Software // Information Management
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8/25/2008
02:23 PM
Randy George
Randy George
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Elfiq Networks A Good Option For SMEs Needing WAN Link Management

Ever heard of Elfiq Networks? If you're in the market for a WAN load-balancing device, you might want to add the LB line of products to your shortlist. The LB line is moving big-ticket capabilities down to fit into the budgets of many SMEs.

Ever heard of Elfiq Networks? If you're in the market for a WAN load-balancing device, you might want to add the LB line of products to your shortlist. The LB line is moving big-ticket capabilities down to fit into the budgets of many SMEs.SME's need highly available networks as much as everyone else. Unfortunately, not many SME's can justify spending $20,000 on a Fatpipe box. Enter Elfiq, where on the low end you can buy WAN link fault tolerance for $2,500. According to Elfiq, but not yet publicly announced, the LD line will very soon be able to bond multiple Internet links together to increase the aggregate bandwidth available to the Internet.

While you could theoretically brute-force failover with a few cheap routers and a dynamic routing protocol, the Elfiq, like other WAN load balancers, provide some intelligence that routers just can't replicate. For example, Elfiq can look deep into a provider's network and gauge the relative health of upstream routes. While your next hop might be fine, a problem detected a few hops away might make a particular route less attractive. As a result of that intelligence, the Elfiq box can make routing and DNS decisions that ensure maximum uptime and performance.

Like other vendor offerings, the LB box installs quickly, works at Layer 2, and generally operates transparently between your firewall and Internet router. And on higher-end models, it supports failover to another LB appliance.

The ironic thing about WAN load balancers is that they were designed to eliminate single point of failure for your Internet service. However, they themselves are a single point of failure. Sure, they fail open if you lose power, but that doesn't help you if there's a software glitch, so if you can afford to buy redundancy, then do it.

Interestingly, the LB-1500E supports failover to alternative Internet technologies, like 3G mobile connections, satellite, and Wi-Fi. As long as you can hand off Ethernet to the LB, it can use it.

If you've seen the Elfiq offering in action, please let me know what you think, and if you have interest in InformationWeek doing a formal review, let us know.

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