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What Are Application Services?

Application services are a set of interconnected services such as load balancing, performance monitoring, security, proxy, and service discovery, required to deploy, run, and manage applications.

Common Application Services and Their Devices

Load Balancing

Load balancing refers to the distribution of application traffic across server pools in a way that improves application delivery speed, server performance, and application availability. Load balancers (the device that performs load balancing) can be both hardware-based and software-based. Load balancers that distribute traffic based on the geography of the request are called Global Service Load Balancers, and help reduce latency by directing traffic to servers or other load balancers closest to the origin of the request. A new breed of load balancers, called Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs), perform additional functions such as SSL offloading, data compression, and caching, other than load balancing.

Domain Name System (DNS)

DNS translates queries entered by humans (such as into a machine-readable IP address. It works like a phonebook, mapping domain names to IP addresses. microservices architectures, where network locations of services change dynamically.

Application Service Management

The process of configuring, automating, and orchestrating the above application services is called application service management. Application service management is traditionally done by Application Service Providers (APS), who provide full-stack applications to end-users and also manage them at a fixed cost. These days, most organizations either have their own data centers and in-house NetOps teams, or host their applications on private, public, or hybrid clouds, with the cloud provider’s team managing the network and application services in the latter two.

Application service orchestration involves automating the way applications connect to and consume these services, with minimal manual intervention. It stitches these services together and provides a single service environment for the applications to consume. This way, network engineers and operations teams do not need to configure each service separately during application changes (new application deployment, updates, or scaling-up/down resources for traffic management). Application service orchestration significantly reduces configuration errors and service request processing times and improves application performance and availability.

Service Orchestration Tools

Tools that orchestrate application services are vendor-agnostic and operate across on-premise, hybrid, and multi-cloud deployments. Integration with ITSM tools is a must-have for continuity of operations and mapping with the overall business process. Orchestration tools also provide a level of self-servicing for application teams to manipulate the services that their applications consume, with appropriate role-based access controls. They also function as an APM tool themselves, performing troubleshooting and incident management.

Managing Cloud App Services and Microservices

Application services in the cloud and microservice architectures are highly virtualized and dynamic, and they come with their own management platforms. While they’re ideal for born-in-the-cloud greenfield deployments, brownfield deployments that still have some legacy network components need tools that bridge the divide between the old and the new deployments. Application service orchestration tools come to the rescue here – being environment-agnostic, they operate both on-premise and on cloud/microservices, and ensure application performance and availability don’t take a hit. They also help in the automatic migration of applications and service configurations from on-premise to cloud, eradicating the need to script from scratch.

Another important aspect of cloud and microservices is the sheer number of moving parts that these two deployments involve, from services to toolchains. This is where governance comes in. Service orchestration tools should ensure standardization of processes across systems and check for deviations from the IT policy. Governance involves detecting and rectifying configuration drifts, which the tool automates.

Looking for a tool to orchestrate application services? Learn about AppViewX’s closed-loop, context-aware orchestration capabilities that provide end-to-end automation of application services.