Application awareness is the capacity of a system to maintain information about connected applications to optimize their operation and that of any subsystems that they run or control.
An application-aware network uses current information about applications connected to it, such as application state and resource requirements. That capacity is central to software-defined networking (SDN), enabling the network to efficiently allocate resources for the most effective operation of both applications and the network itself.
Application-aware storage systems rely upon built-in intelligence about relevant applications and their utilization patterns. Once the storage "understands" the applications and usage conditions, it is possible to optimize data layouts, caching behaviors, and quality of service (QoS) levels.