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How is application management changing the role of networking pros?

How is application management changing the role of networking pros?

How is application management changing the role of networking pros? Do network admins and managers now need to be application experts as well?
Traditional networks infrastructure has focused on connectivity versus Quality of Service (QoS) for the applications. When I say QoS, I am not just referring to QoS, but also to the end-user experience in relationship to the network and the applications being distributed across the network. The end-user experience is more than just having connectivity; it's also ensuring performance and availability of the application itself over the network infrastructure. The problem is that tradition network infrastructure was not designed to adapt and overcome the inherent challenges in successfully delivering applications.

The challenge for network administrators are that the applications are often written and implemented by application teams whose focus is business logic and functionality versus the network infrastructure. For example, the application teams will often overlook how an application will behave when it's being hosted in Seattle and customers are trying to access it from Hong Kong or New York. Too often, this is left to the network administrator to ensure performance without the necessary tools or infrastructure to deliver the appropriate end-user experience. Many enterprises are now running hundreds of applications so it's not practical for the IT administrator to become application experts. Conversely, trying to modify or adapt the application itself to account for the network and the various types of users and user devices is expensive and impractical.

The real answer is to add a layer of intelligence to the network that can effectively bridge this divide and provide the IT administrators with the tools that allow them to meet the application security, performance, and availability requirements of the organization in the most operationally efficient manner possible. That's what F5 does and it's a strategy we've been executing on for over 5 years now. F5 is all about making applications secure, fast, and available, accomplishing the objectives that traditional networks just can't deliver in the most operationally efficient manner possible.

This was last published in March 2006

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