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Enhancing Cloud Server Deployments

Application delivery solutions enhance cloud infrastructure with virtual and physical server deployments

Whether you are a service provider or enterprise, cloud computing environments need applications to run reliably, and must be delivered to users quickly in order to receive the benefits of reduced complexity and true dynamic provisioning of server resources. The ability to fully take advantage of both physical and virtual server infrastructure can also enable IT organizations to reduce capital expenses and lower operating costs. The advantages of cloud computing when coupled with applications that are delivered fast, secure and reliable will only be realized with the deployment of Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs) that optimize and accelerate applications to remote users.

Cloud computing environments can be highly complex datacenters that deal with high-traffic demands and need to handle application delivery efficiently. They require specialized tools designed to provide high-performance and high-intelligence for delivering applications to remote and mobile users. ADCs provide cloud-based datacenters with the flexibility to automatically scale server resources based on real-time traffic demands, while providing the application acceleration, high-availability and security they require.

ADCs Bring Application Availability and Acceleration to Cloud Computing
ADCs are designed for available, fast, intelligent and scalable acceleration for demanding applications and traffic aggregation necessary for cloud computing. Maintaining high levels of performance with multiple, concurrent features enabled, advanced ADCs are capable of delivering multiple gigabyte traffic aggregation, supporting millions of TCP connections at Layer 4, processing thousands of Layer 7 requests, and offloading hundreds of thousands of SSL transactions from servers.

ADCs help overcome server bottlenecks and network congestion. Offloading servers allows cloud operators to enable their servers to handle more traffic, while squeezing more traffic into WAN links provides the most effective use of the available bandwidth. Service providers and enterprises are able to support a greater number of users and deliver more applications, without having to add unnecessary servers and bandwidth. ADCs speed datacenter server responses and optimize WAN traffic from the datacenter to remote users accessing enterprise and ecommerce applications. Advanced ADCs are able to maintain high performance with multiple, simultaneous features enabled, and provide the network and datacenter resiliency needed by utilizing a combination of the following: layers 2-7 server and network device load balancing, global link load balancing and failover, SSL offload and acceleration, layers 4-7 application firewall security, content routing, dynamic routing, QoS/traffic shaping, TCP and application acceleration, dynamic compression and caching technologies.

Disaster Recovery for Cloud Deployments
When applications are delivered over the Internet, it's not uncommon for the network link to have an outage. In addition to networks that may be overloaded, and therefore, slow, other events can cause them to fail altogether, such as hardware failure, human error and natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.

ADCs with link load balancing and failover capabilities deliver one of the most important technologies in solving the problem of reliability for cloud connectivity by directing traffic to the best performing network links. Should one link become inaccessible due to a bottleneck or outage, the ADC will take that link out of service, and automatically direct network traffic to other functioning links. This process is virtually seamless to the user.

An ADC with link load balancing manages network traffic going to and from a datacenter over the Internet, and maximizes ROI for connectivity by aggregating low cost links. Two or more Internet connections (i.e., T1, cable, DSL, wireless, satellite, etc.) connect into the ADC that is continually health checking the links to make sure they are running, and performing properly. If a problem occurs, for example, the cable connection goes down, or the T1 connection is slow, the ADC will failover or load balance traffic to the other working links.

Global Server Load Balancing for Distributed Cloud Sites
Cloud operators need fast, reliable and secure access to business-critical applications. Having application infrastructure at a single geographic location can be problematic, as this limits availability and capacity for application and server resources, slows the performance of servers, and congests all traffic into a single network connection. Cloud-based datacenter availability challenges are impacted by natural disasters such as earthquakes, hurricanes, power outages, human error and equipment failure. Cloud deployments with multiple datacenters across different geographies can protect against regional disasters. Advanced ADCs with global load balancing transparently redirect users away from failed sites by continuously monitoring site and server health.

ADC global server load-balancing services load balance distributed applications and traffic between geographic datacenter locations based on the proximity and the language of the user, site capacity, and load and response time. An ADC can ensure application availability and performance on a global basis, and enable site level redundancy and rapid transparent failover in the case of a datacenter disaster for always-on delivery

Using advanced ADCs, both private and public cloud operators can integrate link and global load balancing with failover services into their cloud operations to ensure cloud resiliency. Adding application acceleration and optimized network utilization, cloud operators can offer "application acceleration as a service" to their customers.

ADCs Enable Virtual Cloud Datacenters
A cloud datacenter may have a mix of older and newer systems, including applications, servers, databases, networking equipment, etc. Because businesses are not static operations, they must be able to adapt to changing business needs, while remaining frugal. IT personnel responsible for datacenter operations must have technology that enables them to be adaptable and have the flexibility to leverage all of their resources, yet, have the ability to protect those resources and associated complexity from outside users and customers. ADCs are a great solution for IT personnel to manage where and how user traffic gets routed to their applications for business agility and maximizing application software, hardware and support investments.  IT personnel gain flexible control to leverage their server and database resources in order to ensure the applications are always available, and users get fast responses.

VIP Technology
Advanced ADCs will support multiple Virtual IP Addresses (VIPs), each running in isolation on the same physical hardware. Each of these ADC instances is capable of supporting any and all of ADC's application acceleration features. Each VIP provides a single public IP address that an ADC uses to route users to various servers based on flexible content routing policies. This provides IT personnel with the capability to mix and match server resources based on CPU, memory, traffic load, application type, user type, etc.

Datacenter Benefits
Cloud datacenter managers can easily administer traffic flow without having to make application changes to support business and technical needs. Routing users to multiple servers eliminates a single point of failure, and enables flexible server deployment based on real traffic demands, while keeping the server infrastructure transparent to the users. Advanced ADCs with multiple VIP capability enables highly scalable datacenter infrastructure that transparently routes users to many real IP addresses assigned to actual servers that only the ADC knows about. If one server fails, the ADC will stop sending traffic to that server, with the users unaware of any problem. This also makes it easy to add servers and take servers offline for maintenance.

Summary
For service providers and enterprises, cloud computing can deliver significant CAPEX and OPEX savings and flexible deployment capabilities. However, it is essential that the applications are delivered fast and reliably to users, in order to fully receive the benefits of cost savings, reduced complexity and dynamic provisioning of server resources.

Application Delivery Controllers have become a critical technology in helping IT organizations achieve the control they need to ensure their data center delivers on the promise of cloud computing.

More Stories By Sunil Cherian

Sunil Cherian is the VP of Product Marketing at Array Networks. He has over 15 years experience in networking, and has served in various technical and marketing capacities for Alteon WebSystems, Lucent, Octel and VMX. Mr. Cherian holds a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science and Engineering from College of Engineering, Thiruvananthapuram, India, and a Masters in Computer Science from the State University of New York, Albany, NY.

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