The business impacts arising from the pandemic forever changed the way we operate businesses. With a rise in working from home and the need to have business-critical information available remotely and in real-time, there is increased pressure on IT leaders to operate efficient cloud-based systems. In fact, a study by AppDynamics found that 75% of Australian technologists believed COVID-19 had created the most significant technology pressure for their organisation that they have ever experienced.
A 2020 study also found that more than half of companies have reported a public-cloud based system has improved their ability to meet business targets. The case for a multi-cloud strategy in Australia has undoubtedly been made with the 2020 Global Ransomware Resiliency Report reporting almost two-thirds of Australian companies (57%) are running a multi-cloud environment and use between 15-20 cloud services. The continuing evolution of sophisticated, scalable cloud architectures — native and hybrid — has meant that organisations can reap the benefits of modern cloud infrastructures and microservices architecture to boost productivity and increase cost savings.
However with the benefits of cloud technology comes the logistical headache for many companies as they try to manage highly complex, multi-site, cross-platform deployments, making it difficult for IT leaders, CIOs and CTOs to prove the benefits of moving to the cloud. They must have a seamless way to monitor, configure, and optimise their business’s entire technology stack through a single lens. Failure to manage observability can see enterprises stumble and risk negating the benefits of cloud altogether.
Scale, adapt and grow with the cloud
The benefits of the cloud in terms of flexibility, innovation, collaboration and reduced costs are evident. However, often the move to the cloud has also led to a more complex, distributed application architecture and configuration. Some components remain on-site while the rest move to the cloud, which creates a hybrid architecture that is more challenging to manage.
The challenge moves beyond ‘lift and shift’ applications to managing a fundamental change in how applications are built, deployed and operated. Complexity is normalised when it comes to development, migration, modernisation and maintenance, which adds significant pressure for IT and operations teams. The situation has been further exacerbated by the pandemic, with two thirds (66%) of Australian technologists being asked to perform tasks and activities they have never done before. In recent months, COVID -19 has necessitated an acceleration towards cloud technology, as businesses of all sizes have rapidly embraced remote working and digital-only strategies. Roy Morgan research conducted during the first wave of the virus in Australia found 32% of the population worked from home between April and May 2020, with up to 60 per cent of Australian workers wanting to work remotely for two or three days a week in the future.
Without the cloud, the rapid transition to remote operations, uptake in collaborative tools and software and changed workforce behaviour would not be possible.
These increasing deployments of infrastructure and applications built for the cloud, coupled with a hybrid cloud landscape, means enterprises are struggling to keep up, and therefore at risk of failing to fulfil their customers’ needs. With an increase in IT spending, there’s also a need, across the enterprise, to show how these newly implemented cloud-enabled, digital services are driving customer and business value. To succeed in managing multi and hybrid cloud apps, enterprises must be able to observe and track performance and application statuses across platforms and to be able to directly link performance data to increases in productivity and/or revenue increases.
The power of observability and monitoring
With the right tailored hybrid-cloud management solution, enterprises can track performance and application status across sites and platforms, regardless of whether they are public or private cloud platforms. Observability is critical as it provides the raw, granular data necessary to gain an in-depth understanding of complex and highly distributed systems.
With observability, organisations can maintain visibility across their application environment, from a browser session request to a backend database call. AppDynamics auto-discovers the flow of all traffic requests in an IT environment to visualise performance and uses machine learning to automate anomaly detection, reduce MTTR and correlate software and business performance metrics, so IT teams can swiftly diagnose application performance problems.
Because the management console responsible for observing and resolving issues sits as a layer of intelligence across all platforms — and allows businesses to combine data from and apply policies to any of those platforms — companies are still free to choose the best cloud solutions for their individual needs. They aren’t locked in to any one cloud solution. They can determine whichever is best for the task at hand.
More importantly, businesses can quickly assess how well the infrastructure supports the applications, and spot any bottlenecks and load issues in real-time. It also allows IT teams to dynamically allocate resources and adjust workload placement to optimise performance and costs. By doing that, businesses can avert low-performance situations, leading to bad customer experiences and lost sales. Observability provides validation and fine-grained understanding that highly distributed applications and systems work as they should.
Despite the sound business case for holistic monitoring, fewer than 15% of enterprises implement it, something which — according to research by Gartner — risks putting the benefits expected from $255 billion of investments in cloud-based solutions at risk.
Observability offers more intricate views of the technical details required by engineers. To have an effective cloud-based business it is critical to ensure it is working at an optimum level. When a company doesn’t have adequate monitoring and/or observability, across its entire IT landscape, the cloud’s benefits almost vanish entirely.