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Balancing hybrid tech: On-premises performance matters
Mon, 31st Jul 2023

Cloud native technologies are reshaping the way that organizations develop and manage applications, dramatically speeding up release velocity and allowing brands to respond to changing customer and employee needs.

The latest research from Cisco AppDynamics, The Age of Application Observability, finds that 43% of new innovation initiatives are being delivered with cloud native technologies in Singapore, and technologists in Singapore expect this figure to rise to 68% by 2028. That means that the majority of new applications will be built on cloud native technologies by 2028.

It’s hardly surprising then that cloud native technologies are generating so much media attention and becoming such a focus within IT departments. Under ever greater pressure to accelerate their innovation programs, IT leaders are putting cloud native at the heart of their future strategies.

However, it’s important not to get carried away with the hype surrounding cloud native and worth remembering that most organizations continue to run most of their IT estate on-premises - and this will be the case for the foreseeable future. In fact, 98% of technologists in Singapore believe that hybrid environments are here to stay.

With this in mind, it’s vital that IT leaders don’t overlook the role of on-premises technologies and ensure their technologists have the skills, structures and tools to operate effectively within a hybrid environment, where application components are increasingly running across both on-premises and cloud native technologies. Crucially, IT teams need to be able to manage and optimize application availability, performance, and security within a hybrid environment to deliver seamless digital
experiences to customers and employees at all times.

The future is hybrid… and that means complexity
A whole range of factors mean that most organizations will continue to deploy a blend of cloud native and on-premises applications and infrastructure for many years to come. These include regulatory requirements in some industries which restrict how much data can be stored in the cloud, the economic slowdown which is forcing some businesses to slow down on their cloud migration plans, and the rising costs of cloud computing. There is also the fact that some businesses still prefer the control and transparency they get by keeping their IT within their own four walls, particularly those with highly valuable or sensitive intellectual property (IP).

For technologists, adapting to a hybrid environment isn’t easy - they find themselves having to get to grips with a whole new level of complexity. The rapid adoption of cloud native technologies brings overwhelming volumes of metrics, events, logs and traces (MELT) data into the IT department, which traditional monitoring tools just aren’t designed to handle. It also leads to an expansion of attack surfaces and increased vulnerability to cybersecurity threats. Visibility gaps are exposed as application components run across a mix of cloud native platforms and on-premises databases.

Currently, most IT departments are deploying separate tools to monitor on-premises and cloud applications, and this means they have no clear line of sight of the entire application path across hybrid environments. They’re having to run a split screen mode and can't see the complete path up and down the application stack. This makes it extremely difficult to troubleshoot issues, and metrics such as Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR) quickly shoot up. This explains why 94% of technologists report that the increased volume of data from multi-cloud and hybrid environments is making manual monitoring impossible.

Of course, the potential consequences of this situation are severe. Technologists don’t have the visibility and insights they need to optimize performance at all times, and therefore the likelihood of disruption and downtime to applications and digital services is increased.

Application observability is crucial to optimize performance across hybrid environments 
In order to deliver seamless digital experiences at all times, IT teams need real-time visibility into application availability and performance. And this means progressing from traditional application monitoring approaches to application observability.

Application observability provides visibility across the entire application landscape, enabling IT teams to quickly identify root causes and locations of incidents and sub-performance rather than scrambling to understand an issue.

Crucially, as organizations move to hybrid environments, technologists need to implement an application observability solution that provides flexibility to span across both cloud native and on-premises environments - with telemetry data from cloud native environments and agent-based entities within on-premises applications being ingested into the same platform. This unified visibility and insight are vital for technologists to cut through complexity and manage soaring volumes of data.

The research from Cisco AppDynamics shows that momentum around application observability is growing. 86% of technologists in Singapore claim that application observability is now a strategic priority for their organization, and more than half (54%) report that their organization is already exploring solutions. This is hugely encouraging and indicates a desire amongst technologists to finally get to grips with the complexity that has become such a drain on IT departments over the last few years.

The important thing now is to ensure they adopt the right strategy for application observability, focusing not only on technology solutions but also cultural change, fostering greater collaboration in the IT department and bringing IT teams together around a single source of truth for IT data to achieve a shared vision and objectives. Crucially, they need to adopt a strategy that is fit for purpose within both cloud native and on-premises environments and provides them with the insights they need to thrive in a hybrid environment.