Application delivery controllers (ADCs) make managing the thousands of applications typically running in the enterprise much easier. The popularity of ADCs is growing significantly, as evident by the fact that ADC as-a-service (ADCaaS) is projected to grow at 43.7 percent by 2022, according to a 2018 Million Insights study.
That’s understandable because ADCs offer plenty of benefits, including better performance an improved user experience, and application flexibility. ADCs also help avoid the downtime. Enterprises understandably want to avoid the huge costs of an application outage, and ADCs help them do that. But IT teams face a few hurdles when managing ADCs.
Here are five of the biggest hurdles I regularly hear about from companies and the ways that automating load balancing can clear them.
Hurdle #1 – The update “ripple effect”
While application updates can be positive, especially for some individual applications, too frequent updates negatively impact stability and can send a ripple effect throughout the infrastructure. That’s because ADCs typically involve multiple applications, and the tasks associated with ADC can cause outages.
System stability suffers as a result. Merely locating the correct archives can prove problematic when managing ADC manually.
Automated benefit: Automation lets IT restore a file from the most recent backup. Configuration data is kept in a central location and is easy to access.
Hurdle #2 – Never-ending change requests
Change orders are a natural part of doing business as project priorities, timelines and resources commonly shift. When change requests occur−whether for basic updates to hardware or major changes to infrastructure–the potential effect of applications on business operations should be considered. Namely, potential outages.
Manual ADC management is often the culprit, leading to delays and unsatisfied service requests. Time-pressed IT teams struggle to manually manage the complexity and the sheer volume of change requests. I’ve known companies that spent up to 45 days making updates for one request because of these issues.
Automated benefit: Making changes is faster. After automating the process, that organization that spent up to 45 days making updates now makes similar changes in seconds.
Hurdle #3 – Lack of visibility into applications
Visibility is critical when outages occur. You need the ability to easily check the status of applications to fix any problems. The sooner, the better, because when applications are down, that’s wasted expense and time you can’t get back.
ADC infrastructure complexity makes that tougher. Most organizations lack that desired total visibility because they don’t have the resources for manual examination of configurations, though many would consider that comprehensive visibility an arbiter of ADC management success.
Automated benefit: Automation leads to total visibility into applications, along with reports and alerts. In the event of an outage, IT can see which service may be causing it.
Hurdle #4 – Stalled resolution to issues
IT has no say over how many requests they receive, and the team’s duties range from new application deployments to configuration changes. With massive numbers of requests come long wait times and potential mistakes.
Sometimes, multiple teams may be involved with responding to the same request. Without collaboration, request responses stretch even further.
Automated benefit: Better collaboration – typically through role-based access – increases the speed at which problems are resolved.
Hurdle #5 – Outdated configurations
Maintaining current configurations is always the aim and an important one since ADC configurations form the basis of successful application management. But when IT has a choice between migrating an application to the cloud or updating configurations, the configuration work often gets pushed aside.
Simply eliminating the configurations poses concerns if IT doesn’t have time to first study the possible results. So, configuration upon configuration adds up, requiring valuable resources when there’s a migration.
Automation Benefit: IT can build templates for common configurations, automating deployments and freeing up IT team members’ time.
Like any technology, ADCs solve problems while raising new challenges. Running multiple applications has been vastly improved with ADCs. Managing ADCs effectively can eliminate a lot of headaches, including those they create. Automation is one possible avenue toward doing that.