Virtual ADCs: Where application delivery controllers fit in software-defined data centers

SDN and virtualization are driving a shift from hardware-based application delivery controllers toward a microservices model that enables more flexible ADC licensing options

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The application delivery controller (ADC) market is ripe for disruption.

The ADC sits at a strategic place in the data center, in between the firewall and application servers, where it’s able to see, route and analyze much of the inbound and outbound traffic. Traditional ADCs were sold as all-in-one hardware appliances. However, software-defined networking and virtualization have enabled more flexible deployments of ADC functionality. At the same time, the advent of multicloud environments and microservices, such as containers, are changing the makeup of enterprise data centers.

Over time, migration to a software-defined data-center network will require the disaggregation of ADC features, increasing use of microservices-based ADC features, and more flexible licensing options.

What is the software-defined data-center network?

In software-defined networking (SDN), networking software is abstracted from networking hardware, enabling significant changes in how networks are built and operated. SDN impacts both the WAN and the data center network; in the SDDCN, adaptable network resources are deployed with compute resources such as virtual machines and containers, along with enterprise disc and flash storage, to deliver specified performance for private cloud applications. Via software abstraction, data center resources can be easily reallocated to address changing application requirements without changing the underlying physical compute, storage, or network elements.

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