The digital transformation sweeping the globe is having a profound impact on how businesses operate, interact with their workforce and partners, as well as how they deliver a rich experience to customers anytime, anyplace, and on any device.
Let’s face it, we now live in a hyper-connected world.
How organizations apply and use digital technologies, though, would not be possible without the advent of the on-demand model of cloud computing, in which computing, storage and network resources, software and services are made available to the user on-demand.
Today’s business environment requires a more agile and responsive approach to ever-changing marketplace demands and rapid-pace technological advances. Older infrastructures, applications, processes, and yes, legacy systems, that hamper innovation and market responsiveness just don’t cut it in today’s digital economy.
The emergence of new business models
Over the past five years or more, there has been a lot of talk about “living in a data-driven world,” one in which businesses – and people in their personal lives – are inundated with information which can either overwhelm them or, if harnessed efficiently, offer priceless insight.. Information that is organized and analyzed efficiently can help business professionals make better business decisions and the elasticity and scalability of cloud computing can help with this process. For instance, storing data on premise requires a significant capital expense upfront and significant time to plan, to acquire and to deploy the initiative.
By utilizing the public cloud services businesses can convert capital into operational expense and pay as they grow and at the same time be more agile and expand, or if necessary contract their service infrastructure in alignment with their business needs. What’s more, a cloud infrastructure — whether managed by a company or a cloud provider — offers scalable web servers for peak season traffic, giving businesses the ability to only use resources when they need them and turn off resources when they don’t need them.
In a traditional business model, a company would have to spend a lot of money on equipment to operate. Typically, company officials would have to first invest the capital and work to bring in the sales to fill the expanded capacity and pay for the capital expenditure. In the digital transformation model, a company can commit to the cloud and surge its capacity on an as-needed basis, while switching that capacity to an operating expense, paid for with the increased demand.
Virtualization is a foundational technology of cloud computing, which helps companies with their own private clouds and public cloud providers to deliver infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) and software as a service(SaaS), such as outsourced call centers, for example. Virtualization technology makes it possible to run, concurrently, multiple virtual machines, operating systems and applications on the same physical host. As a result, since not all applications are operating at full capacity all the time, statistical multiplexing helps increase the efficiency, utilization and flexibility of the compute, storage and networking resources in the cloud and reduce IT costs.
It’s important to note that the move to the cloud and taking advantage of all that flexibility is not risk-free. A company cannot just blindly rely on cloud providers to manage all of its services. At the end of the day, the CIO is responsible for making sure the business services are delivered to customers and internal users and operations are running smoothly, securely and without disruptions. Even though a cloud service provider may sign on to meet specific service level agreements, the CIO needs to have a holistic view of the service quality independent of the provider who is managing multiple clients. Furthermore, the cloud providers do not have visibility into all the interconnecting components of their customers’ environments and their respective customers and employees.
As more companies adopt the concept of hybrid clouds, which mix and match private, internal clouds and other IT infrastructure with public clouds, it becomes more difficult to get that holistic view and effectively manage the end-to-end service performance. Tracking down a service disruption across three different domains, and the complex dependencies between those domains, is no small feat.
The CIO needs broad visibility across all applications, physical and virtual servers, and networks – both on premise and in the cloud. To assure service delivery they need the tools to normalize and correlate the data across all those domains to be able to identify all service delivery dependencies and proactively identify and resolve problems. So what are really needed are pervasive visibility, or instrumentation, capabilities that identify not only where the disturbance is taking place, but who is responsible for addressing it and what upstream and downstream dependencies are being affected.
Since every digital action and transaction traverses a network, either physical, virtual or hybrid, traffic data offers the most coherent source of service insight. This means the ability to tap into traffic data, continuously collect, organize and analyze it, and correlate with complementary data sources such as flow-data, synthetic transactions, and logs is a critical service assurance requirement. It is the foundation for generating smart metadata that will provide the correlation between the physical and virtual environments needed to create real-time holistic views of service performance, help establish performance baselines and facilitate service- oriented troubleshooting workflows.