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The New Requirements for App Delivery – @DevOpsSummit Story [#DevOps]

The new world is an application world, and it's not just having them on the Internet that counts

Application delivery, as defined as its own little corner of the network industry, has been fairly focused on assuring the performance, security and availability of applications since its inception back around 2003. Oh, the ways in which those three core tenets have been supported by application delivery controllers has evolved during that time, but always the focus was on the goal of making apps fast, secure and available.

But that was then, and this is next. The new world is an application world, and it's not just having them on the Internet that counts. Applications - whether mobile or web, consumer or employee - are what enable and grow business today. The app is a requirement, a competitive differentiator, the keystone of an ecosystem around which businesses will rise and fall.

mcadam-alignAnd while it is certainly still the case that apps should be fast, secure and available, it's increasingly becoming true that they must also get to market faster, scale faster and more efficiently, and increase productivity. As our CEO John McAdam noted in his keynote at Agility 2014, IT and the business must work together to deliver applications while meeting - for perhaps the first time in years - objectives that are aligning. Which may mean being delivered on-premise or off, in a cloud or from a traditional data center. They may be native mobile or web apps and they might just be SaaS. The goal is lowering IT operational costs and increasing productivity all while improving time to market.

All this variety means "the network" must evolve. It must take the next step toward supporting apps everywhere that interact with users anywhere. And since a significant portion of "the network" lies at layers 4-7 in application services, that means app delivery must continue to evolve.

App delivery must support the opportunity inherent in the new application world by adapting and adopting the paradigms and precepts  behind cloud, devops, SDN, and evolving security models in order to meet the goals of fast, secure and available applications provisioned in minutes instead of months and with reduced operational costs.

new reqs for app delivery

As our EVP Manny Rivelo noted in his keynote, it's more than just changing features and functionality and adding services this time. This time it's changing the very foundations of how application delivery solutions are architected, managed, integrated and even ultimately where they reside. App delivery "next" has to address deployment of its services, moving from months to minutes, from manual to programmable. Its network infrastructure model must support multi-tenancy and move from hardware products to software-defined platforms. Its basic availability and operating modes must change from HA pairs and overprovisioning to elasticity and enabling hybrid cloud deployments. And it must decouple from the network access and app protection, moving away from IP to ID-based security models.

The new app delivery requirements must do more than just deliver apps. It must enable the application world in which "application" is synonymous with "opportunity."

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.