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Three considerations for technologists managing on-premises and hybrid environments

Last updated on June 20th, 2023 at 09:52 am

Cloud native technologies have dominated the IT agenda over the last three years. Across the industry, the focus has been on how organizations are embracing no code and low code platforms to accelerate release velocity and deliver digital transformation goals and not on managing on-premises computing and hybrid environments.

So much so that it’s sometimes easy to overlook that most organizations continue to deploy a large part of their IT estate on-premises. For all the hype surrounding modern application stacks, a great number of IT teams still spend most of their time focusing on developing, managing and upgrading their applications. 

With that in mind, and so they don’t feel overlooked, here are three critical considerations for those technologists managing on-premises computing and hybrid environments.

On-premises computing is a mainstay

You might not think so from reading headlines, but the reality is that numerous organizations will continue to deploy on-premises technologies for many years to come. Of course, the shift to cloud computing will continue to accelerate (and attract the limelight) but, as many organizations are now realizing, cloud migration takes time. And it involves significant investment, something many businesses aren’t prepared to take on in the current economic climate. Already, we’re seeing many IT leaders re-evaluating their cloud strategies as cloud costs rise

It’s also worth remembering that there are some industries where wide scale migration to cloud native technologies just isn’t an option. For example, the public sector where there are huge security and privacy factors at play, due to the sensitive nature of the data they manage. Federal governments must adhere to strict requirements to operate air-gapped environments, with no access to the internet, and there are similar regulations for state and regional government agencies, as well as healthcare organizations. These requirements make it almost impossible to move to a public cloud environment.

But it’s not just the public sector that is contending with this sort of situation. Financial services institutions must comply with tight data sovereignty rules which dictate that customer data remains within national borders. Organizations can’t afford the slightest slip up – otherwise they face big fines and severe reputational damage. 

While some IT leaders may wish they could move more of their IT estate into cloud native environments, but are restricted from doing so, there are other instances where it just makes more sense for organizations to keep elements of their IT on-premises. 

We work with a number of major global brands that choose not to place their data in the cloud because of the huge volumes of sensitive intellectual property (IP) they own. They’re not prepared to take the risk (however small) of storing this IP outside their organization. IT leaders want to retain the control that on-premises computing provides in comparison to cloud. They want total visibility on where their data resides, and they want to handle their own upgrades within their own four walls. 

Then, while cloud native technologies are perceived to be more exciting, there will continue to be a need for some business-critical applications to remain on-premises, for a long time to come. 

IT teams need unified visibility across on-premises computing and cloud environments

Technologists need to ensure they’re able to manage and optimize on-premises applications and supporting infrastructure in order to deliver seamless digital experiences at all times. And in a growing number of cases, they need to monitor applications within a hybrid environment, where application components are running across both legacy and public cloud environments. 

IT teams need real-time visibility into IT availability and performance up and down the IT stack, from customer-facing applications to core infrastructure. This allows them to quickly identify causes and locations of incidents and sub-performance, rather than being reactive, having to spend large amounts of time trying to understand an issue.

Critically, technologists need to connect IT data with real-time business metrics so they can quickly identify the most serious issues which could really impact end user experience. 

Increasingly, as organizations move to hybrid environments, IT teams need unified visibility across their entire IT estate. However, many IT departments are still deploying separate tools to monitor cloud and on-premises applications, so they can’t generate a clear line of sight of the entire application path across hybrid environments. They’re having to run a split screen mode and can’t see the complete path up and down the application stack. This makes it extremely challenging to troubleshoot issues, and key metrics such as MTTR and MTTX inevitably increase.

This is why organizations need to implement an observability platform which can span across both cloud native and on-premises environments – with telemetry data from cloud native environments and agent-based entities within legacy applications being ingested into the same platform. This unified visibility and insight are vital for IT teams to cut through data noise and complexity and to make informed, real-time decisions based on business impact. 

IT teams need to manage scale and speed in an on-premises environment

One of the big advantages of cloud computing is that it enables organizations to scale their use of IT automatically and dynamically, with minimal or zero human input. But within an on-premises computing environment, it’s down to IT teams to manage scale and speed themselves. 

This becomes particularly challenging when there are major fluctuations in demand. In several industries, there are always spiking events at points in the calendar. Retail has Black Friday and Cyber Monday, tax and revenue services have deadlines for tax returns and payments and financial services firms see huge increases in payment transactions around major holidays. 

IT teams need to be prepared to manage these changes in demand, particularly when they’re deploying on-premises applications and infrastructure. They can’t afford disruption or downtime with their business critical applications at the most important moments of the year. 

In order to manage these types of surges in demand, technologists need tools which provide dynamic baselining capabilities to trigger additional capacity within their hyperscale environment. This alleviates the huge pressures on IT teams managing on-premises applications during the busiest times of the year, and enables them to focus their attention on strategic, customer-facing priorities. 

IT leaders therefore can’t ignore the present and focus all their attention on the future. They need to provide their technologists with the tools and insights required to optimize availability and performance within on-premises and hybrid environments, and the capabilities to predict and respond to spikes in demand.

With a hybrid observability strategy, IT teams can correlate telemetry data into the overarching mix of already instrumented applications through traditional agent-based monitoring systems. This unified visibility across on-premises and cloud environments will enable technologists to always deliver seamless digital experiences, both now, and in the future. 

By Gregg Ostrowski, CTO Advisor, Cisco AppDynamics

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Gregg Ostrowski
Gregg Ostrowski
Gregg Ostrowski is executive CTO at AppDynamics.