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Application Delivery 2.0 and ADCs

Wide Area Networking Alert By Jim Metzler and Steve Taylor, Network World
March 01, 2010 12:07 AM ET
Jim Metzler
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Insightful analysis by consultants Steve Taylor and Jim Metzler, plus links to the latest WAN news headlines

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As discussed in recent newsletters, driven by factors such as virtualization and cloud computing we have entered a new generation of application delivery challenges and solutions – an era that we refer to as Application Delivery 2.0. We are going to use the next few newsletters to discuss the role that Application Delivery Controllers (ADC) play in improving the performance and lowering the cost of application delivery.

What's driving Application Delivery 2.0?

In any economic environment a company's senior management expects that their IT organization will continually look for ways to cut cost, get better control over the company's data assets, and show a high rate of return on the investments that they make. However, part of the cultural shift driving Application Delivery 2.0 is that the pressure to cut cost is higher than it has been in recent memory and that pressure is not going to diminish any time soon.

One of the initiatives that many IT organizations have taken in order to respond to senior management's expectations is to consolidate resources, such as applications, servers and storage into centralized data centers where they are accessed over a WAN. For example, our research indicates that around 40% of IT organizations have consolidated the majority of their servers into centralized data centers. Our research also indicates that driven in part by the desire to implement private cloud computing solutions, that IT organizations will continue to centralize servers over the next year.

Another initiative that many IT organizations have taken, and will continue to take, in order to respond to senior management's expectations is to deploy new Web-based applications and to implement Web-based interfaces on existing applications. Web-based applications often run over the Internet and utilize protocols such as HTTP. The good news is that HTTP is not as chatty as is CIFS (Common Internet File System). The bad news is that it is common for a Web-based application to use 50 or more objects to create a single page. It is also common to have each object require 10 or more packets be transmitted. The result of having to transmit hundreds of packets in order to download a single Web page is unacceptable delay and user frustration.

Resource consolidation and the deployment of Web-based applications are just two examples of IT initiatives that provide significant value, but which often result in unacceptable application performance. One of the ways that IT organizations respond to these challenges is by implementing an Application Delivery Controller (ADC) from companies such as F5, Citrix, Cisco, Brocade, A10, Crescendo or Radware.

Our next newsletter will discuss the role of an ADC. In the mean time, we could use your help. We are conducting a survey the goal of which is to identify which application delivery challenges are the most important to IT organizations this year. The survey should not take more than 10 minutes to complete and we will share the results with everyone who takes the time to fill out the survey. You can access the survey here.

Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.

Steve Taylor is president of Distributed Networking Associates and publisher/editor-in-chief of Webtorials. Jim Metzler is vice president of Ashton, Metzler & Associates.

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