In the world of consumerism, the concept of self-servicing and DIY (Do It Yourself) is not alien. Over the years, the psychological shift in consumer behaviour based on individualistic choices is palpable. Changing consumption patterns, combined with personalization have seen consumers ‘switch lanes’ based on their preferences to get seamless contextual self-service.
From buying our own soft drinks from a vending machine to self-checks in at the airport kiosks, from building a DIY Tiny house in the countryside of Portland to using Fintech services to perform banking transactions, the experience around usage of Products, services and data is brought more closer to the end users. The world has embraced self-servicing. The dependency on traditional ways of “doing things” has slowly eroded. There are similar parallels in the world of networking.
COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation for businesses. The growing adoption of Multi-cloud, and overwhelming interest in the edge and distributed applications is driving the need to improve application performance. This has emerged as an important criteria for organizations for making decisions about application security and delivery technology.
With application teams and DevOps becoming the focal point, Infrastructure teams are facing a new development‑centric reality, wherein they must work at the same pace as development teams to deliver the application security services; and policies required across a complex Infrastructure – Data centers, cloud, and virtualized environments.
According to F5’s State of the application Strategy report (SOAS), 2020 there is a 133% increase in organizations modernizing apps.
Given these high market expectations to deliver modern mission-critical applications, many organizations are challenged with the pain of balancing faster development. The reality is that infrastructure is still moving slow. There are still many instances where Application and DevOps teams are put on hold by the infrastructure team for days, weeks – and sometimes even months. Gone are the days of waiting for days – let alone weeks or months. These Infrastructure bottlenecks can pose risks not only to the reliability and security of applications but to the entire organization.
Modern applications and the role of Load Balancers
With growing demand for modernised applications, the role of load balancers in the larger network ecosystem is crucial in terms of traffic management and ensuring improved application response and availability. From being legacy hardware/appliance based, to virtual ADC’s, to a software defined form factor, the evolution of load balancers over the years is hard to miss. The primary advantages being lower total cost of ownership (TCO), elasticity and high availability of applications.
The three components – load balancer, a web application firewall (WAF), and self‑service catalog for Line of Business – are critical In order to provide seamless application delivery and security. Given a multi-vendor ecosystem, self-servicing needs to be infrastructure‑agnostic where applications are deployable across bare metal, virtualized, and cloud platforms.
Key tenets of Multi-Cloud Application Delivery
Enterprises have increasingly become more application centric. In a self‑service environment, application teams can spin up specific load balancer configurations themselves in near real time, using a self-service catalog portal or via API -instead of filing a ticket with the infrastructure team. The outcome – No more waiting hours, or weeks to test the efficacy of the new code and deploy applications. Key elements of Multi-Cloud application delivery include:
- Central Platform: Single platform for secure and consistent Multi-cloud, Multi Vendor Application delivery.
- Abstraction : Centralised orchestration for faster delivery of application and security services for App teams and DevOps.
- Observability: Application layer Observability and Insights to monitor, troubleshoot application issues.
- Self-servicing for Line of Business: Operational consistency for app teams, DevOps and NetOps through self-servicing application delivery services.
To keep up with network agility and market demand, Infrastructure teams need to invest in the right automation tools, process, and data driven approach to enable a continuous delivery model and offer self-service and automation that will work seamlessly on-premise and cloud.
Will enterprises adopt robust self-servicing and automation to address the lacuna in the network infrastructure which traditionally has been cumbersome and time consuming? Will application and DevOps teams still dread Infrastructure being a bottleneck? Only time will tell…