Infrastructure powers the application world

by Gary Middleton

30 April 2020

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Co-authored by Gary Middleton, SVP: Networking, NTT Ltd. and Sean P Hennessy, Global Partner Solutions – NTT, F5 Networks 

Creating an infrastructure optimized for applications is critical for business success

Technology surrounds us, it informs and enables everything we do. We rely on a connected ecosystem of applications to communicate with family and friends, listen to music, catch up on news, do our banking and guide us to our destinations. And that’s just in our personal life.

Organizations are even more dependent on applications to run every aspect of their operations; sourcing materials, interacting with customers, enabling their workforce, running their financial management and paying their employees. Every organization depends on hundreds, or even thousands, of applications to keep every aspect of their operations running smoothly.

The application is the critical building block of the world today - for consumers and for organizations. As digital transformation continues apace, it can be said that applications are one of the greatest contributors to an organization’s value and their ability to sustain growth. However, the success story that is the modern application is equally the story of the underlying infrastructure used to ensure that those applications are delivered successfully. Every application fundamentally needs computing, storage and networking to operate and do the basics of what it’s designed to do, but a poorly architected infrastructure will leave the application six feet under. Together, NTT Ltd., F5 Networks and Cisco Systems assist organizations to ensure their applications and underlying infrastructure work in concert to drive growth and positive business outcomes.

Four people standing in a row on their mobile devices

With applications an essential part of modern business, proper management has become critical

As applications continue to evolve to support the changing requirements of modern business, increasing in both functionality and complexity, the infrastructure supporting these applications must evolve too.

There are several key considerations when planning your future application strategy:

Critically review application placement

Whether in the cloud, co-located, on-premises or at the edge, organizations need to make the right decisions about when their applications are placed. There is also a critical need to modernize infrastructure to ensure it supports the portfolio of legacy and new applications. This infrastructure needs to be scalable, resilient, always available and needs to be delivered in the most cost-efficient manner possible.

Add a layer of intelligence

The saying goes that ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’, and the one constant through this ongoing evolution of applications and infrastructure, is the need to add a layer of intelligence between the two to provide visibility, context and control. This is accomplished through the coordinated insertion of a consistent set of robust application services that ensures the applications are available, that users have a good quality of experience when connecting to those applications and that the applications are secure. Cisco’s portfolio of programmable network infrastructure and F5’s portfolio of application services work shoulder-to-shoulder to provide dynamically provisioned connectivity and visibility across application landscapes for consistent, discreet and context aware application services at every step on the data path from code to end user.

Adopt a secure-by design approach

Security considerations are critical and must be factored in from the initial stages of any project, with a secure-by-design approach. Cybersecurity is an area that requires ever increasing attention as new threats constantly emerge and existing threats persist. The 2019 NTT Ltd. Security Global Threat Intelligence Report, published in April 2019, highlighted that crypto-jacking had increased by almost five times in the previous year, while web and application-specific attacks doubled. F5’s threat intelligence research indicates that 86% of cyberthreats target applications and application-identities so an integrated approach to application and infrastructure security is necessary for the best possible cybersecurity defence posture.

Automate your ecosystems

The final piece of the puzzle is the ability to effectively automate both the infrastructure and application services ecosystems to allow for agile application delivery. A well-orchestrated application ecosystem that includes visibility and coordinated automation across infrastructure for elastic provisioning of network and application services is critical in supporting organisations operational models.

Creating application - infrastructure interconnectedness requires a deep understanding of organisations applications and business operations, and an ability to translate that to infrastructure to deliver application excellence. NTT Ltd., F5 and Cisco have a combined approach that enables us to address these requirements for our clients. Our long, global relationships, joint investments and focus on clients have created a compelling partnership to address these challenges.

There is an insatiable appetite for applications and our ability to respond to that demand is limited only by the underlying infrastructure. In this uncertain, hybrid world it’s vital that organizations tap applications for competitive advantage but they need to ignite their infrastructure in order to do so. An integrated combination of Cisco and F5 offerings does that and the portfolio of services from NTT Ltd. will let you deliver that across the hybrid infrastructure in a way that secures business objectives.

Gary Middleton

Gary Middleton

Principal Director – Group GTM and Skills Transformation, NTT Ltd.