The Evolution of Application Delivery Systems: Cloud-ready, Automated Solutions Take Center Stage!


Introduction

With the advent of digitalization, application delivery as we know it is undergoing a radical transformation. Traditional application infrastructures are coming up short as the needs of digital business leaders continue to shift. Luckily, new, more advanced deployment models are on the rise, helping organizations through this transformation.

As cloud computing adoption rates increase, so does the interest in “non-traditional” ADCs. Even more traditional ADC vendors like F5, A10 and Kemp are offering cloud-native ADCs and lightweight load balancers to address the changing trends. However, despite the benefits boasted by newer models, dedicated ADC hardware is still the preferred platform for application delivery. Similarly, while cloud solutions host most applications, organizations often use a private cloud for security and governance instead.

So, what’s the right solution? To stay ahead of the curve, application-centric organizations are finding that the answer lies in supporting a hybrid ADC environment. The introduction of cloud-ready ADCs or open-source software has not affected the steady use of more traditional ADCs. Instead, organizations are considering a combination of both services to build a more agile infrastructure.

However, adopting this broader mix of solutions presents its own set of challenges. This white paper examines the ADC market evolution, challenges of managing both non-traditional and traditional ADCs, and the advantages of adopting an ADC management and automation tool.

Evolution of ADC to Cloud

Regardless of the industry they belong to, businesses host hundreds of web servers behind their applications to handle multiple customer requests simultaneously. An application delivery controller (ADC) sits between the end-customer and your servers to manage this traffic. ADCs are becoming a key component of the network as they deliver the business-critical web application to your end-customers.

Over the past decade, application delivery networking has drastically evolved. Perhaps most notably, load balancing has completely transformed into the advanced Application Delivery Controller (ADC) market we know today. The impact of digitalization on the ADC market has opened doors for platform services, cloud-native ADC solutions and open-source load balancing software services.

The ADC market is in another state of transition with the growing divide between traditional infrastructure and operations (I&O) and a new app-centric approach. Application owners facing new levels of demand can no longer wait on the traditional change management process and instead opt for cloud-ready ADC services that are faster to deploy. But, for critical applications that call for more stability, they choose to deploy in traditional environments (hardware or private cloud) to ensure availability and security.

As enterprises continue to move to cloud adoption in the ADC sector, it’s becoming clear that many enterprises are seeking the optimal hybrid ADC deployment model that is both secure and dynamic, stable and agile. From a management standpoint, this approach presents both new benefits and new challenges.

Advantages of Embracing Cloud-Ready ADCs

The most important driver for today’s more agile initiatives is the need to bring unprecedented numbers of new applications to market at the speed of digitalization. Cloud-ready ADC solutions offer fast, secure and continuous application delivery. The flexibility inherent in a software-based load balancer makes it easy to deploy in almost any environment or scenario. That’s why the IT world is embracing these software-based platforms and the numerous advantages they present.

Rapid Deployment

The application deployment process over cloud services is both simple and straightforward: download, configure, test and deploy. And, open APIs enable easier integration with any solution used in existing application delivery infrastructure. This enables both rapid and efficient delivery of new applications.

Deploy Anywhere

Millions of users are using an increasing number of devices to access applications in real-time. Cloud services help to address the needs presented by this new level of demand. Dynamic business requests can be deployed across any environment — whether on-premise, private cloud, public cloud or a hybrid environment.

On-demand Scaling

The new cloud-based or software-based approach allows DevOps to tailor the deployment process to its business’s needs, lowering costs by matching demand.

Cost-Effective Infrastructure

To modernize infrastructures, organizations are utilizing both on-premise and cloud solutions. This enables much faster deployment times, which naturally cuts costs

Challenges of Managing Hybrid ADC Environments

Non-traditional ADCs deliver much faster applications, promising increased agility for developers and business users without compromising availability. However, these non-traditional ADCs are not a replacement for legacy ADCs. To adequately address digitalization demands, NetOps need an efficient blend of both legacy ADCs and non-legacy ADCs in their infrastructure. But, DevOps and NetOps teams must be prepared for the new set of challenges that comes with managing a heterogeneous ADC environment.

Related Articles:   Seamlessly Deliver Applications Across Multi-Vendor Infrastructures

Complexity

Legacy ADCs can be complex and must be managed diligently to protect against costly errors. That need for oversight increases exponentially when combined with software-based ADCs or cloud services. Without sound automated ADC management, the hybrid ADC environment can introduce a new level of complexity leading to security issues.

Dynamic Requests

Managing ADCs serving mode 1 and mode 2 production applications is a difficult and daunting task. ADC 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 ADC 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 a centralized management, automation, orchestration and monitoring tool. And, rapidly instantiating these apps requires a self-provisioning portal.

Overcoming the Challenges to Managing Application Delivery Platforms

The ADC market is bifurcating, presenting a new and challenging situation for NetOps teams. Enterprises are starting to deploy applications using both legacy and cloud ADC services, creating a need for a simpler ADC infrastructure management and automation solution.

Managing a heterogeneous environment is difficult, and it becomes even harder when more devices are added or modified in a dynamic way. This only emphasizes the need for a comprehensive tool that bridges the gap between the different ADC 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.

Enterprises should invest in advanced ADC management and automation tools to efficiently deliver applications across the newly adopted hybrid environment. An advanced ADC management and automation solution provides:

  • Consistent and controlled management and automation of ADCs that are serving both mode 1 and mode 2 applications across data centers.
  • The ability to build an agile data center, ensure application availability and deliver applications at scale.
  • Ownership of load balancing to application teams.

Comprehensive ADC Management and Automation for the Application Delivery Platforms of the Future

AppViewX provides role-based management, automation, and orchestration of multi-vendor ADC devices that serve mode 1 and mode 2 applications across data centers. It offers state-of-the-art self-servicing capabilities that map to the needs of application owners, network engineers and network operators.

Key Benefits

  • Manage, automate and orchestrate ADC application services across geographically distributed environments
  • Start enabling more agile application delivery by building a bimodal infrastructure
  • Increase operational efficiency by enabling seamless collaboration among cross-functional teams
  • Reduce manual configuration errors across the network by more than 70 percent
  • Increase visibility across the application delivery infrastructure
  • Reduce risk and ensure compliance with application-centric service alerting and
    centralized reporting
  • Upgrade seamlessly to the latest ADC versions and reduce the average delivery time from
    days to minutes

Automation Workflows for Agile Service Delivery

AppViewX supplies pre-packaged automation workflows to address common ADC deployment scenarios. With these workflows, you can apply automation across your existing network without making changes. These workflows can be customized to meet your business needs or used as a reference when creating brand new automation workflows. With these workflows, you can easily automate change requests and enable self-servicing through integration with existing ITSM and other third-party systems.

  • Create/Modify/Delete Virtual Server with ITSM and IPAM Integration
  • Software Upgrade
  • Decommission Unused Virtual Severs

Standard workflows are available in the AppViewX GitHub. Note that you must have an AppViewX instance in your environment to try the automation workflows. If you don’t have one, register here to get your free trial.

Link to download: https://github.com/AppViewX/Load-Balancers

Conclusion

Organizations are modernizing their application delivery infrastructure by embracing a blend of open-source, cloud-native solutions and legacy platform services. By adopting a combination of traditional and non-traditional ADCs, DevOps are finding new ways to improve agility, scalability and cost-effectiveness.

Manually managing a hybrid infrastructure can be both complex and difficult, opening the door to 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 ADC management and automation tools to centrally control and configure ADCs, providing detailed visibility and analytics to ensure the most superior user experience.

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