There's more than one way to go green with application delivery networks

The past few months have seen a high volume in the number of "green" products announced, many of them in the application delivery realm. Almost universally these announcements have focused on the products themselves as a method of reducing power consumption both in power required to run the device and in lessening the amount of heat generated that requires cooling.

But there's another way to "go green" with application delivery, one that doesn't necessarily rely on the application delivery controller being "green" itself.

The Three "R"s

We've long heard of the three "R"s (reduce, reuse, recycle) as a means by which we, as consumers, can reduce the sheer volume of crap that must be disposed of on a yearly basis. You may not be aware that this concept applies to efforts to go "green" in technology and, in particular, to the benefits provided by application delivery networks.

Application delivery networks can offload SSL termination from servers, which can reduce by up to 30% the resources required on a web or application server. By moving SSL termination and management onto servers, the freed resources - memory and processing power - can be used by the web or application server. This increases the capacity of your existing servers, which obviates the need to purchase additional hardware. The result? Less power consumed to serve your applications. On top of this, SSL operations are generally hardware accelerated in application delivery networks, meaning not only will you reduce the resources required for your applications, you'll improve their performance as well.

Application delivery networks are also capable of providing TCP multiplexing. TCP multiplexing can reduce the burden on web and application servers by reusing existing TCP connections, which translates into fewer resources. Much like SSL offload, TCP multiplexing reduces the number of servers you need to power your applications and thus saves grass and cash. This not only has a positive impact on the environment, but on your IT budget as well.

Our third "R", recycle, is not nearly as obvious as the first two. Recycling takes the form of caching in an application delivery network. By caching static content - and dynamic content that is generated by dynamic mechanisms - an application delivery network recycles content. In doing so, it reduces the resources needed from web and application servers and increases their capacity, again resulting in less power consumed, less heat generated, and a greener (grass and cash) effect. You may also be able to reduce the number of servers you need or, at a minimum, hold off on purchasing additional servers that would otherwise be needed to increase capacity, but would also up your power consumption.

If you really want to reduce your total carbon footprint, consider an SSL VPN for remote access and let your employees telecommute, either permanently or even just one day a week. By removing the need for employees to commute you reduce the amount of emissions they generate by driving as well as the volume of difficult to degrade plastic containers that come from stopping to grab a coffee on the way to work.

So if you're truly interested in going green - whether in terms of grass, cash, or both - consider the benefits of an application delivery network. Going green isn't just about devices and their power consumption, it's about how much more efficient and green it can make the rest of your infrastructure, as well as your employees.

Imbibing: Water