– Lori MacVittie, Senior Technical Marketing Manager at F5 Networks (www.f5.com), says:
The chimera is a mythological beast of scary proportions. Not only is it fairly large, but it’s also got three, independent heads – traditionally a lion, a goat, and a snake. Some variations on this theme exist, but the basic principle remains: it’s a three-headed, angry beast that should not be taken lightly should one encounter it in the hallway.
Individually, one might have a strategy to meet the challenge of a lion or a goat head on. But when they converge into one very angry and dangerous beast, the strategies and tactics employed to best any one of them will almost certainly not work to address all three of them simultaneously.
The world of mobility is rapidly approaching its own technological chimera, one comprised of three individual technology trends. While successful stratagem and tactics exist which address each one individually, when taken together they form a new challenge requiring a new strategic approach.
THE MOBILE CHIMERA
Three technology trends – VDI, mobile, and IPv6 – are rapidly converging upon the enterprise. Each is driven in part by the other, and each requires in part functionality and support of another. Addressing the challenges accompanying this trifecta requires a serious evaluation of the enterprise infrastructure with an eye toward performance, scalability, and flexibility, less it be overwhelmed by demand originating both internally and externally.
The myriad articles, blogs, and editorial orations on mobile device growth have to date focused on the need for organizations to step up and accept the need for device-ready enterprise applications. This focus has thus far ignored the reality of the diversity of the device client base, the ramifications of which those with long careers in IT will painfully recall from the client-server era. Thus it is no surprise that interest in and adoption of technology such as VDI is on the rise, as virtualization serves as a popular solution to the problem of delivering applications to a highly-diverse set of clients.
But virtualization, as popular a solution as it may be, is not a panacea. Security and control over corporate resources and applications is a growing necessity today because of the ease with which users can take advantage of mobile technology to access them.
Access control does not entirely solve the challenges of a diverse mobile client audience, as attackers turn their attention on mobile platforms as a means to gain access to resources and data previously beyond their reach. The need for endpoint security inspection continues to grow as the threat posed by mobile devices continues to rear its ugly head.
It was inevitable that the growth of mobile device usage in the enterprise continued to grow that so, too, would the solution of VDI grow as the most efficient way to deliver applications without requiring mobile platform-specific versions. The desire by business owners and security practitioners to keep data securely within the data center “walls”, too, is a factor in the rising desire to deploy VDI. VDI enables organizations to deliver applications remotely while maintaining control over data inside the data center, preserving enforcement of corporate security policies and minimizing risk.
But VDI deployments are not trivial, regardless of the virtualization platform chosen. Each virtualization solution has its challenges and most of those challenges revolve around the infrastructure necessary to support such an initiative. Scalability and flexibility are important facets of VDI delivery infrastructure, and performance cannot be overlooked if such deployments are to be considered successful.
Who could forget that the Internet is being pressured to move to IPv6 sooner rather than later, in part because of the growth of mobile clients? The strain placed on service providers to maintain IPv4 support as a means to not “break the Internet” can only be borne so long before IPv6 becomes, as has been predicted, the Y2K for the network.
The ability to deliver applications via VDI to mobile devices will soon require support for IPv6, but will not obviate the need to support IPv4 just yet. A dual stack approach will be required during the transition period, putting delivery infrastructure again front and center in the battle to deploy and support applications for mobile devices.
With all accounts numbering mobile devices in the four billion range across multiple platforms and effectively 0 IPv4 addresses left to assign to those devices, it should be no surprise that as these three technology trends collide the result will be the need for a new mobility strategy.
This is why solutions are strategic and technology is tactical. There exist individual products that easily solve each of these problems individually, but very few solutions that address the combined juggernaut that is the three combined. It is necessary to coordinate and architect a solution that can solve all three challenges simultaneously as a means to combat complexity and its associated best friend forever, operational risk.
A flexible and scalable delivery strategy will be necessary to ensure performance and security without sacrificing operational efficiency.