Application delivery controllers (ADCs) play a vital role in improving the availability, security and overall performance of applications. In today’s world of application-driven businesses, a lot can go wrong when an application is compromised. In fact, a single application outage can cause millions of dollars worth of damage and expose enterprises to significant reputational risk. The people who administer these ADCs take on the majority of the responsibility when it comes to successfully delivering applications across data centers, and too often, organizations ignore problems until it is too late. Simple errors in the ADC management process can cause application downtime and delayed delivery, and increase overhead costs. Based on frequent discussions with our customers, here are the five common challenges associated with ADC management:
#1 Managing dynamic change requests
ADC infrastructure is extremely dynamic, and as a business grows, the ADC must grow and change with it. Traditional manual methods of delivering ADC services are often the root of the problem, ultimately resulting in piles of unfilled service requests.
#2 Lack of collaboration and need for self-servicing IT
When application teams encounter new business needs, they delegate tasks to multiple teams. Whether they are deploying a new application, creating a virtual server, allocating free IP, or adding a firewall rule, several teams may be involved in a single workflow. This presents a new challenge: lengthy resolution times due to lack of collaboration across application teams. In this age of digitalization, delays are anything but acceptable. However, it is important to recognize that security can’t suffer in the name of speed and agility. If it does, overall ADC management efficiency will be compromised.
#3 Frequent backup and upgrade requests
Keeping up with an influx of network change requests while also managing configuration changes on hundreds of ADCs at multiple locations poses an obvious challenge for network teams. And, routine tasks aside, if managed inefficiently, performing backups and upgrading devices can consume nearly all of network engineers’ valuable time and resources.
#4 Optimizing ADC configurations
Maintaining a clean set of configurations is one of the most important ADC management functions. In many enterprises, it is common for 10 to 20 percent of ADC configurations to go unknowingly unused. Unlike firewall optimization, load balancer optimization is less likely to be a priority for network engineers. This oversight contributes to unnecessary overhead associated with configuration maintenance, especially if cloud migrations or version updates are involved.
#5 Knowing the state and status of applications
A key aspect of properly managing application delivery is having a clear view of your service infrastructure. Because of complexity, most enterprises cannot truly say they have a full and centralized view of their application infrastructure. If you can’t take a detailed look at the status of your application during an outage, the entire network team must scroll through hundreds – or even thousands – of lines of configurations to identify what went wrong. Businesses can’t afford this kind of costly downtime.
How do we address these challenges and build an agile application delivery infrastructure? Download the white paper Five Common Business Challenges in ADC Management: Tackling NetOps Issues Using Automation to learn more about the best practices to address them using automation tools.