Right-sizing investments

2 min read MSPs Cloud
Adrian Taylor, vice president, A10 Networks, explains why cloud application delivery is still a work in progress for many.

It’s hard to overstate the key role of application reliability and performance for today’s organisations. To compete effectively and grow in modern digital markets, businesses must meet high customer expectations for a great experience. Hybrid workplace strategies and work-from-home policies make it all the more critical to deliver a consistent high-quality experience wherever people work. Rising cyberthreats and an expanding attack surface call for a heightened focus on security. And agility is a must to support innovation and keep pace with fast-moving markets.

To address these needs, organisations increasingly host their applications in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments. In a recent survey, we asked senior technology decision-makers about their experiences delivering applications in the cloud, and what today’s organisations need to achieve the digital resiliency on which their businesses depend.

Given the critical role of application delivery performance in digital business success, the fact that only 34 per cent of companies are highly satisfied with their application delivery controller (ADC) solution should raise eyebrows.

Running on hybrid cloud

A key finding from the survey reveals the combination of cloud approaches used by modern businesses. While most respondents continue to host applications on-premises, 85 per cent use public cloud platforms, usually more than one, and 43 per cent use private clouds.

This approach offers several potential benefits. A more diverse application infrastructure allows greater flexibility to host each application on the optimal platform, in the optimal location, to ensure availability and responsiveness. By tapping into scalable resources on-demand, companies can adapt more quickly to changing business needs, IT strategies and shifting customer demand.

Moving to more economical and flexible licensing and pay-as-you-go models can free up funds for innovation. And with the right tools, organisations can achieve better visibility into end-to-end application security and performance than a traditional on-premises data centre could offer.

Nonetheless, many organisations are hampered by delivery that fails to meet requirements.

Undermining cloud

Ensuring application delivery performance in a hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environment hinges on several key ADC functions. Global server load balancing (GSLB) is essential, as organisations need to go beyond traditional disaster recovery requirements to optimise traffic and ensure availability across multiple data centres and clouds.

With the vast majority of internet traffic now encrypted, TLS/SSL offload makes it possible to perform TLS/SSL encryption and decryption without straining server resources or creating bottlenecks.

Application acceleration and optimisation capabilities, including application analytics, fast root-cause analysis, and performance feedback for developers, are invaluable for delivering an outstanding and consistent customer experience while keeping employees fully productive and engaged.

However, application delivery solutions currently in place often fall short of these requirements. Half of survey respondents reported ongoing struggles with legacy application delivery technology. Nearly a third face challenges addressing application security threats. Over one in four experience application downtime and slow performance, and more than 20 per cent face visibility and reporting challenges.

To overcome these challenges and realise the full business benefits of their hybrid and multi-cloud strategy, these organisations will need to modernise their application delivery infrastructure.

Survey respondents understood that modernising the ADC will be essential to achieving these goals. Asked about the most important capabilities to ensure successful business objectives, 69 per cent named faster troubleshooting and root-cause analysis, which depend on centralised management, analytics, and reporting to better understand their environment and its performance.

More than half cited automation as a need to overcome challenges in IT skills development in a fast-changing technology environment, and a similar number saw a need for data analytics and application insights to guide performance optimisation, troubleshooting, security, and more.

Ensuring digital resiliency

As companies evaluate their existing ADCs and consider future investments, priorities are tied to bottom-line performance. To maximise ROI, they will need to be able to both increase revenue and control expenses. On the revenue side, better application performance will help them deliver outstanding experiences to win and retain customers in competitive markets.

A modern application delivery approach is clearly needed to help organisations right-size investments by enabling more efficient management, averting costly and disruptive security breaches, providing agile software options, and leveraging new advanced observability.