Why managing application performance in the cloud is vital

In the digital era, it's now easier than ever to support a remote workforce as so many applications are moving to the cloud. Applications such as Office 365 are ensuring that employees can work from anywhere, which is especially important in the current environment, but this also raises issues for IT managers. By Kathie Lyons, EVP & GM of ParkView at Park Place Technologies.

IT teams are now having to cope with an increasing number of remote devices and services working beyond their own local network. This means monitoring and managing firewalls and VPNs while ensuring minimal network disruption. Moving applications and services to the cloud also allows businesses to cut down on hardware costs. Automatic software updates and the ability to deal with ever-growing or fluctuating bandwidth demands are also plus points when working with applications beyond the local network. The combination of these benefits enables businesses to react more quickly to evolving market conditions. And with a third of enterprise workloads now running in the cloud and just 21% hosted locally, it appears that migration to the cloud is set to continue.

While moving applications to the cloud has lots of advantages for businesses, it also presents some new challenges. The key challenge with moving applications to the cloud is that this puts them well beyond the scope of most businesses' existing network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities. IT managers need to be able to monitor application and service performance beyond the edge of their own network. This is becoming increasingly complex as new users, services and technologies are being added all the time. Managing the entire network properly is a major challenge for businesses in the increasingly cloud-centric world.

The ability to view the network whether it’s on-prem or in the cloud is an absolute must for businesses in the digital era because you can't manage what you can't see. An all-in-one management platform is the key to complete real-time visibility, enabling IT managers to monitor everything from a 'single pane of glass' so that they can pinpoint and tackle any issues that arise straight away.

Without the ability to monitor applications and services beyond their own firewall, IT managers will be unable to tell where traffic is routing or where any potential issues might be. If they don't have complete visibility they cannot see whether traffic is using the correct paths and so they are unable to guarantee that it is using the most secure route possible. This could result in security problems as well as poor performance of applications and services to end-users ultimately adversely impacting the business.

As well as having a central point of control, organisations also require a flexible management platform that can be configured and scaled up to fit their specific business needs. Support for virtual platforms is also necessary as businesses continue to move through their digital transformation journey, along with the ability to support an unlimited number of users.

It's essential to use a network management platform that provides an up-to-date view of all network assets. This enables IT engineers to quickly identify network issues so that they can address them as soon as possible. Management platforms should be flexible so that they can cater for a diverse range of industry sectors including financial, legal, telecoms, media, retail and public sector.

When managing the network, the ability to discover, trace and visualise application data paths offers businesses a major advantage. This enables IT managers to immediately spot problems with cloud-based applications or services, providing them with immediate locational and geographical context which they would not get from a simple table of data. By visualising data paths, network managers can easily spot bottlenecks, paths that have deviated from expected routes, or paths that haven't reached their destinations. As well as identifying the exact issue, this also tells IT engineers whether the problem has occurred within or outside of their local network.

Now that applications reside on the cloud it is still very important to be able to see and track latency issues for each application.High latency impacts an end-user’s productivity with poor application performance. Consequently, it is vital for IT managers to be alerted to any latency change so they can adjust before performance degrades.

Applications moving to the cloud is a trend that's set to stay, so it's vital that businesses have a way of ensuring visibility, both within their own network and beyond. Bridging the gap between application management and network management should be a priority in any IT strategy. Ensuring visibility over application network paths means that businesses can work smarter and faster, with minimal disruption, no matter where their employees are.

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