Applications run the business world today. Or do they? You may use – or even have developed – the greatest apps imaginable, but the capabilities of those apps represent just one part of a larger equation.
For true application delivery, you need to take three key factors into your consideration.
#1 Performance: The Heart of Application Delivery
Let’s go right to the heart of the matter. If your app is hindered in its performance, it’s not going to net the ROI you intended. Optimizing application performance involves looking at aspects such as availability, storage, bandwidth, processing speed, and input/output (I/O) and knowing what your business requires in each of these areas.
For example, a financial institution that is tracking banking transactions on a global scale needs to be particularly mindful that their applications are always up and running, and operating at top speed. If their applications are slowed or go down, even temporarily, the impact and cost could be colossal – up to $5,600/minute for downtime. To meet business Service Level Agreements of near-zero Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs), these mission-critical applications need to reside on infrastructures that have built-in redundancies across server, network, and storage layers.
In contrast, a manufacturing company that uses a Microsoft Exchange application for a non-critical business function does not require the same SLAs. While downtime for these applications is not preferable, the business can withstand a temporary disruption. The application itself doesn’t require the same high-powered bandwidth, throughput, and I/O speeds that the financial institution demands. SLAs in this case can be 12 or even 24 hours for RPOs and RTOs.
#2 Infrastructure: The Foundation of Application Delivery
Historically, data centers have been built up in silos. For instance, if you needed an ERP system, you would go and buy the storage, the network, the server, the hypervisor, etc. that would support that single application. The problem, of course, is that with a siloed environment, you are building in both inefficiencies and change management headaches. You will quickly end up with a lot of underutilized hardware and resources that can’t be leveraged for other uses, and you may find it challenging to keep your production and recovery environments in sync.
In such a siloed infrastructure, your applications may all run well individually, but your company on the whole is losing money and efficiency. So to achieve truly optimized application delivery, getting rid of silos is essential. Your pool of storage, networks, servers, etc. needs to be set up with flexibility built in to become a multitenant architecture where you can dynamically bring up resources, reallocate them, and utilize them across the entire environment.
Within a multitenant infrastructure, you can dedicate the right amount of bandwidth, I/O, storage, etc. to each application to ensure optimal performance. Nothing goes to waste. Additionally, you can bring up new applications in minutes (not months) because you can swiftly reallocate resources to provision new assets – without interfering with the performance of the other applications that you’re supporting.
#3 Access: The Guardian of Application Delivery
Finally, you need to look at the access controls you have around your applications – whether they are in development or in production.
Role-based access control (RBAC) is critical from both a security and a performance standpoint. Let’s say you have an ERP application. You want to make sure only the right people can access that application to make changes to it or to its environment. You need to be able to initiate a lockdown to prevent modifications from being made. You should have a monitoring system in place to see who accesses the application and environment, and what they did.
Likewise, if you have a new application in development, you want to be able to control who has access – whether that application resides in the cloud or in a physical data center. Allowing the wrong people access can impact your speed to market and your application’s overall effectiveness. You could even lose your intellectual capital if an unscrupulous employee elected to steal the code.
A Holistic Approach to Application Delivery
Performance, infrastructure, and access are essential considerations if your business is to achieve true application delivery. Optimizing each of these areas will ensure that your applications – whether used by employees, vendors, or customers – will deliver the ROI to support your business objectives.
Related Business Solution: Application Management