Introduction to Application Delivery Controllers:
Our interaction with any application displays us only the presentation layer, known as the GUI. But what one hardly notices is the application infrastructure that is the base of all the services, features and most important- the application performance and availability.
An important computer network device in a data-center, and a part of application delivery network, executing various tasks regarding application performance and functionality is the Application Delivery Controller. Placed in the DMZ (i.e. between outer firewall and the web farm), conventionally, the ADC units offer application acceleration and load balancing between servers as well.
Automating ADC Lifecycle:
For the organizations, the ADC effectiveness needs no introduction and this can be gauged from the 10% CAGR of the global ADC market (Hardware and Software), which is expected to grow from USD 2.4 Billion in 2019 to USD 3.9 Billion by 2024, says MarketsAndMarkets report.
Automate Your F5 ADCs to Get Rid of Service Delivery Delays and TCO Surge
But, the configuration and efficient management of ADC to manage applications in a hybrid multi-cloud environment is not only tiresome but also a costly process. It is a complicated process to be handled under the aegis of technical experts. Moreover, the long ticket queues causing delivery delays and the cost of ownership adds to the dread.
The most functionally and economically effective solution is the automation of ADC units to get all the functions handled efficiently and effortlessly.
Easy said but hard done! As it’s a complicated process, one needs to consider several parameters for an effective self-service model for configuration management and automation.
Considerations when automating ADC lifecycle
1. Centralized Inventory Management
Unified view of devices, configurations and application services along with efficient device management are the core of successful automation of ADC lifecycle. Moreover, the real-time visibility of status, health and performance of devices and applications are needed to be considered at first. While automating the ADC lifecycle, it must be ensured that one is having complete control over all configurations at a single place centralized management pane.
An organization might have ADC units from different service providers/ vendors, so the automation platform must be vendor agnostic, i.e. able to automate and orchestrate all the ADC units simultaneously.
2. Self-Serviceable Orchestrations & Configuration Automation:
The whole process, including the deployments, automation and the management must be easy and clear. In general, one should not require any special assistance from the dedicated personnel. When taking your ADC lifecycle to an auto-operation mode, it’s crucial to ensure that the services, and related functions like enabling/ disabling blue-green deployments, integrations with several DevOps tools, can be easily operated by your team. The solution should provide automated workflows for configuration automation with self-service catalogs.
3. App-Centric Visibility & Monitoring:
The automation platform must be capable of providing the detailed status of application, i.e. from Network edge’s end to the servers’ end. An ideal Application Delivery Solution should have the feature of notifying the organizations regarding the potential vulnerabilities; identify remediation, and implement remediation at multiple levels (all the way down to individual configurations).
4. Detailed, Insightful, Actionable Reports:
The customizable reports and the centralized dashboard to give a bird eye view of the whole ADC lifecycle at one place, is also essential. The auto-generated reports on CPU utilization, traffic statistics, unused resources in a report matching with the organizational patterns, saves a lot of manpower. The solution should enable organizations to pull detailed reports based on the roles and responsibilities of specific users.
5. Managing Dynamic Change Requests:
The ADC infrastructure is highly dynamic and with time, changes happen too fast in the requirements. The automation service platform must be capable to meet the new requirements of the business related to the ADC functions. Server rotations, modified configurations, version upgrades, hardware replacements, and many more kinds of changes happen periodically, Therefore, while selecting the automation of ADC lifecycle, these capabilities of the platform must be considered at first.
6. Handling Backup and Upgrade Requests:
There are continuous network change requests being confronted and the efficient management of these configuration alterations over several ADCs at different locations is really a challenge. Moreover, such backup and upgrade requests consume a lot of time and efforts. The right automation tools and platforms must be able to manage the backups and store the configuration data centrally, so that it can be restored completely or partially as and when required.
7. Security Concerns:
The distinct location of ADC units in the data centers not only provides security to the application but also to other computing and networking resources. But if the automation tool or the platform used is not secure then that can be a potential vector for the data-breaches. As the ADCs examine the requests & responses to perform advanced load balancing and routing functions, the automation tools must be free of weaker codes and vulnerabilities.
Performance of the automation tools is the primary concern, which is generally measured in terms of task execution speed and feeds. For the modern ADC usage, the connection capacity management and decisions made per second are paramount parameters of ADC, and the automation tool must be capable to manage the functions, in addition to all aforementioned points.
Another important feature to be examined for automating the ADC lifecycles is cost-effectiveness of the tools. There must also be flexibility of choosing the services and tools holding relevance for the organization and paying only for the services being accessed. Being vendor agnostic, ADC+ helps organizations save millions by managing a plethora of devices from a single pane of glass instead of opting for multiple vendor-specific device management consoles.
10. Policy Compliance:
The automation tools deployed for the purpose must be able to proactively correct the configurations by comparing any of them against different checkers and fast roll-back to the correct configuration. This would be of great help for healthcare and BFSI organizations with ever-changing compliances. The Application Delivery solutions should also provide reporting and alerting capabilities to highlight policy discrepancies (outside company policies).
Today’s complex IT infrastructure has several ADCs of different kinds and various other devices executing tasks in tandem with them. The networking team has to face several challenges in efficient management of all of them. A lot of efforts and time can be saved in automating the ADC lifecycle for the organization.
Before automating the ADC lifecycle, one must consider all these points and select the tool offering all the amenities.
ADC+ by AppViewX is the tool taking care of all the organizational requirements. The best part is the capability to automate and orchestrate all the ADCs, sourced through any vendor. This is the one-of-its-kind offering at global level.