Application Delivery Network

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Application Delivery Network Definition

An Application Delivery Network (ADN) is a group of services deployed simultaneously over a network to provide application availability, security, visibility and acceleration from application servers to application end users. Application delivery networking is comprised of WAN optimization controllers (WOCs) and application delivery controllers (ADCs).

Diagram depicts an application delivery network (ADN) showing a pool of application servers serving content over the web to clients complete with security, load balancing, app insights and more.

What is an Application Delivery Network?

An application delivery network (ADN) ensures the speediness, security and availability of applications. The ADN delivers a suite of technologies over a network designed to maximize application performance. Load balancing is often included. An ADN is sometimes referred to as a content delivery network (CDN).

The terms are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference. CDNs focus on static content while ADNs optimize the acceleration of dynamic content.

What Is the Purpose of an Application Delivery Network?

An application delivery network platform helps data centers speed up load times and the application delivery process. They also help IT teams solve problems faster and provide a better user experience.

Application delivery networks bundle and deploy the technologies that improve network latency and security. They help streamline operations and optimize load balancing.

How Does Application Delivery Networking Work?

Application delivery networking uses real-time data to prioritize applications and access. Application delivery networks (ADN) operate with two components: a combination of a WAN optimization controller (WOC) and an application delivery controller (ADC).

The ADC is positioned at the data center end of the application delivery network. The ADC includes a load balancer that distributes web traffic over many servers. ADCs also handle caching, compression and offloading of Security Socket Layer (SSL) encryption.

The ADC component of an application delivery network was created when traditional load balancers could no longer handle a growing and diverse amount of web traffic.

The WOC is positioned in both the data center and near the end point. It improves application performance by focusing on latency optimization. The WOC also handles caching, compression, de-duplication and protocol spoofing.

ADCs and WOCs work together within the application delivery network to give applications more speed, availability and scalability.

What is the Difference between Application Delivery Networking vs. Content Delivery Networking (CDN)?

CDNs work by caching regularly used digital content at geographically distributed edge locations. When a client (end user) internet browser requests the cached content, it comes from the nearest edge location. By utilizing these edge locations in a strategic geographical pattern, static websites will see significant performance improvements. But for remote applications accessed over the public internet, this practice of caching content at edge locations fails to yield the same performance improvements.

By comparison, ADN is a combination of features that provide application availability, security, visibility, and acceleration. It is more comprehensive in the benefits to the end user than simply having a CDN cache website content.

What Are the Benefits of an Application Delivery Network?

Application delivery networking offers the benefits of security, visibility and acceleration:
• Moves data through the network at increased speed by using compression technologies.
• Improved network security with IP filtering, delayed binding, application firewalls and SSL encryption.
• More efficient traffic management with load balancers that also provide health checks and can automatically reroute traffic when needed.

Does VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer Offer an Application Delivery Network?

Yes. The VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer is used as an Application Delivery Network to deliver multi-cloud application services such as load balancing, application security, autoscaling, container networking and web application firewall. The VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer automates application delivery, ensures applications are available, secure, and responsive to demand. Learn more about the VMware NSX Advanced Load Balancer application delivery architecture here.

For more on the actual implementation of load balancing, security applications and web application firewalls check out our Application Delivery How-To Videos.

For more information see the following application delivery networking resources: