Businesses today are increasingly relying on hybrid IT environments which combine legacy applications and networks with virtualized compute, storage and network workloads that exist on-premises and in the cloud. As companies migrate workloads into hybrid cloud environments, all too often a “lift and shift” approach is taken for expediency sake, rather than taking the time to customize applications to the cloud. Of course, one of the downsides to this type of strategy is that with less customization comes a higher cost of cloud services.
With these changes to IT infrastructures come some sizable impacts to service management needs at both the business and technical levels. At the business level, as companies develop new applications and attempt to deploy them as services in the production environment at a very rapid pace (sometimes with multiple releases per day), the need for highly effective management grows exponentially.
The technical requirements of hybrid cloud environments will require increased visibility into the workloads in the cloud to better manage service quality and performance. Without access to hypervisors in the cloud it becomes difficult to instrument workloads deployed in cloud environments to maintain high levels of availability and to quickly identify the root cause of disruptions and faults. What is needed is a tool that delivers dependency mapping across all service delivery domains, including applications, networks, servers, enablers and databases, revealing how everything is connected based on pervasive instrumentation of on-premises and cloud environments. This vital information must be made available to all IT teams within an organization, so they share common situational awareness, allowing them to reduce mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and time wasted in war rooms.
The Paradigm Shift toward Software and Microservices
Over the course of the next 12 to 24 months, we expect to see a growing reliance on truly distributed architectures, such as microservices running in hybrid cloud environments on-premises and in the cloud. Because some applications will have “crown-jewels” data associated with them, security concerns may dictate that some of the microservices run in on-premises data centers, while other components of the same application will run as microservices in the cloud. To complicate things further, such a hybrid environment may operate across multiple, multi-vendor cloud providers.
Thus, there will be more containers and more independent pieces of software that must communicate with each other through APIs. In this complex environment, it will become increasingly important to be able to instrument everything, gain visibility into everything, and correlate and identify the interdependencies across these components of the microservices and their supporting infrastructure.
These changes are not going to happen overnight, but we are already seeing more and more microservices and containers being implemented. Clearly, the rapid pace of digital transformation is spurring the introduction of new business models, creating tremendous disruption. The adoption of an information-based economy is already occurring, as more and more companies begin to generate greater value from information than from physical assets. The data being harnessed to offer new applications and services to customers is fast becoming a key business differentiator.
At NETSCOUT, we are in the process of disrupting ourselves, as we migrate into a software company. Over our 30-year history, we established ourselves as an industry-leader with wire-data instrumentation products that physically reside in the datacenter. But now we are introducing a complementary software-based approach that offers pervasive instrumentation. This will allow our customers to instrument traffic flows, or wire-data, and application running in a variety of environments such as the datacenter server farms and the cloud. This software-based instrumentation would allow our customers to obtain critical insights into all interdependencies across the entire hybrid IT environment. By pairing our analytics products with “Smart Data” based on pervasive instrumentation, IT will be able to connect and monitor application and network performance in more pervasive ways than ever before.
A core result: meeting service management needs will become a far less daunting prospect.