Architectures and Solutions
Are Transparent Network-based Services Used in Application Development?
Today’s infrastructure architecture is becoming more sophisticated and regarded by many as one of the main pillars of information technology. The IT infrastructure consists of the foundational building blocks on which applications and business processes run, it provides generic services that can be used by multiple applications. The network is a key infrastructure element that provides such services called network-based services. In other circles they may also be called infrastructure and/or SOI services. Network-based services may be decomposed further to atomic or composite, in many cases it’s just a matter of taxonomy. For example; “application acceleration” is a composite service that may be comprised of “cache, compression, protocol optimization and content-based routing”, which may be further decomposed into very specific functions such as static or dynamic cache. Transparent network-based services require no direct interaction with an application but enable functionality for the application. Just because these services exist, doesn’t mean they’re going to be used. Consider not only the before mentioned acceleration services, but also security services such as; encryption, day 0 mitigation, intrusion detention and prevention, and anomaly detection. Think of communication services like multimedia bridging, session control, session records, and topology management. There are also virtualization services that do load balancing, VLAN, VPN, and VSAN. These examples just start to demonstrate the capabilities provided by the network.The challenge is while application developers may know these services exist, they still develop the same functionality into their applications because the governance is not in place nor is the communication (or dare I say collaboration) between the developers and network administrators. Looking at application acceleration- headers must be properly formed and the network made aware for the service to properly operate. Network-based services are becoming more sophisticated and as applications continue to be highly distributed, they will require a library of centralized and standardized services to ensure compatibility with each other. In the end a solid enterprise architecture practice is needed that documents a catalog of network-based services and a change in culture that brings together the application and infrastructure teams to best execute the IT strategy that delivers the business vision.