New application delivery platforms are making it easier to centralize enterprise operations by improving throughput and availability over existing networks that are increasingly being called on to deliver all manner of voice, video and data services.
While Web hosting companies are certainly at the front of the line when it comes to sending applications out over the Web, individual enterprises have a lot to gain by making data center resources available to distant employees.
Among the newest systems on the market is F5's Viprion Application Delivery Controller (ADC). The company designed the system on a blade chassis so it can be seamlessly integrated into existing infrastructures and then easily scaled upwards without reconfiguring management software. The device offers 36G of L7 throughput, allowing it to top out at 200,000 SSL transactions per second. The company also has a new white paper describing its approach to a service-oriented ADC here.
Cisco is jumping into application delivery for the SMB market with the new Application Control Engine (ACE) 4710 appliance. The system supports throughput up to 2 Gbps over 50 virtual devices. The company also has a new software package aimed at wide area application services for mobile users.
Israel's Radware is looking to tap into the growing demand for integrated voice and data applications with the SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) Director, which the company bills as the first "SIP-aware" application delivery controller. Based on the company's AppDirector system, SIP director provides SIP-based applications through common transports like TCP, UDP and TLS. It also provides network health monitoring, fail-over and disaster recovery tools.
And Windows Server users shouldn't overlook the latest agreement with Citrix, which is lending support for its Presentation Server application delivery system to both Server 2008 and the Hyper-V platform. Among some of the benefits you're likely to see are real-time virtual machine streaming and interoperability between the '08 Server and the XenServer platform. The goal is to leverage multiple operating environments to suit various workloads and business requirements.
The ultimate goal of application delivery is to consolidate operations into centralized databases so applications can be sent to users throughout the network, much like a cable headend serves customers with on-demand video. But operational efficiencies and productivity benefits can only come if application availability is at the same level of today's distributed environments. The vendors claim that the newest systems meet those requirements, but it's up to you to make them prove it.