Cloud Director – LB Content Switching

Content switching is used to direct incoming traffic to different pools/servers based on the content of the requests. By looking at the application layer (L7 in the OSI model) we can inspect the client request content, such as URL, header, cookies, queries, etc.

ALB has the concept of policies on virtual services. Each policy rule can have a match and action to it. So we can match on a host header http request and then do a content switch action afterward.

This is, unfortunately, a feature that is not yet supported by Cloud Director(10.5.1). But it can be done in the ALB manager, behind the back of VCD. Rules are in the VCD UI, but not the content of the policy.

My guess is therefore that when it comes to VCD UI in the future, it will be able to adopt the existing content-switching policies.

If you also think this feature should be implemented in VCD, please do a feature request on this site.


In Cloud Director you setup the pools you want to do content switching on. From the screenshot below you can see port80 and port443 are the ones being used to day. Creating the extra pools here will have VCD aware of the pool, so we only need to change a bit on existing objects in the ALB manager.

In the ALB manager, find the virtual service, edit it, and navigate to the policy section. Here we can see the different policy types. Find “HTTP request” and add to new rules.

Each rule will have the match and action point as mentioned before. When doing the action content switch get to choose a specific pool.

Save it all and you are ready to test the content switching. From the screenshot below, you can see how it will look inside the VCD UI.

NSX V2T migration

The reason for me to research how to do content switching was primarily that some tenants are still using NSX-V because they use haproxy application rules to do content switching. NSX migration for Cloud Director tool does support basic load balancing migrations. But not when there are application rules applied.

Now tenant can schedule the service window, remove the application rules, and have the migration tool migrate all nat, firewall, routes, and basic load balancing.

After the migrations are done the content switching rules can be created manually, from what the application rules in haproxy specified.


Even if it’s not supported by VCD yet, we can still do it. Ofcause the tenants can’t do it themself but will need to log a support case with you until the feature is introduced. And when they do, then let’s hope it will adopt the rules being done behind its back.