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Technologists in all industries are recognizing the need for visibility across their cloud environments to cope with the soaring complexity they are encountering across an ever more fragmented and dynamic IT estate, complicated further by the advent of micro services, kubernetes and other container based environments.

The surge in cloud computing initiatives over the past two years has exposed a need for new generation solutions that will change the paradigm from monitoring to observability in a software-defined, cloud environment where everything is changing in real-time. 

In particular, rapid adoption of cloud-native technologies such as micro services and Kubernetes over the last two years are presenting a major challenge for technologists who are all too aware of the need to deliver exceptional  digital experiences to customers and employees at all times. 

While monitoring solutions have evolved to accommodate rising deployments of cloud alongside traditional on premise environments, the reality is that most were not natively designed to handle the scale and complexity of dynamic and highly volatile cloud-native environments that we increasingly see today.

About the question of scale - these highly distributed systems rely on thousands of containers and spawn a massive volume of metrics, events, logs and traces (MELT) telemetry every second. And currently, most technologists simply don’t have a way to cut through this overwhelming data volume and noise when troubleshooting problems caused by infrastructure-related issues that span across hybrid environments.

Technologists are increasingly looking to move beyond silo-based domain monitoring and achieve full-stack observability, where they can quickly transform availability and performance data from up and down their IT stack and turn this into unified and actionable insight based on business context. 

Indeed, the latest AppDynamics report, The Journey to Observability, reveals that more than half of businesses (54%) have now started the transition to full-stack observability, and a further 36% plan to do so during 2022.

The need for a cloud-native solution

The main driver for this soaring appetite for full-stack observability is the fact that technologists are recognizing that most traditional monitoring solutions aren’t designed to handle dynamic and highly volatile cloud-native environments. 

Traditional approaches to availability and performance were often based on long-lived physical or virtualized infrastructure. Flash back 10 years, and IT departments operated a fixed number of servers and network wires - they were dealing with constants and fixed dashboards for each layer of the IT stack. The introduction of cloud computing added a new level of complexity, organizations found themselves continually scaling up and down their use of IT, based on real-time business needs.

While monitoring solutions have adapted to accommodate rising deployments of cloud alongside traditional on premise environments, the reality is that most were not designed to efficiently handle the dynamic and highly volatile cloud-native environments that we increasingly see today. 

With traditional APM solutions, it can be difficult for technologists to generate real-time visibility into applications and underlying infrastructure for large, managed kubernetes environments running on public clouds. 

Instead, technologists need a new generation, cloud-native observability solution, to provide visibility into highly dynamic and complex cloud native applications and technology stack.

In order for technologists to properly understand how their applications are behaving, they need visibility across the application level, into the supporting digital services (such as Kubernetes) and into the underlying infrastructure-as-code (IaC) services (such as compute, server, database and network) they leverage from their cloud providers.

But before rushing to implement a solution to this evolving challenge, there are some important factors for technologists to consider before bringing in observability into cloud environments.

For instance, technologists should aim to implement a purpose-built solution that can observe distributed and dynamic cloud native applications. Traditional monitoring solutions continue to play a vital role - and will do so for years to come - but it becomes problematic when cloud / microservices monitoring and management capabilities are bolted onto existing monitoring and APM solutions. Too often, when new use cases are added to existing solutions, data remains disconnected and siloed, forcing users to jump from tab to tab as they try to identify the root causes of performance issues. Very few of these solutions provide complete visibility, including insight into business metrics or run-time security visibility, and most of them are naturally biased towards a particular layer of the IT stack depending on their founding legacy, whether that is the application or core infrastructure.

Technologists need flexibility and support to move at their own pace

However, despite all of the excitement around cloud observability, it’s worth remembering that the shift to cloud-native applications isn’t going to happen overnight for the vast majority of businesses. Every organisation is charting its own unique digital transformation journey, at its own speed and on its own scale. 

We all know how challenging digital transformation is, particularly within large enterprises where it can take time to implement change, whether that is lifting and shifting legacy technology or bringing in new thinking and ways of working. While some organisations are progressing rapidly along their transformation journey, others are still taking their first tentative steps. 

The reality is that most enterprise businesses are still running the majority of their core application portfolio within traditional compute and operational environments. And whilst they may have intentions to make the shift to cloud-native environments over the next few years, most of them are not there yet. Within many organisations, traditional monitoring and APM solutions are still performing a vital function, enabling technologists to identify issues and take appropriate action within specific domains. And for many, this will continue to be the case for some time to come.

This is why it’s important for technologists to be thinking about both their current needs and their future needs. They need to work with partners who can meet them where they’re currently at and then help them to transition to a cloud-native platform in a gradual, seamless and cost-effective manner, when the time is right for them. That could be in the next 2 years or 5 years or another decade.

Full-stack observability has become a crucial component of every major digital transformation initiative, to ensure that organisations are able to deliver on their objectives and maximise return on investment. The key for technologists is to develop an observability strategy that can flex to support their organisation as it progresses on its transformation journey, and to work with a partner that can deliver the right observability solution with the right support structure and consultative guidance along the way.

Disclaimer: This article is a paid publication and does not have journalistic/editorial involvement of Hindustan Times. Hindustan Times does not endorse/subscribe to the content(s) of the article/advertisement and/or view(s) expressed herein. Hindustan Times shall not in any manner, be responsible and/or liable in any manner whatsoever for all that is stated in the article and/or also with regard to the view(s), opinion(s), announcement(s), declaration(s), affirmation(s) etc., stated/featured in the same. 

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