Now, that we have ventured off into my three-part series called, What in the World of Applications, we have discussed the evolution of applications, the role of application security in our society, and the emergence of Cloud Native technologies.

In this next edition, we want to continue building on top of this foundation and introduce a real-world application networking example that illustrates how we benefit from application networking. This will further help you understand why it is critical to adopt Cloud Native technologies from your business’ point of view.

Application Networking at its Core

As we dive into application networking further, it is critical to fundamentally understand that businesses rely on applications.  Modern applications are on a steep rise. Increasingly, the application experience is the new customer experience for most businesses. Faster innovation velocity is needed to deliver on constantly changing customer requirements. This is exactly where the cloud native approach comes to play – as it helps businesses discover, secure, connect, and manage different functional services, which eventually results in a full application experience for the user.

According to Gartner®, “In 2021, organizations will continue to experience an IT renaissance, with technologies like 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML), blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), edge and continued cloud innovation forever changing the technology landscape.” (Gartner®, 2021 Planning Guide for Cloud and Edge Computing, 2021. GARTNER® is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner®, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved). In addition, organizations that rapidly adopt AI/ML technologies will be running on top of more services on mesh networks.

The adoption of these cloud innovations has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Island of Things Powering Networks – Application Networking Made Real

Hey Siri, “Use WAZE to navigate to Cisco’s San Jose headquarters campus.” How often have we used these phrases to get us to our destinations? It is no surprise that we resort to a community driven map applications like WAZE, which provides us with real time data such as upcoming traffic, accidents, optimal travel routes, potholes and additional application integrations with music and voice assistant features.

This is a prime example of how different composable services like AI, data, real time inputs from drivers, analytics, traffic, etc. come together to formulate a full application experience. Application like Waze helps deliver the true benefits of saving time with each ride, avoid unwanted delays, enable crowdsource of data from various source, and contribute to a digital mapping society that is much more informed. This is no different than what most enterprises are trying to achieve with the power of application networking. They want to maximize the benefits of applications in such a way that improve its customers time, money, and customer experience.

The Holy Grail of the Digital Age

But this brings significant challenges in the application networking space as well. IT operations and application development team is thriving hard for improving resource utilization & shortening software development cycles. If you look more closely, you will notice that resource efficiency is an important KPI for operations teams, but faster development obviously helps application developers.

So, overall delivering new software features more quickly, while controlling IT spending, is the holy grail of the digital age and of concern for developers and business decision makers. With this the need for moving monolithic applications into microservices and further to choosing a microservices orchestration platform that can run both on-premise and on cloud has become the de-facto standard.

However, it comes with significant networking and security challenges for application teams. Moving applications to the cloud at the same time maintaining security and data privacy regulations makes it hard for application owners to rewrite everything from scratch. And you can imagine, with more and more drivers adopting Waze app, means more linear scalability of their application and the whole eco-system need to communicate with each other while maintaining security first posture.

We at Cisco are investing heavily in Application Networking, as that’s the new frontier for ensuring businesses can move at speed and provide the best customer experience through their application. Our initial focus is around the following:

  • Discovering and connecting different mesh of services
  • Securing API’s that connect various services, while ensuring compliance and integrating with existing development tools

Now that Waze has helped me reach my next destination in the safest and most efficient manner, I have more time to help my customers think of the next moonshot or cutting-edge idea. If you are interested in learning more about how Application Networking can help your business or are interested in testing our innovation to achieve your business outcomes, come join our Design Partner Community.

Getting Closer to the Application’s Edge

In the final edition of the What in the World of Applications blog series launching in September, I’ll address the concept of Application Edge and how it is transforming how the networking compute power is moving towards the device level. Thank you for embarking upon this application journey with me.

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Sanjeev Mervana

Vice President of Product Management

Emerging Technologies & Incubation