Managing digital complexity across cloud-native environments

Cisco AppDynamics

By Antoine Le Tard, global VP for APJC, Cisco AppDynamics
Wednesday, 09 March, 2022

Managing digital complexity across cloud-native environments

For the past 22 months, technologists have been at the forefront of their organisation’s response to the pandemic. Across all industries, IT teams have been driving rapid innovation, from launching new digital services to meet the remote and hybrid workforce requirements of their organisation, to supporting the ever-increasing demands and expectations of customers.

Whilst IT teams have successfully scaled-up their digital initiatives, responding to the needs of the organisation, many technologists are now left struggling to monitor the health and performance of a sprawling, distributed IT estate across a patchwork of legacy and cloud infrastructure. And according to our latest Agents of Transformation report, they find themselves increasingly unable to switch off from work, with a vast majority working longer hours and operating under intense pressure — constantly worried about making a costly mistake.

The issue is that IT teams do not have access to the right tools, data and insights necessary for 360-degree visibility across this new IT environment, resulting in constant firefighting involving time-consuming, manual intervention as they struggle to identify issues and prioritise their actions. Understandably, the result is that technologists are experiencing increased levels of frustration and anxiety. Here we explore four key areas critical to taking the stress out of monitoring performances across the cloud:

Commit to full-stack observability across cloud environments

A major challenge in gaining full visibility into applications and cloud environments is that traditional performance monitoring tools are not designed for use in a dynamic, distributed, sprawling software-defined environment that fluctuates IT scalability based on business needs.

Adopting a purpose-built solution, capable of delivering full-stack observability across the cloud architecture — from server, to database, to hybrid, cloud-native environments and most importantly, the internet — is essential to detect issues for an early and easy response.

Avoid overly complicated dashboards and opt for technology that truly integrates all aspects of infrastructure like compute, storage and network, with the business-critical application services they run on to allow for easy identification and access to compromised areas of the applications, including the internet.

Tie IT performance with business results

Once effective, full visibility of real-time health and performance across cloud environments has been implemented, teams can start to go beyond simple monitoring, by connecting that performance data with business metrics. Connecting real-time IT performance insights with business outcomes, such as customer experience KPIs and business KPIs, allows the user to cut through data across the entire IT stack and prioritise business and user/customer impact first, every time.

Considering IT performance data through a business lens will significantly improve how organisations manage daily workloads, by focusing time and effort on areas and activities that will make a tangible difference while easing the anxiety of monitoring.

Ensure your talent has the right skills and tools

58% of technologists have reported a lack of skills within their IT departments to effectively deliver and connect IT observability with business data. Addressing this gap will require business leaders to invest in the skills set of their teams, through recruiting high-quality talent or committing to the upskilling of their existing teams.

Giving teams both the right tools and skill sets to navigate cloud environments will ultimately ease pressure on existing teams along with providing a path to progressing skills, and building confidence in their careers.

That said, filling the skills gap should not be the sole responsibility of internal IT teams. More than ever technologists should look to their technology partners — whether that’s vendors or channel partners — and lean on them to give expert advice and consultancy.

The Agents of Transformation 2021 report exposed a level of confusion and uncertainty amongst technologists with regard to the types of monitoring and observability solutions that are now available to them. 71% of technologists are wary of misleading claims from vendors who are re-labelling monitoring as observability. Clearly, aligning with the right partner at the start of the journey to observability is critical.

Prepare for the future by embracing AI

Choosing the best observability solution, investing in the right skills and partnering with a vendor that truly understands the needs of the organisation will go a long way to taking the stress out of monitoring performance across cloud-native environments. But there is still the potential for IT teams to — over time — be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of data flowing across their IT environment. They will inevitably be unable to dedicate the necessary degree of resources and skills to effectively manage and optimise performance across the entire IT infrastructure. Ultimately, the long-term solution to taking the stress out of cloud monitoring will be to futureproof the organisation with intelligent technology.

Moving beyond time-consuming, manual interventions to monitor health and respond to anomalies will see automation and AI play a crucial role in large-scale public cloud environments. Teams will automate and optimise IT performance across the entire IT stack. AI will become a seamless part of digital business health and enable technologists to identify even the smallest technology problems before they become an issue and have an impact on end users and the business.

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