Most modern enterprises today feel the need to ‘go mobile’ and opt for a mobility strategy that supports business goals. More employees than ever before are demanding access to the apps and data that will make them productive when they are outside the office, but this isn’t as easy as it sounds. Mobility and the consumerization of IT pose key challenges for IT around scalability, security, and application visibility. This calls for a scalable infrastructure that is essential for supporting the new demands placed on the corporate network without compromising security concerns. Depending upon their level of mobile adoption, enterprises have turned to either mobile device management (MDM) solutions to manage the devices, and/or enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions to address data and app security. However, MDM or EMM solutions alone are not enough to ensure that scalable, optimized, high-performance apps are delivered to any user at any location. To be effective, these solutions also need the right network infrastructure in place to ensure that applications can be delivered across different devices securely, while addressing performance, manageability, and future expansion considerations.
As mobile growth continues, IT needs to strengthen the network infrastructure to support the demands of a mobile workforce. Networking is the fundamental sub-structure to support any next-generation technology which empowers mobility. Be it a cloud, mobility solution, desktop/application virtualization or a collaboration tool, all of them require a stable, secure and scalable network layer, which plays a very important role of delivering these services to the end-user. Coupled with the right mobility solution, a networking solution should be able to offer the following benefits to an organization:
- End-to-end policy and management controls
- A unified access approach to integrate disparate technologies, including MDM, to provide greater control of the entire infrastructure
- Broad mobile OS support with full SSL VPN access for leading mobile OS and handset vendors, including Apple, Google, and Microsoft
- Gain control and confidence with full application security and visibility
Traditional networking solutions cannot offer such benefits, and therefore the need to upgrade the networking infrastructure is a necessity before ‘going mobile’. While the networking infrastructure should be capable of delivering these, it should include some of the key functionalities.
Scalability and consolidation of the network infrastructure
Today’s workspace requires a network environment that is more agile yet less complex and costly to own than the traditional network featuring dedicated infrastructure hardwired for each and every application and service. The network should be ‘elastic’ so that performance can be scaled on-demand to support a steadily growing number of applications and subscribers, while being cost effective. This is a requisite to building a service delivery fabric for optimizing the delivery of mobile broadband services and applications, which are some of the basic demands of organizations with a mobile workspace. With the help of an able networking infrastructure, organizations should be able to build enterprise cloud and mobility networks that embody the characteristics and capabilities that define public cloud services, such as elasticity, expandability and simplicity. Besides that, IT can easily combine multiple load balancer and application delivery management appliances into a single platform and meet the distinct needs of enterprise mobility, individual business units, critical applications and service provider clients. Complete isolation of traffic satisfies security and compliance mandates and eases operational administration through version control and lifecycle management.
Application delivery management
Application delivery is a core part of a mobility strategy; organizations are increasingly using web-based applications to deliver mission critical functionality to employees, customers, partners, and contractors. In such scenarios, simple server load balancing, which refers to a networking method to distribute workload across multiple servers to achieve optimal resource utilization, was no longer sufficient. To facilitate this process by accommodating many internal applications without making changes to them directly, an Application Delivery Controller (ADC) can transform or rewrite the content of the client request including the load balancing of the server. ADCs are advanced load balancers with functions and features that enhance the performance of applications. Today, companies of all sizes with geographical dispersal of people and different data constructs require ADCs to optimize their complex application environments from web applications, to exchange, SharePoint and databases. At a deeper level, the networking solutions should provide integrated, real-time monitoring of application and client traffic, along with the capability to feedback critical application delivery information, to automatically optimize ADC and load balancing policies.
It is evident that the networking infrastructure plays a significant role in empowering a mobile workforce and it is important to choose the right networking solution which should have the ability to improve the performance of business-critical applications and offer easy scalability feature, thereby ensuring a positive user experience and maintaining the highest levels of employee productivity and customer satisfaction.