Choosing the right applications can make the difference between increased margin or missed goals, increased efficiency or poor productivity. But the right applications alone are not enough.
To derive maximum business value, these applications need to be highly responsive, accessible and easily available. Each application may be deployed across different sites and servers with different internal and external users and each one may have different technical demands, complexities and levels of priority; but all are subject to having the right connectivity within an organisation’s IT ecosystem.
Why the network matters in optimising your applications
The deployment of new applications on legacy systems can be a daunting and slow process. If employees and customers can’t get a decent connection to the applications they need, or the application itself can’t connect to the other resources it needs, productivity and profitability can suffer.
With more applications being developed and deployed all the time, the management of frequent updates, upgrades and security patches can become a never-ending challenge. According to a recent CIO survey commissioned by Brocade, almost two thirds of CIOs rate providing fast deployment of new applications as an ‘extreme’ or ‘significant’ concern, while 65 per cent say the same about delivering fast access to applications from multiple devices.
The IT department’s ability to keep priority software platforms (such as ERP, CRM, finance or accounting) available and responsive, directly impacts the enterprise. At the same time, business units are increasingly taking matters into their own hands by accessing applications via cloud platforms. While this approach is cost effective, it only temporarily masks the real problem – the complexity, low bandwidth and rigidity of the owned infrastructure.
Why agility and automation matter
No application is an island. To provide the services, processes or information they are designed to deliver, the network must provide the bandwidth and availability needed.
Unfortunately, providing this level of support can become an arduous task. The inherent complexity of legacy networks, combined with the complexity of the enterprise’s IT eco-system often makes it a manual, resource intensive and error-prone process.
Agility and automation within the network can create the optimised, application centric, application aware environment required. It also ensures adaptability and scalability as enterprise needs change. Applications can be deployed and prioritised quickly based on business needs. However, getting the right combination of hardware, virtualised assets and software is the key.
Optimise your network for applications today
To support the business’s application needs, you need to be free to manage your network, not your network’s problems. To give your organisation the innovative, user centric and software-defined infrastructure it needs, you need to reconsider your entire network – from storage through to the data centre and out to your LAN and WAN requirements. For example, fabric network solutions provide a transitional approach while optimising your current network and facilitating traffic flows. With in-built intelligence, fabrics address complexity, cost considerations and ensure always-on accessibility. Application connectivity is delivered at all times and tasks such as deploying updates across a system are simplified.
Fabrics are also the ideal foundation for Network Function Virtualization (NFV) and Software-Defined Networking (SDN). SDN makes management of the network simple, giving you the power to control and adapt your network so it remains optimised to application needs at any given time. NFV solutions enable network capabilities and flows to adapt in line with application needs in near to real-time, without re-provisioning devices or cabling, or deploying additional physical devices. Security, sharing, and prioritisation of activities can be determined by activity or project to improve the efficiency and speed of data transfer. Demand can be balanced across the network as determined by application requirements at a given point in time.
In short, the network is more adaptive, agile and responsive to changing demands.
Relatively small changes can help you take a significant transitional step towards optimising your network for applications. It is also the first step towards an application-centric and aware infrastructure.
Virtualised functions and a software-enabled system are central components in this ‘new IP’ network. They are part of the transitional technologies that come together to deliver an infrastructure that is agile, affordable, and automated. By being able to put the application at the centre of your ecosystem, you are in a far stronger position to help the business meet its objectives.