Reinventing application delivery in age of cloud, mobile
How to deliver enterprise applications to remote workers from data centres all over the world is at the centre of transformation happening in the application delivery space
Technology is reshaping the business application value proposition. Today’s business drivers and requirements are motivating business and decision-makers to place a high priority on consolidating, rationalizing, and transforming their business applications to support business requirements and corporate growth, notes Forrester research.
The result is some key trends that are having a major impact on application delivery and will continue to do so for the near future. One of this is undoubtedly cloud in general and software-as-a-service (SaaS) in particular, a development that provides an alternative model for application delivery with more predictable costs.
Enterprise adoption of public cloud services has grown exponentially over the past few years, notes Sudhir Sanil, SE Manager Middle East & Turkey at application delivery experts F5. “ This growth is with good reason—the cloud enables greater agility, faster time to market, and flexible payment models,” Sanil says adding, “It’s a given that applications in the cloud must still offer the great user experience, including availability, performance, and security. Cloud providers, however, ensure availability and security of the network and individual services, not the apps themselves.”
To help organisations along their own cloud journeys, the F5 Cloud Migration architecture delivers points of control to meet delivery and access expectations for functionality, configurability, and performance, wherever the workload is hosted, say Sanil. “F5 solutions can jump-start a private cloud-computing strategy by providing an integrated, flexible foundation upon which the organization can work toward the goal of providing IT as a service,” Sanil adds.
Citrix too is committed to enabling cloud services in businesses around the world, says Arthur Dell, director, Technology and Service, MEA for Citrix. Its solution NetScaler, is deployed in networks the world over to help optimise, secure and control the delivery of enterprise and cloud services, and to maximize the end user experience for users including mobile clients, says Dell. “Further, NetScaler Unified Gateway provides a single access point for all enterprise, web, mobile, cloud, SaaS and Citrix apps. Ultimately, as businesses transition to a more mobile way of working, it is vital to protect the network in a smart way,” he adds.
Citrix XenMobile offers both mobile application management (MAM) and mobile device management (MDM) solutions. Common thinking is that MAM gives IT a way to protect corporate apps and data without putting personal content at risk, while MDM is most useful for providing the pre-configured settings that make it easier for workers to get mobile fast, says Dell. “With the combo approach, IT can selectively wipe only business-related contents and settings on a device, leaving personal content and applications untouched. If an employee loses their phone, IT can wipe business apps and data quickly to maintain security—but if the device is later found, all personal apps, email, photos, music, contacts, etc. will still be intact,” explains Dell.
The introduction of cloud computing into the enterprise infrastructure, brings its own set of challenges though, says Elie Dib, managing director, Middle East and North Africa at Riverbed Technology. These cloud deployments are usually hybrid in nature and therefore more challenging than either a pure on-premises or cloud-based business. “With the increasing use of the cloud, IT departments must accommodate employees who now work from multiple locations, and must handle corporate data that lies outside their data centres. This adds architectural complexity and blind spots for support, management, and security,” says Dib.
This added complexity exacerbates the challenges of delivering and managing apps and data. “The challenge for CIOs is to gain visibility and control of all resources, including those shared in public clouds and those managed on-premises across a highly distributed enterprise,” Dib says.
Central to application delivery is the application delivery controller (ADC), the hardware device or a software program that manages client connections to complex Web and enterprise applications.