An application network is a way to connect applications, data and devices to utilize some or all of the assets and data on the network.

Instead of utilizing point-to-point connections or isolated architectures, the application network allows applications to be plugged into the network. Additionally, an application network makes an organization more agile and helps respond to changes in the market.

Every new node added to the network will increase the network’s value since the data and capabilities are made discoverable and consumable by others on the network. This makes it easier for someone to create an application, make use of data or create an API to provide an experience and expose that value to the network.

The key is reusing a node; a node must be reusable elsewhere simply by connecting to the network.

IT needs to be able to integrate systems and leverage big data, while maintaining stability and control.

Considerations

Success depends on self-interest. An application network needs to align with the company’s goals and objectives while creating assets that are sustainable and reusable.

Business intelligence. An application-centric network allows for data to be shared and used for different purposes. Data can, however, be manipulated and misunderstood. There needs to be context built into the database of information so that the data is validated against the assumptions it is recorded in.  

Security & privacy. In an application-centric network, an open way of architecture requires a different way to address the security of the network and data. Different domains can have different security policies, which allows enterprises to segment and provide access to data depending on the source, consumers, geographic location or other factors.

Budgets. If a business unit has the budget to invest in an IT project and will create data that is useful for other business units, how should IT budgets be changed to adapt to business demands?

Design Principles

The following are best practices that should be adhered to when designing an application centric network:

  • The network provides a built-in way to be opinionated

How it operates, who has access, what dependencies exist:

  • The network is consistent

Rules and policies are enforced in a consistent way:

  • Applications are connected to the network (not to each other)
  • All data connected to the network is discoverable and can be addressed
  • The network enables consumption of the data

Closing Thoughts

IT managers are being asked to manage organization-wide projects and consider CapEx & OpEx so that the work environment is efficient and shadow IT can be contained.

Application networks help organizations be more agile and respond to changes in the market, business and consumer without the need to rip and replace.

If IT works as a silo for the business, it cannot integrate systems quickly or leverage the big data coming from all parts of the company’s operations. IT must still maintain stability and control.

Deciding on the best way to architect your infrastructure should include assessments, planning and testing. Application dependency mapping will help expedite the process and help result in performance optimization and a holistic approach to ensure the network supports your business intent and IT road map.

To learn more about Application-Centric Networks, contact your CDW account manager or speak with a solutions architect today!

Written by Puneet Duggal – Solutions Architect, Strategic Solutions and Services team at CDW Canada

With over ten years in the technology industry, Puneet covers enterprise, datacenter, and cloud networking solutions. Further, he conducts network assessments and network implementation services to providing an end-to-end custom solution. Puneet’s primary focus is helping organizations modernize and optimize their network environment, increase business value, and enable business growth.

Puneet holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from York University and has worked on several enterprise process improvement and strategy planning projects. He has helped to implement large-scale solutions and global projects that holistically address challenges and increase competitive advantage.

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