5 Benefits of Automation of the Application Delivery Lifecycle

Challenges Facing IT Managers

Businesses are constantly seeking to fine-tune their IT practices to enhance operational efficiencies and minimize overall costs. The operational processes of existing data center environments pose several challenges. These include an increasing number of devices and solutions in the data center across multiple geographical locations, complex solutions composed of several technologies with cross-dependent configurations, and solutions that integrate with one another.

The virtualization of the data center introduces an additional layer of complexity in managing and maintaining appliances and applications. The application is hosted in an environment that encompasses multiple form factors, such as physical standalone appliances, modular chassis-based solutions with integrated modules, and software-based virtual appliances. The flexibility and ease of deploying virtual versions of applications brings forth the challenge of managing and maintaining your application instance inventory.

Furthermore, more solutions and technologies are continuously being added to the application delivery infrastructure. Tools are available to expedite web content, provide application-level security, and perform high-speed encryption/decryption. Business policies need to be centrally defined and applied consistently across all policies through the solutions. Data center operators must manage, synchronize, and maintain configurations and policies across multiple devices, even as these devices are added or removed in the newly created virtualized environment.

While the hardware and software have been virtualized, the most important element within the IT environment – humans have not. The IT professionals are racing to catch up to support the capabilities of the virtual infrastructures. And one of the biggest challenges faced by the tech industry is the lack of skilled talent needed to meet the IT department’s demand. According to one Gartner study, 64% of IT executives say the tech talent shortage is the barrier keeping them from adopting emerging technologies.

Manually manipulating the virtual networks with manual processes is not efficient. Organizations lose much of the benefits of these virtualized application delivery architectures when human-driven manual processes are still used to support them.

How this affects Application Delivery Lifecycle Management

The challenges of management and maintenance are particularly relevant to L4-L7 services, which include application delivery controllers (ADC). Automation becomes a critical requirement for such services to simplify and streamline the operational control of these services. When a new application is deployed, it becomes necessary to onboard multiple ADCs in multiple data centers as quickly and reliably as possible. Configuring ADCs manually can be time-consuming, error-prone, and inconsistent. Manual configuration can lead to misconfigurations, downtime, security breaches and poor user experience. Moreover, manual configuration can limit the scalability and agility of the network, as it requires human intervention for every change or update.

That is why automating ADC configuration is a smart move. Automation can reduce the complexity, cost, and risk of managing ADCs, enable faster deployment, consistent policies, improved performance, and enhanced security.

Complex and advanced services can be managed by the operational team without the expensive and extensive training necessary to make them application delivery and security experts. The operations team only needs to understand which tool to execute for a service to be enabled and updated. This eliminates the need for the operations team to escalate configuration and management questions to the subject matter experts (SME) and architects. Reducing the number of escalations and total time spent improves the operational efficiency of the IT organization.

5 Benefits of Application Delivery Lifecycle Automation

Automating the provisioning and management of Application Delivery Controllers provides the following benefits:

Improved quality and reliability: Automation can eliminate human errors and ensure that all instances of ADC are configured and managed consistently and according to best practices across different environments. This improves the quality and reliability of the applications and services. Automation can also enable automated testing and verification, which can detect and prevent defects and bugs before they reach production.

Faster time-to-market: By eliminating the need for manual steps and human coordination, automation speeds up the delivery of software updates and new applications and services to the end-users. Automation can also enable continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), which are practices that aim to deliver software changes in small and frequent increments.

Reduced costs and risks: By automating the tasks that would otherwise require manual intervention, such as provisioning, configuration, monitoring, backup, and recovery, the operational costs and resource consumption associated with application delivery are reduced. Automation can also reduce the risks of downtime, security breaches, and data loss that can result from manual errors or failures. Additionally, automation allows for optimal utilization of resources and power consumption, which lowers the capital and operational expenses.

Innovation acceleration: By freeing up time and resources from repetitive and mundane tasks, automation allows IT teams to focus on more strategic and innovative initiatives that can add value to the business. Automation also enables faster adoption of new technologies and features that can enhance the performance and functionality of the applications and services.

Enhanced scalability and performance: Automation can enable dynamic provisioning and scaling of resources according to the demand and load of the applications. Automation can also optimize the performance and availability of the applications by using load balancing, caching, and failover mechanisms.

In conclusion, automation for Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) can bring significant benefits to organizations that need to optimize their network performance, security and scalability. Automation can reduce human errors, save time and resources, and enable faster and more consistent deployments. By using automation tools and best practices, ADC administrators can improve their productivity, efficiency, and reliability, and deliver better services to their customers and end-users.

Stay tuned for our next blog, where we will explore how Radware’s Alteon automation tools can help you achieve these benefits.

Isabela Korner

Isabela Korner, a 30-year veteran of the high-tech industry, serves as a senior product manager in Radware's Application Delivery group. Isabela, who has a rich background in R&D (research & development) and product development in the computer networking market, holds an M.Sc. degree in computer engineering and an MBA. In her current role, she collaborates closely with cross-functional teams to introduce state-of-the-art application delivery capabilities to the market.

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