The Hardware Tax | The Downsides of ADC Hardware

Ted Ranft
Posted on Jun 13, 2017 9:03:18 AM

Unlike other countries, all U.S. citizens residing out of the country are required to pay their normal Federal taxes back to the “mother-ship.” This became painfully clear during my two tours of duty living in the United Kingdom. To make matters worse, the U.S. tax year has a different timing cycle than the U.K. tax year. Because of the offset tax years (and my domicile alternating twice between London and New York) I have spent the last six years filing taxes in both the United States and the United Kingdom. Not fun or easy to deal with.

Tax Blog final

As I think about IT infrastructure there are also “taxes” that today’s companies endure to deliver the right business outcomes. Some of these taxes are necessary and some are completely avoidable. Unfortunately, waste and avoidable technology “taxes” are very visible in my sector, application delivery. This is because load balancing and application delivery services have historically been served by purpose-built hardware appliances. These devices are expensive and lack flexibility, adding their “tax” and inefficiency to most of our enterprise client's infrastructure and operations. In addition to near instant technology obsolescence, the practice of purchasing and refreshing ADC hardware imposes three additional “taxes”:

  • First is the Over-Provisioning Tax. Customers pay this tax when they purchase ahead of additional hardware capacity to handle spikes (dramatic amounts, in most cases). These hardware frames then sit idle while the majority of the capacity remains underutilized. This practice (and “tax”) is common. On average, physical load balancers are 5-9% utilized and this is a huge waste of resource and capital.

  • Second is the Refresh Tax. The burden of changing infrastructure, updating and refreshing disposable (and outdated) hardware. This is the proverbial Golden Gate Bridge painting problem—they actually never stop painting the bridge! Once painting is finished on one end, the work immediately transfers back to the other side of the bridge. Everything is slow, manual, and requires physical intervention. How can today’s understaffed and overstretched network teams extract cost savings and agility benefits when this is the model?

  • Third is the Scalability Tax. Under the appliance model, when additional capacity is needed, a new hardware device must be purchased. This is time consuming, tickets must be opened, hardware must be shipped, received, installed, racked-stacked and in some cases manually configured. Hardware provisioning is the antithesis of agility. All of this takes time, reduces agility and increases expense.

But thankfully, today we have an approach that can quickly unlock technological and efficiency benefits. The hardware conundrum is resolved by breaking apart the hardware and software elements of the solution. This is most easily accomplished through the use of a distributed software fabric running on commodity x86 servers. A “software-defined” approach allows the client to automate and deliver services in software run on commercial x86 hardware. This speeds automation, keeps price points low and quickly allows the capture of “Moore’s Law” performance and processing improvements.

Commercial enterprises can now benefit from this same “software-defined” approach in Layer 4-7. My company, Avi Networks, was founded on just such an approach. In late 2012, Avi Networks founding team members Murali Basavaiah, Ranga Rajagopalan and Guru Chahal began to apply proven software-defined principles to Application Delivery. How could they speed time-to-market, unlock agility and automation while freeing enterprises from the tyranny of the hardware “taxes” outlined above? How could they eliminate over-provisioning, stop never ending refresh cycles while providing real-time, highly performant, elastic scale?

The answer is through the use of our modern, distributed software platform. Our clients can avoid the “over-provisioning tax”, the “refresh tax”, and the “scalability tax”—saving millions in hard dollar and soft-cost TCO, while enabling agility. Our modern software-defined architecture enables Avi to instantly automate and provision services (at the point they are needed), while elastically scaling in real time. Beyond elastic scaling, our segregated data plane allows for amazingly detailed real-time analytics captured in granular amounts in a way that does not sacrifice performance.

When you build a solution using modern, software-defined principles you can deliver value faster. Our clients save 70% on TCO, have 5X faster application rollouts, improved security, and resolve network trouble tickets an average of 4 hours faster. If your goal is to be agile, responsive, scale automatically, save money and reduce mean-time-to-innocence, then software is the only architectural choice that will meet your requirements.

I am energized about the modern, software-defined capabilities we deliver and more importantly, the business outcomes realized by our clients. After all, there is nothing more satisfying than unlocking value AND paying less tax!

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Topics: Software Load Balancer, Elastic Scale, Hardware

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