Introducing the concept of an Application Delivery Controller

Every IT professional knows that all the work they do is focussed on keeping  business applications running well, such that users are able to perform business work flows.  If revenue generating applications malfunction, the enterprise loses customers to their competition.  How many times have you gone on to purchase an item from a different vendor, because the initial vendor’s web based ordering site was responding too slowly?  Backend applications must also work well in order for the enterprise to be competitive. So, in the new brave world of IT is all about ‘application delivery’.

In order to keep applications running smoothly, IT teams use various tools to perform several important functions.  These include use of network services that help to secure applications and optimize their performance, as well as monitoring systems which help with proactive alerts or reactive debugging activity.  Examples of some of the popular network services related to security are ‘firewall’, ‘web application firewall’, ‘intrusion detection and prevention system’, ‘encryption and decryption system’ etc.  For performance optimization, the well known examples are ‘load balancer’, ‘web cache’, ‘compression’ etc.  Examples of emerging services that help secure, optimize and visualize application include use of deep packet inspection across multiple packets to mitigate data leakage, defend against application semantic based attacks, offer quality of service based on application communication characteristics etc.

An application delivery controller is a system that can host many of the services required by an application.  This system can be implemented as software that runs on any general purpose hardware, or as a device specially built to run the services software.

In the posts that follow, I will discuss several aspects of ‘application delivery controllers (adc) ‘ including the ever changing definition that the vendor community imposes.  I will define an ‘adc’ from the user or the customer’s point of view.  My hope is that the discussion that follows will clarify the concept of an ADC, allow user community to state what services they would like to see implemented, and charge the vendor community to deliver relevant and appropriate features.

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2 Comments on “Introducing the concept of an Application Delivery Controller”

  1. Fellow ADC'er Says:

    Great start. Looking forward to following this discussion.

  2. R. Paul Singh Says:

    Good start for an important topic to the industry. We look forward to more detailed discussion in the future.

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