|By Lori MacVittie||
|August 7, 2014 10:15 AM EDT||
Application delivery, as defined as its own little corner of the network industry, has been fairly focused on assuring the performance, security and availability of applications since its inception back around 2003. Oh, the ways in which those three core tenets have been supported by application delivery controllers has evolved during that time, but always the focus was on the goal of making apps fast, secure and available.
But that was then, and this is next. The new world is an application world, and it's not just having them on the Internet that counts. Applications - whether mobile or web, consumer or employee - are what enable and grow business today. The app is a requirement, a competitive differentiator, the keystone of an ecosystem around which businesses will rise and fall.
And while it is certainly still the case that apps should be fast, secure and available, it's increasingly becoming true that they must also get to market faster, scale faster and more efficiently, and increase productivity. As our CEO John McAdam noted in his keynote at Agility 2014, IT and the business must work together to deliver applications while meeting - for perhaps the first time in years - objectives that are aligning. Which may mean being delivered on-premise or off, in a cloud or from a traditional data center. They may be native mobile or web apps and they might just be SaaS. The goal is lowering IT operational costs and increasing productivity all while improving time to market.
All this variety means "the network" must evolve. It must take the next step toward supporting apps everywhere that interact with users anywhere. And since a significant portion of "the network" lies at layers 4-7 in application services, that means app delivery must continue to evolve.
App delivery must support the opportunity inherent in the new application world by adapting and adopting the paradigms and precepts behind cloud, devops, SDN, and evolving security models in order to meet the goals of fast, secure and available applications provisioned in minutes instead of months and with reduced operational costs.
As our EVP Manny Rivelo noted in his keynote, it's more than just changing features and functionality and adding services this time. This time it's changing the very foundations of how application delivery solutions are architected, managed, integrated and even ultimately where they reside. App delivery "next" has to address deployment of its services, moving from months to minutes, from manual to programmable. Its network infrastructure model must support multi-tenancy and move from hardware products to software-defined platforms. Its basic availability and operating modes must change from HA pairs and overprovisioning to elasticity and enabling hybrid cloud deployments. And it must decouple from the network access and app protection, moving away from IP to ID-based security models.
The new app delivery requirements must do more than just deliver apps. It must enable the application world in which "application" is synonymous with "opportunity."
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
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