If you can answer these questions, you have good app visibility

Managing applications and the network and compute infrastructure around them was simple. Everything was in a private data center and there weren’t a lot of apps to start with. But with the adoption of hybrid cloud, applications now run in multiple private and public cloud environments managed by different teams and different tools.

Managing applications while maintaining visibility in this era has become a challenge. Here are three questions infrastructure managers can ask themselves to determine if they have good application visibility:

  1. How many applications has your organization deployed in the cloud?
  2. How healthy are your apps?
  3. If something is wrong with an app – a cyberattack, a performance issue, or just too many errors – how will you know before the app user complains?

In most cases, answering these questions in real time with certainty will take a lot of effort even if the data to do so already exists somewhere.

Research in 2021 by Enterprise Strategy Group found that only 5% of organizations had cloud management tools consolidated into three or fewer tools to manage their private/virtual cloud and public cloud environments. Surprisingly, the remaining 95% still lacked a way to monitor the performance and user experience of their cloud applications.

the multi cloud paradigm has led us to believe that we can work seamlessly in any environment we choose. While this assumption is true to some extent, the issue of application performance and security analysis is easy to downplay.

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At Radware, we believe that adhering to the following three principles enables organizations to answer all of the above questions, no matter how many applications and cloud environments they use.

1. Standardization

Companies should use the same tools to monitor applications across all clouds they have deployed. Every organization uses load balancers to ensure high availability and scalability. But what if this load balancer could also collect information about application health, usage, and security status by providing monitoring data to a centralized analytics engine?

To achieve this would require load balancing and application protection systems to collect the same information using the same metrics from all application environments. For example, most traditional application delivery controllers (ADC) offer the ability to run their ADC in all major public and private cloud environments and collect application health information. In doing so, they help standardize both ADC technology and the collection of performance metrics across multi-cloud applications. This normalization cannot be provided by native cloud load balancing services.

2. Simplicity

Some DevOps teams circumvent the standardization requirement by creating their own solutions to collect application information. While this bespoke approach has benefits, it typically requires integration with the application and environment, which complicates the solution and often results in less than desired application monitoring coverage. In contrast, the monitoring capabilities included in most leading ADCs are extremely simple to deploy and use and easily enable 100% application coverage.

3. Insightful and Actionable Analytics

It’s not that it’s impossible to collect important information about the app’s status, health, and security. The challenge is to translate this information into meaningful insights and corrective actions.

To proactively manage application health and security, the following is required:

  • A simple standardized solution that collects relevant application information across all applications.
  • A reporting tool that:
    • Alerts on possible SLA violations while exploring to find the root cause of a service issue.
    • Provides information on more general issues with clear recommendations for solving them.

To ensure good application performance, these combined technologies should monitor and report as much of the infrastructure serving the application as possible. The infrastructure includes, for example, the network, the application delivery controller (ADC), and any application security solutions that are deployed. A slow network, an overloaded ADC, or a beleaguered attack vector can all degrade performance and impact the application’s ability to meet its SLAs.

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Building a monitoring solution with advanced analytics that adheres to the above guidelines will make it easy for IT professionals to answer the three questions outlined at the start of this article. It will also allow them to maintain visibility and proactively manage all application SLAs, regardless of the environment in which they have been deployed. ADC systems are good candidates to meet all the challenges mentioned here. They provide a key resource for delivering metrics that can be used to measure and monitor end-to-end application performance.

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