When explaining the benefits of an Application Delivery Network (ADN) it's a good idea to explain what it is first. Really.

Like many people with deep knowledge of a particular subject, I sometimes forget that not everyone shares the same foundational knowledge. So when one of the Web 2.0 attendees who'd sat in on my session on scaling architectures for growth (which, of course, heavily relies on an application delivery network) visited me in F5's booth and essentially asked "What is it?" I realized my faux pas.

I forgot to explain what it was in addition to what it did and what its benefits were. I could blame the fact that this was my first presentation after being out on maternity leave for several months, but that'd be too easy. I just didn't consider that the audience didn't share this foundational definition. My bad.

An ADN is a "a process for delivering applications that makes use of multiple, integrated products deployed in a mesh architecture. This architecture secures, optimizes, accelerates, and reliably delivers the application information, including front-end, mid-tier, support, and back-end storage systems."

Yes, it's the same definition as that of an Application Delivery Fabric. I prefer the term "fabric" because it implies an interconnected (i.e. interwoven) solution that, when working together, covers your...apps.

The reason it's so difficult to provide a nice picture - or diagram - of an ADN/ADF is that there's often other pieces of infrastructure that make the picture somewhat confusing and it's difficult to walk through the flows in a static medium. Lucky for me that we have some pretty talented people within F5 that have created this Flash-based "demonstration" that clearly shows an example of an application delivery network that includes examples of how each of the components in the ADN provide value.

Check it out - it's a great way to learn more about application delivery networking and its benefits.

Imbibing: Nothing (I'm trying to finish this up and board a plane)