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New data center demands reshape enterprise app delivery

Discover how modern application delivery controllers and web application firewalls can improve network provisioning processes and help secure distributed workloads.

Whether your IT leadership is trying to bolster application security, multi-cloud management, work-from-home performance or automation, it's safe to say application delivery requirements inside and between data centers and clouds are rapidly evolving. In this tip, we look at several of the needs surrounding enterprise app delivery and how modern application delivery controller (ADC) platforms are advancing to address those needs.

Accelerate processes through automation

Data centers of old were not built with flexibility and scalability in mind. As such, spinning up or shifting around applications and workloads became a cumbersome process. To add to this complexity, applications are now served out of multiple private and public data centers and clouds.

Thanks to the advent of software-defined and server virtualization technologies, however, many of the network provisioning and server processes can now be automated, which significantly accelerates application moves, adds and changes throughout a multi-cloud architecture.

But, despite these advancements, one problem continues to plague the speed at which applications can be brought online or moved throughout a corporate network. That problem revolves around intelligent self-provisioning.

Right now, network administrators manually perform many of the load balancing, throughput, memory allocation and other infrastructure service decisions. This can consume a significant amount of time and has become a bottleneck from a time to deployment KPI perspective.

Modern ADC platforms address this problem by delivering self-service portals with built-in intelligence that can monitor application, system and network requirements. The AI can then use this information to adjust resource allocations in real time and on the administrators' behalf. Doing so eliminates the provisioning bottleneck issue that slows down speed to production.

East-west traffic security

Within data centers and clouds, relatively little has been done to address how to secure workload communications in distributed computing architectures. The good news is IT leaders are starting to request this level of data security as part of their larger zero-trust initiatives.

As such, web application firewalls -- the security component of application delivery -- are being deployed to monitor and protect east-west traffic, in addition to traditional north-south traffic flows. Doing so helps reduce secondary attack surfaces when a system is compromised and the threat actor tries to move laterally within a corporate infrastructure.

Multi-cloud and edge computing management

Enterprises are reducing the overall business risk of a cloud service provider (CSP) outage by distributing applications and workloads across multiple clouds. While this architectural shift removes single points of failure, it does so at the cost of more complex management.

Further compounding this distributed computing management nightmare is that many enterprises are looking at edge computing to increase the performance of their remote workforces, including those that work permanently from their homes.

Several ADC vendors have heeded their customers' call to seamlessly manage application delivery through a centralized platform that attaches to various private and public cloud environments using API hooks. Doing so enables administrators to deploy and manage application performance policies identically, regardless of the underlying infrastructure or cloud instance in which the app or service is deployed.

Addressing production-ready containers

For years, enterprises treated container architectures and clusters as a great way to build test environments quickly and cheaply. However, now that administrators have grown comfortable with container technologies and see they're reliable and capable, containerized workloads are rapidly moving into production.

The problem for DevOps professionals has been a lack of tools and automation capabilities to handle container workloads across private data centers and multiple public clouds. Modern ADCs again step up to this challenge and now offer the ability to control and manage the performance of containerized workloads across several of the most popular CSPs.

This was last published in August 2022

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