In the world of internet infrastructure and data management, the last twenty years have been a whirlwind of change. The evolution of physical hardware and software has had a considerable impact on the development of applications.
It seems like yesterday that companies owned their own technology which was built for on-premise. Deploying an application took considerable time and manpower because it involved making major infrastructural changes in the data centre.
Co-location services removed the burden of hardware ownership, and with the arrival of software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service, it looked as though IT development would move into the cloud. But that’s not what has happened, and we now have a spectrum of infrastructure in which applications live.
Data centres as part of a hybrid configuration
Data centres have evolved to play a vital role in the enterprise ecosystem. They are part of the hybrid configuration that many organisations now deploy, working in cooperation with co-location facilities, private and public clouds and serverless architectures.
While this enables enterprises to scale and be more agile, it also introduces complexity for the teams who are responsible for maintaining constantly evolving, modern application delivery stacks. What they are looking for is improved orchestration and visibility across the data centre, clouds and the network so they can deliver a seamless experience to customers with no downtime.
An often overlooked element in the application traffic stack that could help improve visibility and reduce complexity is DNS, a ubiquitous protocol and the entry point to nearly every networked application. Yet, organisations are too often using outdated DNS, or DDI (a combination of DNS, DHCP and IP Address Management), technology in their data centres and this has held them back.
The benefits of modern DDI
Modern DDI is fully integrated and allows teams to use the same stack across all use cases from high performance of global traffic to service discovery in data centres, or in highly orchestrated hybrid environments. There are multiple advantages to adoption including:
Speeding up application delivery- One of the challenges associated with traditional DDI is that it can lead to slow application rollouts and updates that take hours or even days. For enterprises that are app-driven this has resulted in delays to delivery timelines increasing the risk of falling behind the competition. Today’s DDI solutions are built to support rich, performant RESTful APIs that make interactions easy. They allow DNS changes to propagate in seconds not hours, and don’t require complete restarts that are common with more traditional tools.
Streamlining automation and orchestration – Legacy DDI solutions rely on physical hardware that is expensive, limited and cumbersome. If an organisation wants to make changes or upgrades this often requires new physical appliances to be deployed which can delay innovation. This model does not support automation and, in today’s evolved ecosystem, it neither orchestrates nor scales adequately. Modern enterprise DDI, however, is microservices-based and containerised so it can support hyper-automation and orchestration. It can live anywhere, whether that’s the data centre or in the cloud, and allows teams to spin up new architecture on-demand at a speed that suits them.
Improving visibility – Without a centralised view of private IP space, teams don’t get a full picture of where services reside within hybrid environments. For example, if the DDI team manages the data centre and cloud DNS using two different products and API endpoints, the likelihood of routing conflicts that causes application outages will dramatically increase. What they get, however, from a modern enterprise DDI solution is unified service discovery with an overview of where applications, services and devices live in the organisation’s environment and on the network. This makes it easier to allocate resources and achieve compliance requirements.
There is no doubt that the hybrid landscape is complex and unlikely to get simpler. Today’s DDI solutions are designed to integrate with popular infrastructure tools as part of a modern application delivery stack, allowing companies to leverage their technology investments. The keys to success when specifying DDI are straightforward – make sure it improves the speed of application delivery, supports hyper-automation, delivers a centralised view and scales dynamically as part of the company’s application. Organisations should also look for resilience across multiple deployment surfaces, whether that’s the data centre, a public or a private cloud and across multiple geographies, and finally, it should adapt to multiple application delivery parameters.