
Juniper Networks almost certainly has something to fit the bill for somewhat less cost.
pfSense can also be configured as a load-balancer, and is available for cost-of-hardware.
And there's always the option of rolling your own with OpenBSD, FreeBSD, or any number of Linux distributions, all of which are cost-of-hardware solutions.

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You should talk to the folks at Justin.tv. I'm pretty sure they run HAProxy on off the shelf servers for some load balancing features.

If you really want an appliance, take a look at loadbalancer.org. They will in effect sell you a HAProxy box on commodity hardware. (with support I think)

One more point: With video you have the added luxury of pushing some of the load balancing logic to the client side. You could effectively have NO load balancer serving video content and let the client query for a list of available servers which could be located /anywhere/.

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That more or less how the solution works for video, HTTP still needs to be LB/HA somehow. –  SyRenity Apr 4 '11 at 11:55

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