New EMA Research: Application Delivery Infrastructure for Multi-Cloud Enterprises

by Shamus McGillicuddy, Vice President of Research, Network Management

Load balancers, application delivery controllers, and similar infrastructure components are critical to IT service delivery. They perform essential Layer 4-7 network functions to optimize, accelerate, and secure application traffic, both in data centers and public cloud environments. This infrastructure comes in a variety of form factors, including hardware appliances, virtual appliances, services offered by cloud providers, and cloud-native software.

This June, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) is publishing my research report “Application Delivery Infrastructure for Multi-Cloud Enterprises.” Based on a survey of 250 enterprises, this research reveals that the future of application delivery infrastructure is definitively software-centric, with most companies embracing cloud-native software solutions, such as lightweight proxies and software-defined solutions in both data centers and public cloud infrastructure.

Additionally, 85% of companies are interested in using service mesh in their cloud-native application environments. Most of these organizations told EMA that they will need some management integration between service mesh solutions and the rest of their application delivery infrastructure platforms.

The Cloud has Fractured Operations

One of the most concerning findings in the research is that the migration of applications to the public cloud has fractured application delivery infrastructure operations. While traditional network infrastructure teams continue to own and operation infrastructure in data centers, DevOps and cloud teams have forged their own infrastructure operations approach in the cloud. Eighty-one percent of enterprises are dealing with this operational divide, and it is causing security risk, compliance problems, and operational inefficiency.

The majority of enterprises revealed that they have standardized on one or more application delivery platforms to reduce this problem. Enterprises also revealed that vendors could help with this issue by increasing deployment flexibility and by offering APIs for platform integration.

The research also found that 71% of enterprises consider some application delivery functions to be too difficult and time-consuming to configure and manage. A large majority of IT organizations are automating infrastructure management to deal with this issue, but only a minority are satisfied with their ability to automate.

Pandemic Impacts

EMA discovered that 90% of the enterprises in our survey have made changes to their application delivery infrastructure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most common response to the pandemic has been the implementation of new security functions in this infrastructure, such as web application firewalling and distributed denial of service protection.

IT organizations have also increased infrastructure throughput capacity, scaled up session capacity, and increased their use of infrastructure automation to support their applications during the pandemic.

Get Highlights from this New Research

I will be hosting a research webinar on Tuesday, June 23, revealing some of the findings from this new research. I hope you can attend.