With digital transformation, many organizations had begun modernizing their application delivery solution to support effective cloud migrations and hybrid cloud initiatives. However, the pandemic has shone a light on digital resiliency, and the need for modernization to meet these requirements. Recent events have underscored both the strategic importance and the resulting value of these efforts—not just as ad hoc band-aids, but as a new direction for the long term. As IDC noted:
“IDC believes that digital resiliency – the ability for an organization to rapidly adapt to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities to not only restore business operations but also capitalize on the changed conditions – must be a key objective in every organization’s digital transformation (DX) efforts.”
The application delivery controller (ADC) has been hailed for its critical role in helping organizations digitally transform and aiding continued business operations, whether on-premises or for remote workers as they adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic. As work-from-home policies became critical for business continuity and productivity, the application delivery controller helped organizations support employees dispersed across locations and networks while maintaining cyber security to protect critical applications and data. Intelligent traffic management and global server load balancing capabilities made it possible to ensure quality of service as organizations accommodated rapidly shifting workloads across hybrid cloud environments.
But beyond this short-term impact, a broader, more enduring change can be seen as well. A recent IDC report, “Digital Resiliency and Hybrid Cloud Drive Need for Modern Application Delivery,” explores this transformation in depth. In the firm’s research, 32 percent of organizations cited integrated network and cyber security management as a permanent NetOps change made during the pandemic. Almost 30 percent cited improved support for remote/work-from-home employees.
Brad Casemore, research vice president, datacenter and multicloud networking at IDC, comments that “Modernized application delivery infrastructure is essential to hybrid cloud success,” and recommends that “Organizations need to ensure that their application delivery infrastructure can support cloud-centric requirements.”
As organizations pursue hybrid cloud to bolster digital resiliency, they are finding that foundational infrastructure can make or break the realization of their plans. Occasionally overlooked, but essential to success, is application delivery infrastructure, which invariably must be reassessed and modernized to support effective cloud migrations and hybridcloud initiatives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and accelerated reliance on applications and digital services by employees and customers alike. As broad areas of life have moved online, business resiliency has depended on the ability to provide an engaging user experience while ensuring availability and cyber security wherever and however services are accessed. Hybrid cloud has helped businesses meet this need by distributing applications across on-premises and cloud environments to allow a more agile response to changing demand.
While the pandemic heightened the need for hybrid cloud to ensure business resilience, the adoption of mixed infrastructure combining on-premises and public cloud resources has already become commonplace for a variety of reasons. By making more flexible use of these environments, organizations can improve business agility, deliver a better digital experience, reduce costs, and adapt application delivery to best meet business and customer needs—if done correctly, with a modern approach, beyond legacy load balancing.
An effective hybrid cloud strategy must meet several criteria. In leveraging the cloud, companies need to ensure that they can maintain the levels of availability and performance needed to provide engaging, high-quality experiences for customers and employees. At the same time, a more diverse and distributed infrastructure makes cyber security a critical priority to avoid damaging and disruptive breaches. Hybrid cloud infrastructure and operations can also bring rising cost and complexity. In fact, IDC predicts that 80 percent of enterprises will focus on overhauling infrastructure costs and reducing operational complexity by 2024.
These requirements have important implications for the application delivery controller (ADC). In IDC’s words, “A comprehensive and orchestrated approach to cloud-centric, consistent, and secure application delivery infrastructure should be strongly considered by any organization pursuing hybrid IT in connection with digital transformation.”