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Here in the "Learn More" section, you will find up-to-date articles about some of the technology concepts behind the equipment and services we sell. Click on an article to read more.

NOTE: Expert LTM, GTM, APM, ASM, AFM, BIGIP and 3DNS Consulting from Tractionet is available! Please Click here to contact us to discuss your F5 Networks LTM, GTM, APM, ASM, AFM consulting needs!

Quick Reference Glossary

Load Balancing
SLB Terminology

3DNS Global Load Balancing

With the 3-DNS® Controller, you can ensure optimal reliability and fast performance across all your Internet sites, no matter where they are in the world. 3-DNS adds intelligence to industry-standard DNS, and ensures that end users are sent to a site that is available and provides the best response. Its unique intelligence can examine the health of data centers, the network, and the geography of users, then direct traffic based on customizable business rules.

Key Features and Benefits

  • Comprehensive global load balancing
  • Seamless integration based on industry-standard DNS
  • Functions with existing DNS server or as a standalone DNS server
  • Removes all single points of failure
  • Automatic Health Checks identify problems and directs user requests to best available resources
  • Production rules for dynamic configuration changes to match traffic demands
  • Exclusive CDN Switching allows traffic to be seamlessly routed to 3rd party CDNs for cost- effectively extending the network infrastructure
  • Geographic load balancing down to the country level directs users to localized content
  • Redundant 3-DNS Controllers provide sub-second DNS failover
  • Network Map centrally displays all devices controlled by a single 3-DNS Controller for easy configuration management
  • Extended Content Verification (ECV) monitors ensure that the right content is being delivered to your users
  • Transparent distribution of all IP services
  • Supports an unlimited number of distributed sites
  • Allows easy creation of data centers and sync groups
  • Synchronized configuration for simple management of all 3-DNS controllers in your network
  • Optional 3-DNS module is available as an add-on to BIG-IP® load balancers for an integrated global & local load balancing solution
  • High Availability/Reliability

The 3-DNS Controller is a 24x7 availability and intelligent load balancing solution for geographically distributed Internet sites and data centers. It manages and distributes Internet requests across multiple, redundant server sites - regardless of the platform type or combination, and without requiring additional software on your servers. End user requests are distributed according to data center and network conditions such as round trip time, packet loss and other QOS metrics, ensuring the highest possible availability for your site.

Health Checks
The 3-DNS Controller checks the health of load balancing products, servers and caches on your network, eliminating single points of failure and routing traffic away from poorly performing sites and servers. By collecting performance metrics from these devices, 3-DNS knows the status of your network, measuring activities such as packet rate, kilobytes per second, disk, memory, CPU utilization and number of connections. It checks network, site, and server level health, ensuring high availability and adequate capacity prior to directing traffic to a site.

Disaster Recovery
Through 3-DNS, a policy can be set that allows backup sites to be used in the event of a disaster. For example, many financial institutions have a primary site in one building, and a backup site in another. 3-DNS will send all traffic to the primary site, but only if it is performing correctly. If not, traffic is immediately directed to the backup location. 3-DNS eliminates single points of failure, routes traffic away from poorly performing sites and servers, and provides the fault tolerance you need through hardware redundant systems with sub-second recovery.

Traffic Control
3-DNS can be configured to make traffic distribution decisions according to what is most important to your business. It also supports a wide variety of applications such as Web, e-mail, FTP, streamed multimedia and other IP protocol traffic to provide high availability for end user connections.

The 3-DNS Controller sends users to the best site based on rich performance metrics it collects from local area load balancers, servers and cache devices throughout the network. Decisions can be made on single metrics, such as fewest dropped packets or fastest round trip time. Metrics can also be combined and weighted to yield the most sophisticated traffic management capabilities in the industry.

Industry-First CDN Switching
The 3-DNS Controller's CDN (Content Delivery Network) switching lets you cost-effectively and easily send traffic to a 3rd party network based on individual business needs. The CDN then becomes a managed extension of your network, allowing you to overflow traffic to a CDN (overflow insurance), or peer traffic between CDNs based on other criteria. No other wide area load balancer offers this capability.

Production Rules
3-DNS Controller supports production rules, allowing you to dynamically change your 3-DNS Controller configuration at specific times of the day, or under certain operating conditions. For example, you can switch from static load balancing to dynamic load balancing during the time of day you expect network traffic to be at its peak.

Deliver the Right Content Every Time
Paired with F5's BIG-IP Controller, the 3-DNS Controller ensures the quality of static and dynamic web content generated by your backend applications, like databases. BIG-IP actively queries your individual servers at the application level. So when your servers and application are working properly, but are responding with inappropriate responses to your end users, such as "404 Object Not Found", the 3-DNS Controller will redirect requests to the sites that are responding properly. Once the content failure is corrected, it automatically detects that the site is responding properly and begins sending requests to it again.

Thresholds and Limits
The 3-DNS Controller lets administrators direct traffic based on site thresholds and limits. It will identify when a site has reached its capacity, and route traffic to other resources before a problem occurs.

Extended Content Verification (ECV)
The 3-DNS Controller is the only global load balancing product that performs Extended Content Verification (ECV) to monitor that the right content is being delivered to users before it is sent.

Comprehensive Load Balancing
To meet your specific needs, the 3-DNS Controller includes comprehensive load balancing algorithms and the industry's most advanced traffic distribution methods:

  • Round Robin
  • Global Availability
  • LDNS Persistence
  • Application Availability
  • Geography
  • Virtual Server Capacity
  • Least Connections
  • Packets per Second
  • Kilobytes per Second
  • Round Trip Time
  • Hops
  • Packet Completion Rate
  • User-Defined QoS
  • Dynamic Ratio
  • LDNS Round Robin
  • Ratio
  • Random

Geographic Load Balancing
The 3-DNS Controller resolves IP addresses down to the country, increasing topological control for managing your global traffic. For sites maintaining content in different languages, the 3-DNS Controller ensures that users around the world get the information they need, in their own language.

Dynamic Ratio (patent-pending)
Dynamic Ratio load balancing mode solves the problem of "winner takes all" common to other wide-area load balancers. Dynamic Ratio sends a portion of traffic to the best performing site, second best performing site, and so on - in proportion to the health and performance of your network and server resources.

Persistence (patent-pending)
3-DNS provides sophisticated modes of persistence to ensure that your users are directed to the right resources - every time. Configure it to intelligently distribute traffic to the same site to maintain consistency for transactions. 3-DNS also propagates the desired persistence information to local DNS servers to reduce the required frequency of synchronizing backend databases.

LDNS Round Robin (patent-pending)
The LDNS Round Robin mode returns a prioritized list of available virtual servers to a client, providing the client's browser with a list of virtual servers to store in the browser cache for future use.

Quality of Service Load Balancing (patent-pending)
QOS load balancing mode includes a hops coefficient, based on the number of hops between the client and the LDNS. Managers can use hop rate to send the user to the data center that has the fewest hops between the user and the data center, ensuring quicker access. The QOS mode also supports Dynamic Ratio.


  • 3-DNS Controller makes it easier to work with complex Intranet, Extranet and Internet information and applications. By providing a single "Virtual Site environment" that not only centralizes the management of server resources and devices, but also offers end users a single URL with transparent access to multiple servers, your end users will get uninterrupted access even when a server may be undergoing maintenance. 3-DNS is a self-contained 'plug and play' appliance that doesn't require the additional installation of software on your servers, and provides:
  • Autosync
  • Automated setup and secure synchronization of redundant 3-DNS devices. Configuration changes can be made from any 3-DNS in the network, eliminating difficult hierarchical management common to DNS.
  • 3-DNS Secure Web Administration
  • A browser-based application can be used to configure standard 3-DNS Controller features including wide IPs, virtual servers, data centers, and production rules. Set User Administration rights to limit access for those using 3-DNS. Access levels include Read Only, Partial Read/Write, and Full.
  • Secure Web-Based DNS Administration
  • DNS integrates NameSurfer® to automatically manage zone file information. In addition, NameSurfer® provides a web based administration for DNS and for editing DNS zone files. The intuitive interface provides easy configuration and management of DNS, automates tasks, and helps prevent configuration errors.
  • SNMP Support
  • 3-DNS integrates an SNMP agent with DNS and 3-DNS Controller MIBs. This allows SNMP management applications to read statistical data about the current performance of 3-DNS. It allows SNMP management packages (for example, HP Overview) to have an exact view of what 3-DNS is doing, while keeping an eye on standard DNS information.
  • SNMP Probing for Hosts
  • 3-DNS supports SNMP probing for hosts that run one of the following types of SNMP agents: UCD snmpd, Solstice Enterprise, and the NT/4.0 SNMP agent. This allows 3-DNS to collect metrics directly from servers, caches, and local area load balancing products to be used in WAN traffic- distinct decision-making.
  • Data Center and Sync Groups
  • 3-DNS lets you create logical groups of network equipment that reside in the same location. For example, you could assemble a list of BIG-IP Controllers and host machines that are housed in your New York data center. These controllers and host machines can share the path probing results. This feature allows for an efficient use of probing, resulting in a highly scalable solution.

3-DNS includes a number of inherent security features designed to protect against common attacks and provide added protection for your sites. 3-DNS ships, by default, in a very secure mode with these features: 3-DNS gives you the unique ability to leverage critical performance information from an array of devices across your network. This table shows supported devices and relevant health and performance metrics gathered by 3-DNS.

New 3-DNS Module
The 3-DNS module adds all the features of 3-DNS to an existing BIG-IP Controller. Add the 3-DNS module to F5's BIG-IP local area load balancer for integrated wide-area load balancing and local area load balancing in a single box that simplifies management, reduces rack space, and lowers power consumption.

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