Scaling Up to Cloud: How the Channel Can Support Businesses

Full-stack observability helps link tech performance to business outcomes in hybrid cloud environments.

April 4, 2022

5 Min Read
Cloud computing concept

By Mark Maslach


Mark Maslach

The pandemic has proven that cloud computing really does deliver, with the forced march of the past two years leading to a dramatic acceleration in cloud computing initiatives. The cloud has proven it can provide greater speed, agility and resilience in the most challenging of circumstances.

Numbers of businesses have gone from running only a handful of applications in the cloud in 2020 to wanting to shift significant parts of their IT real estate to a cloud environment as quickly as possible in 2022. Channel partners continue to show that the greatest demand continues to come from clients wanting to further accelerate their move into hybrid IT environments.

The pandemic is now seen as a tipping point in the transition to cloud computing, speeding up by several years what already was an inevitable switch. Gartner forecast that worldwide global cloud revenue is estimated to total $474 billion in 2022, up from $408 billion in 2021, and predicts 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025.

However, this trend is bringing massive challenges to IT departments, who are struggling to cut through soaring complexity and optimize IT performance across an increasingly fragmented and sprawling IT estate, one that’s made up of a patchwork of legacy and cloud environments. And they’re also struggling to manage IT performance through the cloud migration process itself.

Transitioning Away from Application Monitoring

The channel has a vital role to play in helping enterprises benchmark performance before, during and after any cloud migration initiative.

Established monitoring approaches and tools have provided technologists greater visibility across traditional, legacy environments, but they don’t deliver within new hybrid cloud environments. Many organizations are facing major challenges getting any kind of visibility into applications and underlying infrastructure for large, managed Kubernetes environments running on public clouds.

The reason for this is that within a software-defined cloud environment, nothing is fixed; everything is constantly changing in real time. And that makes monitoring a lot more difficult.

Traditional approaches to monitoring were based on physical infrastructure that dealt with constants, allowing for fixed dashboards for each layer of the IT stack. The nature of cloud computing means that businesses are constantly scaling up and down their use of IT, according to real-time requirements. For instance, a company might be using three servers to support a customer-facing application, but then suddenly increase that number to meet a surge in demand in real-time, before dropping back down a few hours later.

Traditional monitoring solutions simply aren’t designed for this dynamic use of technology and that means most technologists aren’t able to get full visibility of their IT performance in a single view. A Cisco AppDynamics report revealed 70% of technologists are concerned their organization is behind industry peers in implementing observability solutions, and worryingly, 39% of technologists now report that they are being held back due to implementation challenges. The acceleration of cloud computing initiatives is undoubtedly the major driver of this issue.

Full-Stack Observability

Channel partners must act now to support the demand for full-stack observability.

These challenges explain why as many as 93% of technologists recognize there is more work to be done to deploy full-stack observability within their organization as the importance of linking technical performance to business outcomes increases.

Technologists are also fully aware that unless …

… they find a way to gain greater visibility and insight into all IT environments, they will be unable to drive the rapid, sustainable digital transformation their organizations need. Ultimately, 80% of technologists accept that organizations that fail to make significant strides in their journey toward full-stack observability will face competitive disadvantages versus their peers.

The channel has a vital role to play in helping customers transition from monitoring — and to embrace full-stack observability — with unified, real-time visibility up and down the IT stack, across both legacy and cloud environments. Only with this level of visibility can technologists proactively identify bottlenecks down to a particular server (whether traditional or cloud) and down to a single line of code. This is critical for IT departments to manage and optimize performance during any cloud migration and on an ongoing basis within a hybrid cloud environment.

Crucially, channel partners have a unique perspective on a client’s IT infrastructure across the four areas of IT operations – AppOps and DevOps, NetOps, InfraOps, and SecOps – that offer a holistic view on technology performance and optimization. Channel partners can help technologists identify key use cases at an early stage, and work with them to scope out how a full-stack observability solution can enable them to achieve and accelerate their transformation goals.

For the channel, the consequences of failing to react to this shift are potentially severe. As organizations accelerate their cloud migration initiatives and continue to move toward cloud native architecture, partners only offering traditional application performance monitoring (APM) solutions will soon be displaced and commoditized. Clients simply won’t regard them as being able to solve their biggest challenges around complexity, security and digital experience.

Those partners that are able to do this effectively, ensuring they gain the knowledge and certification they need to give strategic advice to clients, will benefit from being able to guide partners through the entire cloud migration journey, helping them to optimize and benchmark performance at all times. And in doing so, they will put themselves in the best position to take advantage of a new, largely uncontested and rapidly growing market space, creating and capturing soaring demand.

Mark Maslach is vice president of Global Channels and Strategic Alliances at AppDynamics, part of Cisco. Mark has been with Cisco for more than 22 years, holding leadership roles across channels, sales and product management. You may reach him on LinkedIn or @AppDynamics on Twitter.

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