This is the definition of location-independent computing. The ability to turn distance and location into a competitive advantage by hosting applications and data in optimal locations, while ensuring flawless application performance and the best user experience. The Middle East and North Africa’s appetite for applications and services being delivered to devices irrespective of geographic location is evident from the region’s growing interest in cloud computing – which enables precisely this. Gartner has, in fact, predicted that from 2013 through 2017, $3.8 billion will be spent on cloud services in the region.
Taj ElKhayat, Managing Director, Middle East, Turkey, North, West, and Central Africa at Riverbed Technology says that achieving true location-independent computing requires an application performance platform that maintains visibility no matter where or when the applications are located or accessed. But what challenges are IT leaders facing when moving towards location-independent computing?
The Corporate Network has changed
The corporate network has evolved to support access literally anywhere. Technologies like Wi-Fi have freed users from the constraints of physical cabling and widespread accessibility has been made available by Internet Service Providers such as cable operators and mobile phone companies. This means that IT does not control the entire delivery path for modern enterprise applications, which introduces challenges in terms of performance and availability.
BYOD is the new norm
Long gone are the days when computers were constrained by being bulky, immovable devices, tethered by cables to the corporate network in a corporate office. Smartphones and tablets now surpass all other forms of computing both in terms of innovation and consumer interest. These new platforms require a different approach to application development, in order to support variations in form factor, differences in browsers, and the variety of operating environments.
The expectations for availability of information and applications have never been greater. Today, we operate in a 24/7 global workplace. Therefore, IT must ensure that the systems supporting the business and systems used for remote access for employees are always available to support these increased expectations. Even a small performance issue or momentary application outage could result in substantial revenue loss or damage to customer relationships.
Billions of Apps Served
The number of business critical applications in the typical enterprise has grown significantly and successfully developing and implementing new mission-critical applications could well mean a competitive advantage for the business. This has resulted in a substantial portion of the IT budget being allocated to the groups responsible for building and delivering applications and has led to IT having an even greater role in the success of the business. With IT’s success intrinsically linked to these critical business applications, having comprehensive visibility into application performance and end-user experience has never been more important.
Cheaper, Faster, Better
Organisations are under pressure to reduce costs. As a result, many are turning towards initiatives such as data centre consolidation, cloud computing and virtualization to ensure that capacity is aligned with demand and shift it outside of the traditional data centre. Implementing any of these solutions significantly changes how an application is delivered. This means applications can no longer be treated as “static” because the underlying infrastructure that services the application might completely change over time.
Virtualisation is not just for Servers any longer
Over fifteen years ago the move towards virtualization started with the creation of technology to virtualize servers. That trend has continued with the move towards virtualization of network infrastructure commonly known as the Software Defined Data Centre (SDDC) or the Software Defined Network (SDN). As this trend develops, it will further confound any effort to understand why an application is unavailable or performing poorly as there may be nothing about how the application is being delivered that is the same as it was when initially deployed.
With a multitude of challenges to overcome, providing visibility into critical services is a daunting task. As a result, businesses need the support of a trusted application performance management solution that can understand both the logical network and physical infrastructure. For IT teams, this means implementing a flexible monitoring solution that can be embedded as part of the infrastructure, monitors end-user experience directly and can efficiently store and retrieve the relevant data quickly. Only those businesses that invest in monitoring solutions that are able to adapt to this new fluid environment, will be able to fully embrace the benefits of location-independent computing.