Data Center

Should enterprises consider geolocation data for routing application requests?

It is not uncommon to see enterprise companies host their applications/data on multiple data centers, private & public clouds. Geolocation is a technology that helps companies determine accurate location of clients/devices accessing their applications/data. This is nothing new, as content delivery networks have been using this technology for quite some time to locate servers closest to the requester location, in order to provide the best user experience (faster access, lower latency, etc.). Targeted advertising is another field that has been using geolocation data for a long time, in order to serve relevant ads to users based on their location information.

Though geolocation data can be obtained from IP address registries, there are specialized geolocation service providers who provide more accurate location data to enterprise customers. But, why would customers require accurate geolocation data?

Some possible enterprise applications for geolocation data might include,

  • Broadcasting an event only to certain cities/branch locations and blocking them everywhere else.
  • Restricting application/document access for employees, except from certain location (like offices), for security reasons.
  • To identify the application demand levels in various geographic locations and provisioning compute resources appropriately.
  • To determine which data center, which cloud service provider to route application requests from users based on their location information, in order to give the best possible service to users.

Since Application Delivery Controllers sit on the network perimeter between users and servers, they can be utilized to create and implement enterprise application access policies based on geolocation data, says this white paper (pdf) from F5. You can download it and read it for further information on this topic.

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