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What are the benefits of ADCs with per-application functionality?

DevOps development has driven the need for application delivery controllers to adapt. The result is per-application functionality, which enables customization for each application.

The wealth of new cloud-based and microservices development tools has enabled the rapid deployment of new DevOps-style applications. These applications reside on a multitude of platforms -- public and private clouds -- and can change rapidly. Suppliers now offer application delivery controller functions that can be scripted and customized to specific network, security and performance requirements on a per-application basis.

Application delivery controllers (ADCs) provide the intelligence to securely manage and route data center traffic. ADCs are traditionally deployed in the data center, positioned between the firewall and the application servers.

ADCs employ a number of techniques to optimize application performance, including traffic identification, data compression and reverse proxy caching. ADCs also offer Secure Sockets Layer encryption and protection against distributed denial-of-service attacks.

Popularity of cloud and DevOps

The typical IT environment has applications hosted in a variety of environments, including internal data centers, like private clouds; IaaS platforms, like public clouds; and a number of SaaS portals. Regardless of the application's location, IT leaders must deliver reliable application performance to internal employees and customers.

The traditional, hardware-based ADC appliance must evolve to support the new multi-cloud, DevOps-based IT environment.

Many leading organizations now use DevOps-style application development teams to rapidly deploy new applications and services for internal and external users -- in e-commerce, for example. DevOps teams often rely on container-based microservices that run both internally and on public cloud platforms. These services require new networking and security capabilities, as microservices applications change often and frequently migrate to new physical locations or hosts.

Benefits of per-application ADCs

The traditional, hardware-based ADC appliance must evolve to support the new multi-cloud, DevOps-based IT environment. ADC suppliers now offer more flexible, distributed software-based ADC options. These application delivery controllers can now be uniquely deployed for each cloud platform and customized for each business-critical application.

Application delivery controller
An ADC usually sits between a firewall and the servers.

Per-application ADCs can provide the distinct capacity and functionality that specific application environments require. The capacity and functionality can be adjusted to meet changing application demands -- like increasing or reducing capacity or improved security, for example.

For the deployment of ADC functionality on a per-application basis, automation and orchestration tools are critical resources for IT administrators. With centralized orchestration, each application environment can be customized for optimal efficiency. Potential per-application ADC suppliers include Avi Networks, Citrix, Kemp Technologies and Nginx, among others.

Next Steps

Compare some of the top application delivery controller providers

This was last published in March 2019

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