The inevitable truth about ignoring your networking infrastructure
A few years back,networking solutions used to be at the forefront of every enterprise. Even the consumer centric companies were aggressively boostingtheir networking infrastructure to meet increasing demands. But just as the sun sets and a new day brings new opportunities,innovative solutions that enable concepts likework from anywhere and workplace mobility have gained foothold. As these technologies gear up to become omnipresent across workplaces, companies need to understand that optimizing your networking is a critical to determining their deployment success.
I'm not here to say that these concepts are not worth investing towards, in fact they are soon going to be omnipresent across all workplaces. My thoughts below represent the various challenges and subsequent changes that can and ideally should be made by every enterprise.
Going mobile with an inadequate infrastructure
Going mobile is the need of the hour if an enterprise truly wants to stay ahead of the curve. It's effective, flexible and even keeps the employees happy. But doing so also means pushing your datacentre network to an unprecedented amount of strain, including one of its fundamental building blocks, TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). TCP is one of the main protocols in TCP/IP networks and enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data. Without change, standard TCP fails to meet the performance, availability and security requirements of today's mobile workforce. With the dramatic rise of mobile devices, wireless networks, and on-the-go users, TCP faces unfamiliar challenges. TCP was designed well before these mobile devices were even conceptualized and hence are often mischaracterized and mishandled, resulting in poor network utilization which in turn leads to inferior performance.
The solution: A number of TCP extensions that specifically address these challenges have been developed and there are many other mobility-aware features to optimize the user experience in a mobile-centric world. In order to take advantage of these developments, enterprise IT must deploy application delivery controllers (ADC) that are mobile aware and support the latest TCP protocol extensions. It has to been specifically designed to deliver the exceptional experience demanded by today's mobile workforce
Application Visibility Challenge
The ability to continuously assessing and improving the performance of business-critical applications is essential to ensuring a positive user experience and maintaining the highest levels of employee productivity and customer satisfaction. The challenge of establishing an effective application visibility and control function is only growing, as trends such as mobility, virtualization, and cloud-computing fundamentally alter data centre and application architectures.
The primary factor leading to the visibility challenge is a lack of correlation of the network to applications. Again going back to industry trends such as mobility and virtualization, applications are increasingly in a dynamic and distributed- yet-interwoven computing environment—think mobile devices, mobile apps, hosted virtual desktops, and hybrid clouds. This poses a challenge from the perspective of achieving effective application visibility since users coming in from a variety of media have to be accounted for. Thus, constrained by a lack of application visibility and actionable information, most enterprises are stuck in a situation characterized by fruitless finger-pointing, persistent performance issues, and the inability to reliably deliver a truly exceptional user experience.
The solution:Enterprise can tackle this leveraging strategically placed ADC solutions and technologies. The solution should focus on avoiding the need for cumbersome and costly agents or network tap infrastructure, while delivering unparalleled visibility into virtual desktop, web and enterprise cloud services.
Early generation server load balancers are tried and true solutions for improving the availability and scalability of an organization's application infrastructure. Nonetheless, enterprises that persist in using such products run the risk of exposing themselves and their customers to increasingly poor application performance and a seemingly endless stream of application layer security threats.
The solution:One option to overcome these shortcomings would be to implement multiple standalone devices that address each of the underlying issues. However, a much more efficient and effective approach is to replace old server load balancers with new Application Delivery Controllers. These tightly integrated physical and virtual appliances not only provide core load-balancing capabilities, but also deliver the highest levels of security and performance for today's business critical Web applications. Furthermore, the eight criteria detailed in this paper can be used to help ensure that enterprises select a solution that is truly best of breed
One of the biggest transitions taking place in IT today is the move from corporate-issued laptops to bring-your-own-device (BYOD) programs that let employees use their personal mobile devices. While BYOD offers many productivity and employee satisfaction benefits, it also presents significant challenges, perhaps the most significant of which is security. Enterprises that open their gates to personal devices and applications must find ways to protect the organization from unknown or "rogue" mobile devices connecting to the corporate network and gaining access to sensitive enterprise information, malware spread by mobile applications and websites that infect the enterprise network etc.
The solution:The solution for this is, for organizations to have a secured device at the datacentre which can differentiate between and analyse known and unknown devices based on security policies which allow devices to access applications more securely. Additionally, this device should be capable enough to allow any user to securely access their apps &data from any network on any device.
Optimizing application delivery
With businesses moving to mobile devices and employees accessing critical data from an array of applications and devices, a very important requirement is optimizing the delivery of the application. Mobile device usage is witnessing a boom and leading to inherent problems such as congestion of IP networks which further inhibits the processing ability of mobile devices. Additionally, as more and more mobile apps are getting developed, the problem of heavy applications and thin networks which are not capable of supporting them is arising. This calls for having an optimization mechanism at the gateway level.
The solution: One solution to optimize applications on mobile devices and overcome the issues caused by size and complexity of content is looking out for a networking provider who uses front-end optimization technologies. This enables faster execution by performing image optimization, reductive techniques, re-ordering of content and cache manipulation. Front end optimization can reduce many performance barriers by reducing the size and location content.
As you would have understood by now,it all boils down to optimizing IT operations and the user experience, which is the underlying goal of all the discussed trends as well. The changes discussed above might not be the only changes that need to be made, but they are definitely the foundations that should form the basis for the type of networking architecture an enterprise chooses to opt for.