Software-defined technologies have quickly transformed traditional WAN optimization solutions and load balancers into solutions now referred to as application delivery controllers (ADCs). ADCs have become the heir apparent to numerous network optimization technologies, fueled by the adoption of cloud services, creating some fear, uncertainty, and doubt amount WAN optimization vendors and their partners. Yet, FUD always seems to have a silver lining, one which could bring opportunities to solution providers looking to expand their bandoleer of cloud services.
A recent research report from ZK Research illustrates the potential for solution providers to garner new business from the FUD surrounding what were once physical products like Load Balancers and WAN optimizers. ZK Research revealed that software defined technologies, along with cloud native applications, are being deployed more frequently, with 50 percent of UK businesses and 29 percent of US businesses expecting to move over half of their applications into the cloud within the next 12 months. It's a transformation that ZK expects to have a profound impact on the ADC Market.
"As more applications become cloud native, companies will have to carefully consider how they will efficiently deliver those applications to users, while avoiding bottlenecks, downtime, or other problems," said Raj Mehta, president and CEO of Plainview NY-based RAJ Technologies.
"Of course, those companies will need solutions that can deliver those applications without problem, a job best suited for software-defined ADCs," added Mehta.
According to ZK Research, F5 and Citrix are the most commonly used ADCs by today's businesses, yet ZK opines that cloud native ADCs are beginning to show strength as applications transform into cloud-based entities. The company's research shows that most traditional ADC deployments are for on-premise legacy applications or on-premise private clouds, meaning that, as applications move to public and hybrid clouds, a different type of ADC will be needed. An assumption backed by Forrester Research .
Forrester's Application Experience (AX) for Asia Pacific Enterprises in Multi-cloud Environments report reveals that 84 percent of CIOs in APAC believe that a multi-cloud deployment will constitute up to half of their web and application hosting environment in the next three years. An indicator that as an increasing number of core business applications are moving to various cloud environments, APAC CIOs will focus more on AX, and will seek an IT strategy to decrease the complexity of managing the multi-cloud for their business.
The question quickly becomes one of which vendors will be capable of answering. According to Allied Market Research, the global application delivery controller industry market will grow to $4.2bn by 2023. A market that will include key players, such as A10 Networks, Citrix, F5 Networks, Array Networks, Brocade, Dell, Barracuda Networks, Fortinet, Cisco, and KEMP Technologies. AMR expects the deployment of ADCs to increase due to a rise in the service executions enabled through the cloud.
Market growth and numerous vendor choices bode well for solution providers, especially as competition heats up. Take, for example, New York-based KEMP, which is aggressively seeking to wrest market share from F5 and Citrix. Kemp announced that it is launching a 2-for-1 offer for a pair of its 3 Gbps virtual load balancers for $6,000. The company claims that competitive products would cost a great deal more. For example, F5's Big-IP VE 3Gs would cost a company $35,990 (or $17,995 for just one), while the Citrix VPX 3000s would be $51,550 (or $25,620 each).
With KEMP firing the first shot across the bow of the other ADC vendors, competition should drive prices lower and create more opportunity for solution providers. Further priming the sales pump for solution providers is that research from both Forrester & ZK Research indicates that as many as 76 per cent of enterprises would consider a new load balancer vendor to optimize and secure their apps, web properties or IT workloads.
In the past, deploying load balancers and WAN optimization solutions involved deploying physical hardware in a datacenter or colocation site. Today's ADCs are software defined and run as virtual appliances, meaning that solution providers can deploy ADCs without requiring physical access to the client's datacenter. What's more, ADCs have become cloud native options, and can be deployed across multiple cloud service providers, further easing provisioning, while still giving solution providers the option to configure, monitor, and manage client applications.
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