Could a single net appliance hold the answer to problems resulting from the increasing complexity of IT infrastructure?

“The need to consolidate on one device has never been more relevant than it is today,”  Rich Lyons, a Citrix network channel development specialist told a recent IT World Canada webinar.

Current IT environments are complicated by a number of factors such as the use of corporate and personally owned devices, cloud-based applications and the increased mobility of workers. “The multiplication of devices, applications, users and locations increases costs, security risks and management challenges,” he said. “IT Departments are looking for a new approach.”

The webinar, sponsored by Softchoice and Citrix, provided an overview of how a single net appliance can handle security, performance management and monitoring.

Improving the user experience

One of the biggest challenges in IT environments today is that there are too many points to manage and maintain, said Lyons. As a result, it takes too long to fix issues or to implement upgrades. That has a big impact on the user experience.

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A net appliance can consolidate all of the devices into one “tightly knit solution”. The appliance is software-based, which provides a huge advantage of scalability by eliminating the cumbersome hardware issues, said Lyons. “You can start small and pay as you grow.” He noted that the ability to handle a number of functions with one device is the reason the Citrix NetScaler is commonly referred to as the “swiss army knife of network appliances”.

Spotting issues in today’s complex IT architectures is much more difficult than it used to be, said Lyons. “The ability to monitor, diagnose and improve the performance of business applications is essential to a positive user experience and employee productivity.” A net appliance can provide

A net appliance can provide end-to-end visibility of the network and the applications. “You can manage, monitor and troubleshoot the entire infrastructure from a single unified console.” As well, Lyons noted that the device delivers 100 per cent application uptime by eliminating any single source of failure, and it speeds up application performance by using high-speed data compression.

Simplified security management

All CIOs are grappling with the increased security risks that come with a multitude of access points and applications. It can be especially challenging to provide secure access for a geographically dispersed or mobile workforce. Traditionally, IT managers have addressed this by adding on virtual private networks (VPNs) but, with the need for multiple passwords, this ultimately provides a poor user experience, said Lyons.

A net appliance consolidates multiple remote access solutions into a single secure access. It solves the challenge of delivering remote secure infrastructure by unifying the capabilities of traditional VPNs and application controllers, said Lyons. “It’s an always available high definition single point of access to resources users need wherever, whenever and on whatever devices they use.”

Lyons described an implementation of the single device by the Montefiore Health System in New York state to demonstrate the benefits. The organization needed a solution that would provide secure remote access to patient records for a fast-growing team of over 28,000 medical personnel in 150 locations. “The bottom line was that by allowing them to do more with fewer servers, hardware and man hours, it helped them save over $5 million during the rollout. That’s a compelling ROI.”