Advancements in technology have created an increasing dependency and demand for a higher standard of IT services, particularly as it relates to networking. A transition like this can lead to many integration complexities that businesses must be aware of. Orchestrating applications, virtual machines, storage and the network should be getting simpler, but the rise in the number of available vendor solutions leaves many unsure of which one is right for their business.
Managing an increasingly complicated network takes up precious time that could be better spent serving users, integrating new applications and scaling to meet growing needs. As a result, many companies are transitioning their IT operations to cloud-managed platforms to increase productivity and responsiveness and allow their staff to focus on core business activities.
As all providers are well aware, customers require flexibility to change their network architecture as their business needs evolve without having to replace existing switches and access points. It is no longer enough to just settle on a cloud strategy that operational costs. The kicker is that other costs will be incurred due to loss of productivity or profit as a result of poor performance. Whether it’s a business in the retail, manufacturing, healthcare or education industry, companies want easy, immediate information and access to better support their business.
Companies are able to abstract network complexity and achieve better performance through platforms that offer an application-centric approach, putting specific applications at the center of their business’s IT teams to better tackle network challenges. In an application-centric network, the network administrator manages a system for a specific application instead of managing servers and routers like past models. Success can then be determined by a user’s experience with an application. In fact, transitioning to an application-centric model offers three major benefits for partners and end users.
1. Greater Simplicity and Ease-of-use
By leveraging a unified wired/wireless cloud-managed networking platform designed for simplicity, teams are no longer required to invest significant time and funds to support day-to-day operations. Instead, driving an app-centric strategy enables IT teams to confidently provide the critical services necessary for applications regardless of where they are deployed or what specific platform is used. With this model, interoperability between legacy environments and software-defined architectures is unified, allowing companies to focus on providing the application availability and performance that customers now expect.
2. Better Security
Compliance is no longer enough in an environment of continually evolving threats and increasingly sophisticated application exploits. An app-centric strategy strengthens a company’s security posture by focusing on the risks and threats to specific applications. By leveraging deep application intelligence and visibility that’s integrated directly into wireless APs, customers are offered unprecedented insights into their network with no performance impact or application slow-down along with the ability to define and enforce application-specific policies.
This is important to note because security has to be both focused on applications and data, and has to be comprehensive without disrupting the user experience. The combination of user, device and application specific policies empowers organizations to deliver just that – a secure end-to-end controlled quality of experience.
3. Business Agility
In order to meet IT goals, it is critical to choose a vendor that offers cloud-optimized solutions, flexible licensing options and built-in support. Additionally, network agility depends on robust application monitoring at every step of the application flow across the network. If the network can’t identify performance bottlenecks and help IT optimize performance quickly, the user experience suffers.
For this reason, holistic network application performance monitoring solutions help provide IT organizations with the controls to ensure each individual application can be effectively managed – allowing, denying, prioritizing, de-prioritizing or throttling based on the changing needs and priorities of customers. The result is a stronger quality of experience by using a solution that allows IT to manage applications and analytics at the access point without the need to manage the network itself.
A select number of vendors are ahead of the curve offering an effective strategy for customers and partners looking for a personalized solution to transition to the cloud without creating additional challenges for their IT teams. 2017 will put even more pressure on these companies as they will be required to empower their users to improve agility and deliver unique technology in order to further differentiate from competitors.