How to use business applications efficiently

SolarWinds’ top tips for adopting an app-centric approach
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Kong Yang, ‘head geek’ at SolarWinds, discusses why being slow is as good as broke in an application-centric business.

“Time is money” – within business this phrase could not be more relevant, particularly in today’s well-connected society. As everything progresses in technology – becoming much more efficient, smarter and faster – people’s expectations are constantly growing, and so they end up frustrated when something hinders the process. When it comes to a network failure or terrible Internet connection in business – slow is the new broke.

Apps have impacted people’s lives, both in and out of work, in ways that were never imagined just five to 10 years ago. Apps have become the lifeblood of our world and as a result it is difficult to find a business which doesn’t rely on some form of app for business function. Poor visibility into converged infrastructures and outdated management of the application stack can result in frustratingly slow app performance and increased downtime. This in turn can result in a loss of productivity, lack of end user satisfaction and even reduced revenue. It can make or break a business and, of course, the responsibility lies with the IT team.

Make way for the app centric business
The IT department has traditionally worked in siloes, having servers, storage, networks and other elements managed by various teams. However, this has now changed with the development of bring-your-own-everything (BYOX). It has led to the IT professional having to meet the expectation for it to be possible to have apps available to teams anywhere, anytime on any device.

To enable this mobile use of devices and applications, traditional capabilities, like storage and networking, have been combined with cloud and virtualisation technologies. In today’s heterogeneous environments, it isn’t uncommon for the IT pro to use critical services on-premises, another within hosted infrastructure, and yet more services on public cloud servers. Although necessary in order to meet the employee’s needs, managing multiple platforms has become an increasingly complex application stack for the IT pro. When this complexity is added to an infrastructure which is already stretched, application performance can suffer.

Meeting employee expectations
The traditional structure of the siloed IT department is insufficient to ensure top performance and high availability in today’s converged infrastructure. For example, consider a company which experiences hours of downtime for their business-critical apps due to a service outage. This service spans across multiple stacks – where did the problem originate? Is it the network? Software? Storage?

IT processes must adopt an app-centric approach in order to be agile and responsive. If the business-critical apps are performing poorly, or not performing at all, the overall business is significantly affected. Therefore, a fully connected, end-to-end view of the application infrastructure is key for the IT department to match the speed of the business.

Managing the app-centric business
IT pros cannot afford to waste time in identifying causes and remediating problems in today’s app-centric world. By being unprepared and sluggish in remedying issues, they run the risk of being subject to blame games. As software-as-a-service comes into play, IT pros can now purchase IT services with the click of a mouse – this can create real change in an organisations approach to IT management.

Top tips for consideration:
- Buy for performance – In the app-centric organisation, cost-saving isn’t everything, performance is. Compute, storage and networking technology are not just an expense to your business. Investing money in technology with added performance can make for faster applications, meaning more time to grow revenue generating opportunities

- Keep it simple – A complex, multi-partner infrastructure can make identifying and fixing performance issues a time-consuming hassle. The more partners involved, the longer it takes to trouble-shoot. While it can’t all be done internally, consolidate as much of the infrastructure as possible in-house and incorporate one or two extra key partners for the rest

- Own the stack – Take control of performance across the entire stack, rather than rely too much on service provider’s monitoring capabilities. Complete visibility across the entire infrastructure is key – a single point of truth will help effective and efficient troubleshooting to quickly remedy any issues which may arise

Application performance is king
IT pros need to have overall visibility when it comes to the application stack, making it a priority to monitor end-to-end from the application through all the stack layers. By remedying problems quickly and proactively, the IT pro can impact not only the end user experience, but also the business bottom-line.

IT pros need to be prepared to navigate across the entire application stack including cloud services – or else be left behind in the race. By embracing apps and owning their management, a full app stack view can optimise performance in both the IT and overall business environment.

Kong Yang is head geek at SolarWinds
www.solarwinds.com

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