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Thursday, May 23rd, 2019

Data Center and Infrastructure

The art of optimizing networks for the mobile data-intensive workforce

Many business networks are showing signs of stress as workforce expectations for higher and more consistent service quality grows. The problem lies with the gap between the capabilities of a network and the administrators’ ability to optimize that network.

In a survey of more than 400 small, mid and large-sized enterprises late last year, 52% of respondents admitted that managing application performance, availability and security is a significant problem due to a “disjointed, complex and hard-to-manage” environment.

While only 21% of respondents said employees connecting remotely are generating very high or high amounts of traffic on the network, about 76% of them expect that load to be higher or much higher within three years.

By then IT organizations will be challenged to meet dynamic business requirements while handling more data, access points, users and devices. In the survey, which was conducted by Freeform Dynamics on behalf of Barracuda Networks, 50% of respondents said that growth in home working and other forms of remote access is impacting traffic on the corporate network.

Workplace issues

Changes in working patterns – how data is used and moved – also increase the challenge associated with application access and security. Already, 65% of survey respondents had experienced problems and disruption caused by poor or unpredictable application performance, while application outages had disrupted 64% of the businesses surveyed. These issues are poised to worsen.

Network reliability and availability clearly underpin user confidence and trust in the operational and functional capabilities of critical applications and services.

Significantly, 81% of respondents in the Freeform Dynamics survey recognized that they need to move away from a ‘network perimeter’ mind-set for security and embrace an ‘application perimeter’ approach.

This mind-set shift will be driven by a combination of employee-led changes in work trends and the expected increase in network loads from core applications, virtualization, collaboration systems and data-intensive advanced communications systems.

“The network perimeter today is very ill defined,” says Tony Lock, director at Freeform Dynamics. “Remote workers, mobile devices, partners, customers and suppliers are trying to access company resources that have traditionally resided behind a corporate network firewall. If you have too many holes in a wall, it gets really hard to keep the bad guys out and the important or critical data in.”

One way to boost application performance and security is to deploy an Application Delivery Controller (ADC) solution. But user awareness of ADCs is still limited, with only 27% of survey respondents having deployed such a solution.

Lifeblood of business

US-based Fenwal Blood Technologies Inc, a global leader in developing products that improve the safety and availability of blood, had to facilitate day-to-day knowledge sharing, communication, and collaboration among its more than 6,000 global employees.

To keep pace with growth, it had to scale its Microsoft SharePoint, Exchange, and Office Communication Server (OCS) infrastructure and ensure round-the-clock availability. A load-balancing platform was required. 

Being a satisfied Barracuda Spam and Virus Firewall customer, the company “chose the Barracuda Load Balancer ADCs because of their ease of use and price-to-performance,” says Darryl Kegg, server engineering manager at Fenwal. Microsoft has also certified the Barracuda Load Balancer ADCs for Exchange and OCS load balancing.

Kegg’s team deployed two Barracuda Load Balancer ADCs in a high-availability pair to distribute traffic to internal networks and another in the DMZ to load balance incoming traffic.

Now, Fenwal easily handles more than 10,000 SharePoint and Exchange requests per hour. But the key benefit for the company is the ability to select and deploy the right mix of technologies in its new data center.

The Barracuda ADC platform addresses core problems associated with any overloaded and inefficient network and access infrastructure. It combines application acceleration, availability and control, with advanced security capabilities, to overcome these problems.

Apart from authentication, authorization and accounting capabilities, the Barracuda Load Balancer ADC includes outbound data loss prevention monitoring and application DDoS protection.

“It is no longer sufficient to consider security as a separate conversation from application performance,” says Stephen Pao, general manager, Security at Barracuda. “Customers shouldn’t have to choose performance over securing their applications.”

“Barracuda is the volume leader in worldwide content security according to our most recent Tracker,” says Chris Christiansen, program vice president for Security Products and Services at IDC. “We expect the bundling of application security with Barracuda’s ADC to transform the midmarket IT security landscape.”

This is a QuestexAsia feature commissioned by Barracuda Networks.