How to Build High-Performance Data Centers for Optimized App Delivery

One key challenge for IT is ensuring their data centers deliver critical applications with high performance to users 24/7, in a secure and optimized way. An intelligent application delivery controller that optimizes the application infrastructure in the data center is now a necessity in the enterprise. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Sunil Cherian explains why IT should consider deploying integrated, secure and cost-effective application delivery controllers to ensure the availability, acceleration and security of applications.

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A typical enterprise has a mix of Microsoft applications, enterprise applications, multimedia applications and cloud computing applications. Whether it is a large enterprise or a small and midsize business, this inflated application infrastructure in the data center introduces challenges related to application availability, application performance, application and server traffic management, bandwidth utilization, network security, and energy and cooling costs. Collectively, these challenges define common application delivery problems.

Organizations are increasingly dependent on Web-enabled CRM, ERP applications and Microsoft applications for performing day-to-day, business-critical operations. Recent adoption and usage of Web 2.0 applications-content management systems (CMSes), wikis, blogs and other online collaboration tools-are taking the enterprise productivity to the next level. Businesses can extend services to subsidiaries and partners across the world thanks to the advent of service-oriented architecture (SOA)-based application architectures.

However, popularity of applications also means increased traffic on the network, more application transactions, and high response times. Heavy dependence on application infrastructure means IT must ensure availability and acceleration of all data center applications to provide the best user experience possible. Furthermore, IT should implement best practice security measures for networks, servers and applications to ensure security, privacy and compliance. Implementing these best practices with reduced costs for power, cooling, bandwidth, and software and hardware licensing optimizes data center resources and improves ROI.

To architect an optimized application delivery infrastructure, consider the following seven points:

Point No. 1: 24/7 application access

IT must prepare for preventing both planned and unplanned downtimes, as many applications and services have software links with multiple critical servers-and SOA environments contain composite applications that use several business components. In particular, unplanned downtimes are costly in terms of revenue and reputation.

Data centers should utilize application delivery controllers (ADCs) with intelligent server load balancing to distribute the load among servers based on health of servers (CPU, connection load, uptime, and application limits) and prevent overloading any single server. Server load balancing offers high availability and delivers 99.999 percent ("five nines") uptimes for applications.

Planned downtimes are more common when IT is rolling out enterprise updates, performing routine maintenance or deploying new applications. The ability to automatically bring standby servers online and redirect users to alternate sites or servers during planned downtimes ensures high availability of applications.