Special delivery

With enterprises becoming ever more reliant on their network infrastructures, business-enabling applications need to be delivered smoothly and securely.

Tags: A10 Networks Inc (www.a10networks.com )Aruba NetworksManageEngineSynechron (www.synechron.com/)
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Special delivery
By  Tom Paye Published  May 20, 2014

Every network manager is acutely aware of the high-intensity demands that organisations now place on their infrastructures. As businesses race to gain competitive advantage, line-of-business managers want speed, high availability and reliability. And to enterprise-grade organisations, that means ensuring smooth and quick application delivery.

Networks, however, are prone to bottlenecks, and identifying and remedying those bottlenecks has become a pain point for CIOs and network managers in recent years. After all, with so much now depending on the infrastructure, and with limited resources being poured into the IT department, it can be difficult to guarantee the always-on and lightning-fast performance that senior business leaders demand.

This is a problem because, according to a number of experts, smooth application delivery is paramount to success, particularly where the large enterprise is concerned. SaadiKawkji, senior SE manager at Aruba Networks, claims that applications are the foundation of a strong business — he calls them a business’s “heart and soul” — and that smooth delivery from the data centre to the end user is now of paramount importance. This, he says, demands flexibility in the data centre.

“It is important to have a flexible application delivery infrastructure that can adapt to the changes on both the application and user side of the equation. By increasing agility, CIOs can reduce operational costs. Implementing a flexible application delivery infrastructure allows IT organisations to transform their goal from maintaining technology to providing on-demand application value,” he explains.

“In today’s business environment and digital age where external customers and suppliers are connected to the organisations through applications like ERP, the smooth application delivery can be a huge competitive advantage. Application delivery means CIOs have the business relevancy, agility, and focus to move beyond legacy technologies and mindsets to bridge the gap between any user and any application.”

The focus here, Kawkji says, is on end user satisfaction. Glen Ogden, regional sales director at A10 Networks, explains why the focus has shifted towards the less IT-savvy end user.

“In the early days of application delivery over the internet, the majority of consumers were early adopters with technical backgrounds. These early adopters understood the technical complications and difficulties of delivering a ser ing of application issues,” he explains.

“The penetration of easy-to-use, internet-enabled devices is high in many regions around the world, cutting through demographical/age barriers with the majority of these devices in the hands of non-technical users. These non-technical users are less accepting of technical problems as they don’t understand why things don’t work 100% of the time.”

Unfortunately, achieving new levels of satisfaction and productivity among non-technical users is something that is easier said than done for many organisations — particularly those that have legacy infrastructures to contend with. And with network infrastructures becoming more complicated and convoluted by the year, the smooth delivery of applications has become a serious issue for many.

“Today’s IT infrastructure is complex and comprises multiple tiers such as the network, server, storage, database, middleware and applications that could reside in a private data centre or hosted in a public cloud. This means that there is a lot of interdependence within all these components and failure or degradation, such as network latency, in any one tier could have a negative impact on the application performance. On top of this, increased and on-demand applications access by a growing user base places addition demands on processing, storage and bandwidth of these applications,” explains Sridhar Iyengar, vice president of product management at ManageEngine.

“Some of the networks today do not have contextual awareness of the application sensitivity to network delays. This means that such networks treat all applications the same, which could be a problem for time sensitive applications such as voice and video applications,” he adds.

The importance of monitoring
Happily, a number of technologies have emerged in recent years, and they’re aimed at either simplifying the route applications take to get from data centre to end user, or else monitoring the network to identify bottlenecks that can be tackled. And according to at least one expert, the ability to effectively monitor the network can prove invaluable to ramping up application delivery performance.

“A network manager who is consistently facing bottlenecks should set up a proper network monitoring system. This monitoring system should be used to gather systems insights and help him to build an optimisation plan. The system should also be used to provide reliability to the setup by finding issues proactively and also coming up with solutions to resolve them. Monitoring network traffic is also another way to analyse the usage and provide segmentation accordingly,” says Faisal Husain, CEO of Synechron.

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