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Driving digital transformation with effective application delivery

Adrian Taylor at A10 Networks explains why application delivery is not just for the IT department. It’s a strategic issue that senior decision makers in business need to address

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of digital resiliency in the modern era. 37% of UK employees are now working from home. And there has been a shift online for consumer activities from banking, retail and media, to entertainment and healthcare.

This means that ensuring application performance and application availability are now a matter of survival for most companies.

Whether people are working or going about their personal lives, they expect a high-quality user experience for the applications they rely on daily. This also means they need cybersecurity which they can count on to protect customer data and privacy.

These demands have made the application delivery controller (ADC) one of the most important components of modern digital infrastructure. The ADC is a networking device which performs common tasks like providing security for an application, or load balancing to manage traffic flow across an IT system. These devices optimise application delivery and improve user experience.

In today’s digital business environment, you must stay agile and innovative to compete, grow, and thrive. In fact, even facing an uncertain economic outlook over the past year, a full 65% of businesses have plans to invest in digital transformation.

Companies are seeking simple, streamlined ways to develop, deploy, change, and manage applications. That puts DevOps, a set of practices that combines software development and IT operations and shortens the software development lifecycle, front-and-centre in digital business strategy.

The results speak for themselves. Companies that use DevOps achieve 46x more software deployments and do so 440x faster. Here again, the ADC has a critical role to play in enabling the full speed and agility DevOps makes possible.

Of course, simply deploying ADCs isn’t a solution to meet all application availability and performance needs.  Meeting these requirements depends upon having the right application delivery controller capabilities and deploying them in the right way.

Here are a few things to consider, to ensure that your application delivery infrastructure is meeting the digital transformation needs of your business and customers.

ADCs ensure performance, availability and security

Application performance

Whether it’s customers or employees who are using your applications, the experience you provide has a direct effect on digital business performance. If customers become frustrated or are unable to use your applications or services effectively, they can take their cash—and their loyalty—to a competitor.

Without reliable application performance and application availability, your workforce can grind to a halt, sending waves of disruption throughout your business. Gartner estimates the average cost of downtime is £4000 per minute, which equates to more than £240,000 an hour.

Your Application Delivery Controller solution can help you maintain a high-quality user experience by enabling a combined approach to manage performance, troubleshoot problems, and optimise traffic across complex environments, allowing threats to be analysed and neutralised faster on devices, applications, policies, users, and more across data centres and clouds.

By gathering and analysing data from across your hybrid infrastructure, you can work proactively to detect anomalies sooner, diagnose problems more accurately, and resolve issues more quickly. 

Global server load balancing functionality, a common feature of ADC solutions, can intelligently guide application traffic to the best available site for each user to ensure the best possible user experience.

Ensuring availability

Across cloud providers, ensuring high availability, disaster recovery, and a reliable backup system are essential to keeping employees productive and customers satisfied

An ADC solution can help you use a public cloud as a backup for your on-premises data centre, using global server load balancing to determine when and how to tap into that capacity, and then rerouting traffic accordingly.

Maintaining trust through security

While application performance and application availability are the foundation of user satisfaction and loyalty, a cybersecurity breach can destroy that trust in a flash. As ransomware attacks, DDoS, and other threats grow in sophistication, and enterprise environments become more distributed and dynamic, cybersecurity and compliance become critical challenges.

Your ADC solution can provide a unified policy infrastructure across every platform you use, making it easier to provide the same, consistent protection of applications. By managing authentication consistently across cloud and on-premises platforms, for example, you can support a Zero Trust security model while providing employees with the right level of access for their needs.

Supporting DevOps while streamlining management

DevOps isn’t just a core methodology for digital transformation. It’s also a set of technical requirements. To enable development and operations teams to collaborate effectively across the software development lifecycle, you need to provide simple, streamlined ways to develop, deploy, change, and manage applications.

A standard set of automation tools across platforms can help teams work efficiently, bring new staff up to speed more quickly, and ensure consistent best practices.

Real-time continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) visualisation can help teams catch costly errors before applications enter production.

Adrian Taylor is Vice President of A10 Networks

Main image courtesy of iStockPhoto.com

© Business Reporter 2021

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