The Benefits of Offloading SSL (certs) on F5 Devices, and How to Automate it

What is SSL Offloading on Load Balancer?

SSL offloading means that all HTTPS traffic is decrypted on the Load Balancer and passed to the backend servers in plain HTTP. This means all layer 7 actions are completed on the traffic before passing it to the backend hosts.

SSL offloading can significantly increase the performance of your secure Web servers, thus improving customer experience. However, offloading means the SSL connection extends only from the client to the load balancer, not from client to server.

Encryption often requires a lot of computer processing. That can be a drag on already busy web servers. But what if you could separate the intense processing of encryption from the heavy workload involved in sending and receiving web page traffic? That’s the primary purpose of SSL offloading.

When information is transmitted through SSL secure protocol, the webserver acts to encrypt or decrypt your web traffic. This process assigns a substantial load on the web server, which will affect its performance. To do away with the added burden of encrypting data on the server, many networks now employ SSL offloading. The solution involves removing SSL encryption from incoming traffic before it reaches the webserver. SSL offloading takes care of the encryption/decryption process on a separate device so that it doesn’t affect the web server’s performance. The idea behind SSL offloading is to do encryption operations anywhere other than on the web server. That could mean a separate machine or a different processing device on the same machine. In short, SSL offloading is specially designed to perform SSL acceleration or SSL termination.

Benefits of SSL Offloading

  • The SSL offloader unit offloads the SSL handshaking task that involves both encryption and decryption-the two main tasks that bog down the computing power of the web application.
  • The device completes the handshaking of SSL quicker than the web server. This results in smooth loading of the website and faster processing of requests at the end of the web application.
  • It may also aid in HTTPS inspection, reverse proxy, traffic control, persistence of cookies, etc., depending on what kind of SSL load balancer you have installed at your end.
  • HTTPS inspection is another most important point to use for SSL load-balancer. We understand how important encryption is, but it is a double-edged sword – attackers could be hiding and encrypting malicious code.

Save Your Business from Certificate Expiry-Related Outages Now!

Automation of SSL Offloading

AppViewX enables the application users/NetOps teams to automate SSL offloading by exposing a simple yet intuitive UI.

Create a Virtual server on the F5 load balancer with the client SSL profile by entering the following details.

1. Virtual server name
2. Virtual server IP
3. Port
4. Pool name
5. Load-balancing method
6. Pool members (Add the web server IP, Port)
7. Client SSL profile
8. Upload cert & key

Benefits of Offloading SSL (certs) on F5 Devices

AppViewX communicates with the appropriate F5 device intelligently through multiple modes like tmsh, iControl APIs, AS3, etc., to create the virtual server along with the Client SSL profile.

Automation of SSL offloading via AppViewX is as simple as the above form looks. With hundreds of implementations already in production, our expert team will help set up the readily available solution on large enterprise networks looking to automate SSL offloading.

Give AppViewX a spin for free.

Tags

  • F5 ADC
  • F5 Automation
  • F5 Load Balancer
  • SSL Certificate Renewal

About the Author

Hari Prasaad

[email protected]

Heads the Business Analysis team responsible for automation of NetOps, SecOps, business process re-engineering

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