As I think about application delivery services in the network, I wonder if they’re really needed with the increased speeds networks themselves provide today. Does squeezing out a bit more throughput through cache, compression, content distribution, content-based routing, protocol optimization and XML processing really matter when users are seeing fiber to the house? The answer must be yes, or else there wouldn’t be a market for these services. I realize now that the primary need comes from the divide between developers and network administrators. When an application doesn’t perform as expected the developers say the network needs to provide more bandwidth and the network people say the application code isn’t optimized for running over the network. It’s always been both sides blaming the other and the people affected are the users of the application who are subjugated to a lower quality of experience.Then I realized that while users have expectations of experience, so do developers. Developers are under tight deadlines as companies look to be more agile and more distributed in a global economy. Basic features that would optimize code receive lower priority. The assumption is these requirements will be handled elsewhere. The “elsewhere” could be the web server or web client, most have caching built into them, but the network is best positioned to support and provide these services to developers, if they will plan accordingly and work with the network team. There’s a convergence of applications and the network. The architects must specify configuration parameters that indicate to developers and provisioners when these services are activated. They may also specify best-practice formatting conventions that have to be observed. This will ensure the application delivery services are available in the network and are being used reducing the time to development and improving the quality of experience.