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Driving Digital Transformation with Effective Application Delivery and Security

Written by Adrian Taylor, Vice President, A10 Networks

The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of digital resiliency in the modern era. With 37% of U.K. employees working from home, and a shift online for consumer activities from banking and retail and media, to entertainment and healthcare, ensuring application performance and application availability became a matter of survival for most companies. Whether people are working or going about their personal lives, they expect a high-quality user experience for the applications they use—every time, with no excuses—with cybersecurity they can count on to protect customer data and privacy. These demands have made the application delivery controller (ADC) one of the most important components of modern digital infrastructure.

At the same time, maintaining application performance and application availability for existing resources isn’t enough to guarantee survival. In today’s digital business environment, you have to stay agile and innovative to compete, grow, and thrive. In fact, even facing an uncertain economic outlook over the past year, a full 65% of businesses have or plan to invest in digital transformation spending during the pandemic. That puts DevOps front-and-centre in digital business strategy as companies seek simple, streamlined ways to develop, deploy, change, and manage applications. The results speak for themselves: companies that use DevOps achieve 46x more software deployments and 440x faster lead time for changes. Here again, the ADC has a critical role to play in enabling the full speed and agility DevOps makes possible.

Of course, simply deploying ADCs isn’t a solution in and of itself; meeting these requirements depends on having the right application delivery controller capabilities and deploying them in the right way. Here are a few things to consider, to ensure that your application delivery infrastructure is meeting the digital transformation needs of your business and customers.


Using ADCs to Ensure Application Performance, Application Availability, and Cybersecurity

Whether it’s customers or employees who are using your applications, the experience you provide has a direct effect on digital business performance. If customers become frustrated or are unable to use your applications or services effectively, they can take their cash—and their loyalty—to a competitor. Without reliable application performance and application availability, your workforce can grind to a halt, sending waves of disruption throughout your business. Gartner estimates the average cost of downtime is $5,600 per minute which equates to more than $300,000 an hour.

Your application delivery controller solution can help you maintain a high-quality user experience by enabling a unified approach to managing performance, troubleshooting problems, and optimising traffic across complex environments with holistic visibility into devices, applications, policies, users, and more across data centres and clouds. By gathering and analysing data from across your hybrid infrastructure, you can work proactively to detect anomalies sooner, diagnose problems more accurately, and resolve issues more quickly. Global server load balancing functionality can intelligently guide application traffic to the best available site for each user to ensure the best possible service.

Ensuring high availability, disaster recovery, and rapid failover across cloud providers is essential to keeping employees productive and customers satisfied. As part of its global web traffic management capability, your ADCs can assess the health and response time of each site in your environment, then make intelligent adjustments to application traffic to prevent a failed server from affecting users. Similarly, an ADC solution can help you use a public cloud as a backup for your on-premises data centre using global server load balancing to determine when and how to tap into that capacity, then reroute traffic accordingly.

While application performance and application availability are the foundation of user satisfaction and loyalty, a cybersecurity breach can destroy that trust in a flash. As ransomware attacks, DDoS, and other threats grow in sophistication, and enterprise environments become more distributed and dynamic, cybersecurity and compliance become critical challenges. Your ADC solution can provide a unified policy infrastructure across every platform you use, making it easier to provide the same, consistent protection for applications and services wherever they are deployed. By managing authentication consistently across cloud and on-premises platforms, you can support a Zero Trust security model while providing employees with the right level of access for their needs. Protective measures such as security analytics, DDoS protection, web application firewalls (WAF), authentication, modern SSL/TLS encryption standards, and threat intelligence enable a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity for defence in-depth.


Supporting DevOps—While Simplifying Management at Digital Speed

DevOps isn’t just a core methodology for digital transformation—it’s also a set of technical requirements. To enable development and operations teams to collaborate effectively across the software development lifecycle, you need to provide simple, streamlined ways to develop, deploy, change, and manage applications. A standard set of automation tools across platforms can help teams work efficiently, bring new staff up to speed more quickly, and ensure consistent best practices. Real-time continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) visualisation can help teams catch costly errors before applications enter production.

The rapid pace of digital transformation can increase both cost and management complexity. By providing a single point of management across your hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environment, with comprehensive visibility and analytics for actionable intelligence, your ADC solution can help your staff use resources more efficiently, make better decisions, avoid errors, and simplify operations.