Organizations are modernizing their network infrastructure to meet the demands of digital businesses. According to F5 State of Application Services 2019 report, “52% of organizations are embracing new methods of app development.” With the acquisition of NGINX, F5 is accelerating the transformation to multi-cloud application services. Organizations are considering a combination of both services to build a more agile infrastructure. However, adopting this broader mix of tools presents its own set of challenges. This solution guide examines the challenges of managing both modern and traditional methods and advantages of real low-code automation tool to address the challenges.
Application Delivery Network Evolution
Application delivery network infrastructure has witnessed a radical transformation. The application stack has evolved from a monolithic stack in the 1990s to multi-tier network architecture in 2000s. Over the past decade, the changes are profound. Traditional application infrastructures are coming up short because of growing business needs. The more advanced deployment models are on the rise, helping NetOps to transform. Enterprises are building a dynamic and distributed network architecture.
Continuous application delivery practices adopted by agile DevOps teams are becoming central to successful businesses. As DevOps becomes more and more mainstream, many organizations are showing interest in “non-traditional” application delivery model including NGINX, HAProxy and Amazon’s ELB. Even more traditional vendors like F5, A10 and Kemp are offering lightweight load balancers or cloud-native ADCs to address the changing trends.
To stay ahead of the curve, application-centric organizations are finding the solution lies in supporting both traditional and modern application delivery. Organizations are considering a combination of both services to build a more agile infrastructure.
Modern and Traditional Application Delivery Network
The application delivery market is in another state of transition with the growing divide between traditional infrastructure and operations (I&O) and open-source services. Application owners facing new levels of demand can no longer wait on the traditional change management process and instead, opt for application services that are faster to deploy. But, for critical applications that call for more stability, they choose to deploy in traditional environments to ensure availability and security
With the acquisition of NGINX, F5 is accelerating the transformation to multi-cloud application services. F5 is the industry leader in application infrastructure for network and security teams. NGINX is the industry leader in application infrastructure for developer and DevOps teams, built on open source.
The flexibility inherent in NGINX makes it easy to deploy in almost any environment or scenario. On the other side, F5 provides advanced application services like local traffic management, global traffic management, DNS management, bot protection, DDoS mitigation, SSL offload, and identity and access management. With the combined solution, enterprises can achieve the agility and time-to-market benefits that your app teams need, without sacrificing the reliability and security controls your network teams require.
Challenges of Managing Heterogeneous Infrastructures
It’s becoming clear that many enterprises are seeking the optimal heterogeneous environment that is both secure and dynamic, stable and agile. From a management standpoint, this approach presents both new benefits and new challenges. DevOps and NetOps teams must be prepared for a new set of challenges that comes to managing a heterogeneous environment.
F5 BIG-IP management can be complex and must be managed to protect against costly errors. That need for oversight increases exponentially when combined with NGINX. NGINX can help DevOps make great strides when it comes to network agility. But, without a sound automation solution, the heterogeneous environment can introduce a new level of complexity leading to security issues.
Managing application delivery serving mode 1 and mode 2 production applications is a difficult and daunting task. Application delivery environments are subject to frequent changes, however, it often takes several days (or more) to implement the necessary configuration changes in a greenfield or brownfield environment. This results in mounting unfulfilled change requests, which delay time to market.
Lack of Centralized Management
The shift toward more app-centric business models is driving organizations away from traditional methods of application delivery management. The rapid growth of newly deployed apps is taking place in global locations or the cloud. The proper rollout of these numerous applications requires centralized management, automation, orchestration, and monitoring tool. Rapidly instantiating these apps requires a self-provisioning portal.
Centralized Management and Automation of F5 and NGINX
Managing a heterogeneous environment is difficult, and it becomes even harder when more devices are added or modified dynamically. This only emphasizes the need for a comprehensive tool that bridges the gap between the different services and business applications. Solutions that can extend visibility, automate application services, enable backups, restore configurations, and provide role-based access control (RBAC) across complex ADC infrastructure become more important than ever before.
The AppViewX platform provides a workflow-centric, low-code automation solution that leverages various components of the network infrastructure. It enables the automation and orchestration of F5 and NGINX network infrastructure using an intuitive, context-aware, visual workflow. AppViewX is the industry’s first platform to manage, automate and orchestrate best-in-class and open-source ADC services.
Why AppViewX with F5 and NGINX
Automate Service Requests with Automation Workflows
The platform provides an intuitive and visual system for designing self-serviceable, event-driven, intelligent, and automation workflows. It allows users to design simple/complex workflows to address various application deployment scenarios on F5 BIG-IP and NGINX. The plug-and-play integrations into various ITSM systems and DDI systems automate complete change management process.
Get Application-Centric Visibility of F5 + NGINX Infrastructure
The platform provides end-users a new and compelling topology view for managing F5 and NGINX infrastructure services. It parses the configurations of the managed F5 and NGINX and automatically builds intuitive app-centric topology views called Inframaps. Inframap provides the health, status details of the ADC objects, firewall policies, certificates and servers associated with the application in a single view.
Cross Team Collaboration through Role-based Access Control
The platform brings multiple teams – NetOps, SecOps, DevOps to work together with granular access control and standardized workflows. Users can define device-level or object-level, granular read or read-write access. App Owners can monitor their application status and self-service basic operations like server rotation from the Dashboard view. It also enables DevSecOps, involving infrastructure teams in the DevOps journey.
Organizations are modernizing their application delivery infrastructure by embracing a blend of open-source, cloud-native solutions and legacy platform services. By adopting this approach, DevOps are finding new ways to improve agility, scalability and cost-effectiveness.
Manually managing a heterogeneous infrastructure can be both complex and difficult, opening the door for more harm than good. With literally hundreds (or even thousands) of applications distributed across geographical locations, teams must optimize and centralize the delivery of ADC services.
Given the tremendous scale and complexity involved, NetOps and DevOps teams should invest in network automation tools to centrally control and configure ADCs, providing detailed visibility and analytics to ensure the most superior user experience.