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Interop Data Center Chair Jim Metzler On Application Delivery

We caught up with Jim Metzler to discuss his plans for the Interop Application Delivery 2.0 track. Application delivery has always been important, but new demands are being made on IT to delivery applications to user where ever they are on what ever device they are using. Users are getting spoiled by ubiquitous bandwidth and more powerful computing devices like netbooks and PDA's. Getting the app to the user efficiently and securely is a challenge. Where that application resides such as a data center or cloud service certainly impacts IT's ability to deliver. These are some of the topics in the Interop Application Delivery 2.0 track.

NWC: WAN Application delivery is pretty well understood, so what else is there to talk about?

Metzler: Well, you're right, it's not as if anyone has pointed out the ten new problems with virtualization, that hasn't happened. I think one of the more interesting things relevant to application delivery is the emergence of virtualized application delivery appliances, and I have a session on that.

In the old days, we worried about remote users -- they aren't in headquarters, they are out in the branch offices, and I have my resources centralized in headquarters, so more people access these over the WAN, etc. That introduced delay and all kinds of issues. Public cloud means you have even more of those people accessing resources over the WAN, and that increases the need for optimization, if you will. Now, the more typical thing is not the branch office, but workers are out there moving around with a laptop or a smartphone, and while before they were maybe only sending e-mail from their phone, now they are running real business applications and even a small amount of packet loss can just kill throughput.

So, there are some new challenges such as delivering real applications to mobile users. There are new solutions for those problems, and virtualized appliances which are kind of interesting because you can at least, in theory, more easily move them to where you need them. It's the beginning of solving the problem of moving the VM around even though the rest of the system is physical and static. And, with CPUs getting more powerful, you see less often the need for dedicated devices to accomplish a majority of the tasks.

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