You’ve read how modern companies are disrupting their legacy peers by pursuing a data-driven culture…
There are a myriad of examples, but the common thread is this: these are software-first companies in their categories. And why are they software first? They are data-driven.
Their secret sauce is the continuous pursuit to process and extract insights from data to drive their business decisions and operational efficiencies. So if that’s the recipe, why aren’t incumbents doing it?
Data is getting increasingly distributed in the enterprise, and for multiple reasons, including:
As a result, distributed apps and data in the enterprise typically require the following:
To address the above, there are technological and operational shifts required. Those changes can be summarized below:
To recap: apps are changing, driven by critical business needs. ← Read above.
These changes, as noted above, have a significant impact to enterprise architectures in WHERE apps run and HOW those apps and data are connected, secured and operated. The properties for dealing with the requirements of distributed apps and data are driving the following shifts:
To summarize — there are several technical and architectural trends (driven by business needs) around the types of applications, their locality, and the means of how they are delivered/accessed. As they converge together, it is creating major challenges for traditional networking, security and app services infrastructures.
Ok — I’ll write what you’re thinking. Your router/switch vendor is obsolete. Your firewall is obsolete. Your load balancer/ADC is obsolete. The operational tools and services to manage this at scale are obsolete.
When it comes to distributed apps and the need to process distributed data; traditional networking and security tools (and their operations) are unsustainable.
Legacy application delivery controllers or ADC (aka “the modern load balancer”) were designed to efficiently and securely deliver web-based monolithic apps directly to end-users with the highest performance possible. They were:
Don’t believe me? Let me give you a real-world example to help calibrate where I’m coming from.
Above is an example architecture of an auto manufacturer looking to retrofit their existing and planned EV stations to collect HD mapping and process it at scale.
Let’s analyze the workflow and requirements:
There were multiple options and proposals put forward, in-sourced through various teams or outsourced through system integrators. Below is an example of one of those proposals:
I’ll let someone else make the TCO on why the above is a nightmare (or this can be a topic for another post), but let’s assume for a moment you find a business model that actually works in your favor because you have an army of lawyers to make sure the vendors (the ones with deep pockets) bear the burden. But is this really a positive outcome for your business, employees, or customers?
First things first — if you haven’t already watched Seinfeld’s The Pool Guy episode in Season 5 please stop reading this and watch, I’ll wait.
Welcome back. Now:
To summarize — traditional networking + security architecture, software vendors, tooling and operational models are challenging when a business requires distributed apps and data to be processed.
A new architecture, powered by a SaaS-first operational model while catering to the self-service nature of the different tooling needs of DevOps, NetOps, Dev and SecOps teams, is existential for a modern business to succeed.
A new generation of infrastructure platform is needed for networking and securing modern apps, and it must be more app- and API-centric than your traditional ADCs. This is similar to how ADCs were an evolution of vanilla L4 load balancers over a decade ago.
At Volterra, we went back to the drawing board and identified 4 tenants that were needed to address modern app delivery. We put the following blueprint together:
Ok, I’m not here to shill — we have people for that. But I think we’ve built something nerd-worthy; and thus requires some explaining.
To summarize VoltMesh’s software stack:
A kick-ass stack doesn’t mean much if Day 2 is just as complicated for your DevOps, NetOps, and SecOps teams. This is where our SaaS-based management portal called VoltConsole comes in.
Continuing from our real-world example, the following solution was proposed:
Networking and security for modern apps requires a new kind of thinking. As apps become more distributed (for the right business reasons!), your architecture, infrastructure, and operations teams must adapt.
Here at Volterra, we’ve designed a comprehensive solution for networking and securing modern apps via a single SaaS-based service, VoltMesh. We feel it addresses the majority of new requirements for app-2-app networking and security. Below is a table of what we address when compared to traditional point load balancers and API gateways:
If you’re interested in seeing if these concepts work for your modern app environment…you can.
Volterra currently offers a freemium service of VoltMesh (including its unique globally-distributed load balancer/ingress-egress gateway + API gateway + API auto-discovery and control).
Check it out for yourself at volterra.io