Now that cloud computing is all the rage these days, many organizations are starting to realize just how complex managing distributed computing at scale across a hybrid cloud environment really is.
A new survey of 900 business executives conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Riverbed Technology finds that 83 percent are aware they will find troubleshooting application performance issues in the age of the hybrid cloud more difficult than they do today. And, that issue creates a major opportunity for IT services providers going into 2016.
The Riverbed survey finds that nearly all respondents (96 percent) use cloud-based enterprise applications, and 84 percent expect that their company’s use of cloud-based enterprise applications will increase over the next two years. Executives identified the benefits of cloud-based enterprise apps as increased flexibility (58 percent), increased productivity (53 percent), cost savings (46 percent), increased agility (41 percent), and increased collaboration (40 percent).
Application performance challenges
Application performance inside traditional data center environments is already a major issue. In fact, the survey respondents noted that application performance affects everything from employee productivity (51 percent) and customer satisfaction (43 percent) to the perception of their brand (32 percent) and employee morale (29 percent). The biggest source of frustration, however, may be the simple fact that 71 percent of survey respondents say they have frequently felt “in the dark” about why their enterprise applications are running slowly.
The reason application performance is such a major concern is that most data centers consist of islands of products and services. Each product comes with its own management framework, and those frameworks rarely share information. That makes it extremely difficult to holistically manage IT. Instead, every time there is an issue IT organizations convene a “war room” to determine who and what is responsible for the problem. Unfortunately, they generally spend 10 times as much effort on trying to determine the source of the problem than it takes to actually fix it.
That situation is only going to become more exacerbated in a hybrid cloud computing world where IT organizations are dependent on external networks and data centers where they have little or no ability to actually see what's occurring.
A holistic approach to IT management
The good news is that almost every piece of IT infrastructure now exposes some type of application programming interface (API). Those APIs are making it simpler to collect data in a single management repository that can correlate IT events across all the layers of IT infrastructure, as well as the applications running on top of that infrastructure. For that reason, the cost of delivering a holistic set of IT management services should drop in the months and years ahead.
Most internal IT organizations are not going to be in a position to craft a holistic approach to managing IT across hybrid cloud computing environments any time soon, though. That's why they'll need to depend more on external IT services providers that have already developed the expertise needed to track IT events across multiple data centers regardless of who owns them or the networks that connect them.
For all the concerns about the rise of cloud computing as an alternative to on-premise IT, the truth is that going forward applications will be deployed across both environments. The end result is a more complex IT environment that will be even more difficult to manage. So, as far as IT service providers are concerned, the rise of the hybrid cloud should prove to be the most beneficial IT development to occur in a very long time indeed.