E-Handbook: App delivery controllers are vital networking hardware tools Article 1 of 3

ADCs, those do-all, be-all networking hardware tools

The watchwords of IT are increasingly familiar: bigger, better, faster.

That maxim applies, especially, to application delivery controllers, one of today's essential networking hardware tools. In its earliest iterations, the app delivery controller, or ADC, had only a few key functions -- essentially balancing the loads among components serving web and application content.

But today's demands -- fueled by cloud computing, mobile penetration and security concerns -- mean these networking hardware tools are not so basic any longer. Add the rise of DevOps and microservices to the mix, and it's easy to see why the ADC has become more integral to the success of the modern enterprise.

At the same time, the form factor of the app delivery controller itself has changed. It's no longer just a piece of dedicated hardware sitting in a data center, but is now software, residing either on premises or in the cloud. In the years to come, the app delivery controller will become even more virtualized, spun up or down as needed for a specific service or function and even deployable within containers.

With traffic loads multiplying even as users become more mobile, these networking hardware tools have absorbed an amazing array of advanced, technological functionalities that go well beyond load balancing.

As one IT expert correctly summed up, today's app delivery controllers are a do-all and be-all networking tool, and a great way to think of them is as the industry's very own version of the versatile Swiss army knife.