Achieving full visibility in a cloudy hybrid environment

By Wimpie van Rensburg, Country Manager at Sub Saharan Africa at Riverbed Technology

As the digital transformation wave sweeps through enterprises, users now expect 24/7 access to applications on whatever device they want to use. As a result, a growing number of organisations are migrating applications and information stores to public and private cloud solutions, so that hybrid IT architectures—where information is stored in the cloud as well as on local systems – have become the norm.

These complex networks have made monitoring the performance of all the applications and systems that run across them more and more difficult, costly and time-consuming for IT, and enterprises worldwide are realising how much more difficult ensuring consistent application performance levels is becoming within a hybrid environment. As shown in Riverbed’s Global Application Performance Survey, for businesses that take a fragmented approach to performance management, this can mean a negative impact on productivity and ultimately, on the bottom line.  Today’s companies need a fully integrated, proactive, agile approach to managing application performance that is directly tied to business value.

The agility challenge

According to EMA’s recent Network Management Megatrends 2016 study, 90 per cent of enterprises have put in place precise hybrid cloud deployment plans and are moving ahead with their implementation. Seventy per cent have either already completed a production hybrid cloud deployment or are in the process of doing so. The remaining 20 per cent plan to do so within the next two years. For most of these organisations, the deployment process will be ongoing, as applications and businesses’ needs evolve. In order to increase agility, IT is always evaluating and adopting cloud services and related technologies to deliver applications faster.

But achieving that agility has become a common stumbling block. Applications can fail or underperform for a multitude of reasons; such as the application code can be problematic, network issues can create connectivity issues, or the servers can fail. In response, most users blame these problems on IT and many (71 per cent) say they frequently feel “in the dark” about why their enterprise applications are running slowly.

Adopting a holistic view of the network

Most companies take a fragmented approach to application performance management. Separate IT teams leverage specialised tools to investigate network traffic, real-time communications problems, infrastructure, and application performance-related issues. Each team sees only part of the transaction, and effective communication between those teams is challenging because they are using different, unsynchronised metrics. As a result, IT wastes time trying to determine the root cause for performance problems instead of fixing them. This translates into a reactive approach which falls short in the complex, application-driven world.

Instead, the answer is to establish holistic, real-time, end-to-end visibility into cloud and on-premise application performance across the entire network, so that IT can establish a clear line of sight into how apps are performing, and how they impact on the end-user experience. By identifying the cause of performance issues, IT can fix them before users even notice, and proactively improve performance. This improved visibility into application performance will result in increased productivity and revenue for the organisation, as well as improved customer service, product quality and employee engagement.

New technologies that allow visibility, optimisation and control, provide centralised visibility and insight to ensure optimal performance of enterprise applications, while maximising IT efficiency and productivity. Equally important, these new tools provide IT with the ability to configure application infrastructures so that they respond to the organisation’s needs, and integrate these infrastructures with other systems within the network, ensuring flawless delivery and the best user experience.

Lifting the clouds to gain visibility

With the increasing use of cloud technology, and the sheer unprecedented mass of data that is now being generated across enterprise networks, ensuring the best possible application performance is more important than ever. Striving to be more agile, businesses will only be able to stay ahead if they have a clear view of how all applications are performing, no matter where they are located. Once they successfully address this issue, they will have the performance insight they need to ensure they deliver and maintain business-critical applications within a hybrid environment, achieving increased productivity and an improved bottom line.

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