Reduce Complexity and Maximize Performance with App-Centric Networking

In this era of hyper-distributed infrastructure where our users, apps, and data are everywhere, network complexity is often a barrier to maintaining and improving application performance. Businesses want to leverage the capabilities of cloud architectures and environments to improve operational outcomes. In a world where slow is the new down, a network that just keeps up with the business is not enough. More than ever, networks impact application performance and influence business outcomes from app velocity to operational efficiency and new service deployment at scale. Yet most businesses lack the networking control or skillsets to successfully modernize applications at scale without interrupting revenue generation. Simply put, complexity is harming app performance. It’s why leaders must shift to an application-centric networking strategy, one that puts applications needs first to grow their business.

How can we at IBM® help business deliver high performing applications, on responsive and reliable networks efficiently and cost-effectively? To bring order and control to this challenge and address the missing connection to applications, we set about building an application-centric approach for networking centered on solving four problems:

  • Connectivity tools between heterogenous cloud environments.
  • Policy management to control which applications can “talk” to other applications, clouds and users.
  • Observability of network performance from private to public cloud,
  • Automation of networking tasks across clouds

Application-centric connectivity from IBM® is not just a set of network solutions; it’s engineered to be a transformative force that empowers businesses to derive maximum value from modern application architecture, enabling hybrid cloud adoption and revolutionizing how multi-cloud environments are utilized.

Application-centric connectivity is an end-to end set of solutions that provides user-to-app and app-to-app and services network connectivity and control. And is doing it through network policy control with policies defined at the application layer using host names not network addresses and relevant metrics; geo location, app performance and real user monitoring (RUM) data, etc. Cloud independence is another attribute, with IBM® as a partner who truly supports your hybrid and multicloud deployments today, and into the future without any hidden agenda. And as a SaaS cloud networking set of solutions with SaaS management and automation that provides the benefits of CI/CD API integration, 100% uptime for user-to-app and app-to-app and hyperscale integration.

Achieving hybrid by design and true app-centric connectivity with IBM software networking portfolio

 See it in action: App-centric Connectivity

  IBM® NS1 Connect

To address use-to-app connectivity for revenue-generating applications, authoritative DNS resolution is required to keep critical applications and websites online.  IBM® NS1 Connect provides fast, secure connections to users anywhere in the world with premium DNS and advanced, customizable traffic steering, capable of up to 30% decrease in latency.  IBM® NS1 Connect GSLB is disrupting GSLB with a new SaaS offering with end-to-end visibility and resilient connections. The powerful combination of an authoritative domain name system (DNS) and real-user monitoring (RUM) data deliver optimized application availability and performance. In addition, this gives you control over how your users connect—regardless of their geolocation—for an improved user experience.

IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh

IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh is a managed SaaS offering that addresses the connectivity challenge between distributed apps and services. When we launched IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh last year, we set out to solve this. We understood that CloudOps and DevOps teams needed a solution where applications could connect to their cloud environments to get to an application-centric posture.

Before IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh automating application connectivity was a near-impossible task due to the lack of visibility across cloud environments and the complexity of the cloud workloads and applications themselves.

Yet, we have an even bigger vision for how cloud and application connectivity should be: App-centric connectivity should be done simple, secure and work across as many different environments as needed, regardless of cloud, application, network and virtual workload configurations.

That’s why the upcoming June release of IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh  with Red Hat Service Interconnect as a secure app-centric connectivity overlay combines the power of comprehensive policy and intent-driven application connectivity with the ability to harness a secure overlay that extends the reach of connectivity without having to reconfigure the network.

The new Red Hat Service Interconnect overlay provides IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh users the ability to connect and reestablish connectivity for applications that can run anywhere, from Kubernetes, Podman, VMs and bare metal to large multitenant clusters and small edge devices without the need to re-create networking. There’re no IP layer dependencies, no VPN or firewall rules to worry about.

With security being a main driver for digital and cloud transformation initiatives, the added protection of infrastructure and data with Red Hat Service Interconnect’s connectivity layer security gives CloudOps and DevOps teams peace-of-mind while automating the entire application infrastructure.

The centralized management, control and policy plane of IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh provides better cost efficiency, uptime and simplistic automation to ensure applications are performing at their best no matter the infrastructure. It also seeks to bridge the operational silos between critical IT teams. CloudOps and DevOps teams are burdened with the increased complexity that applications bring, while tasked with building out their hybrid cloud environments and making sure applications are always performing. Our vision is to help empower these teams to automate their infrastructure and provide a common platform to visualize both the application and network layers and quickly diagnose and mitigate application connectivity issues.

To handle peak demands for applications, IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh utilizes network traffic steering from IBM® NS1 Connect – giving teams flexibility in how these applications run across the network.

 App-centric network observability with automation to continuously assure network performance.

Provide an application-centric, multi-cloud network observability solution to help IT turn insights into actions to manage and automate modern enterprise networks.

Designed for modern networks, IBM® SevOne®  provides application-centric, network observability to help NetOps spot, address, and prevent network performance issues in hybrid environments.

 IBM® Rapid Network Automation is an advanced API-driven tool that automates, integrates, and connects infrastructure across a hybrid cloud environment with 1,000s of out-of-the-box integrations.

The core application-aware network monitoring, analysis and advanced visualization features of IBM® SevOne® can be further extended with the ability to transform insights into action through an integrated bundle with IBM® Rapid Network Automation. The unification of IBM® SevOne’s hybrid cloud infrastructure performance data and network flow records with the powerful automation engine of  IBM® Rapid Network Automation create automated network observability so network teams can monitor and understand their network performance from what matters most — an application performance perspective. This application-centric view ensures that service level objectives are met for critical applications and services.

We, at IBM® are just continuing on our journey, building comprehensive hybrid multicloud automation solutions for the enterprise. Built for the hybrid cloud and AI era, application-centric networking solutions from IBM® provide high-performing connectivity to power your apps and business end-to-end. Join us on May 15th at 12:50PM for our keynote session “Complexity is harming application performance. Discover a network strategy that puts applications first” and later at 1:45PM for our Triple-T session “Maximize application performance and user experience with end-to-end app-centric connectivity”. Visit IBM booth #119 to see how to build, observe and optimize connectivity for an application-centric future.

SW networking portfolio:

IBM® NS1 Connect

IBM® NS1 Connect GSLB

IBM® Hybrid Cloud Mesh

IBM® SevOne® Network Performance Management

IBM® Rapid Network Automation









Author's Bio

Reggie Best

Software Networking Program Director, Head of NS1 Product Management