It’s time to break up with your old monitoring tools

September 07 2022

More organizations are upgrading from siloed infrastructure and application monitoring tools to full-stack observability solutions. That's great — but what if your team can't quit its tried-and-true legacy tools, even when they're unfit for modern apps and infrastructure?

Today’s cloud native technologies and development practices amplify complexity. And the rapid transition to hybrid and multi-cloud environments is contributing to the growing complexity of infrastructure and applications, according to 451 Research. This shift often results in silos of monitoring tools, which amplifies the challenge of pinpointing root causes of application problems.

You may know this dilemma as tool sprawl, where an aging, inefficient tool stack greatly limits an organization’s innovation, data integration and productivity. The problem isn’t new, either. As InformationWeek notes, a 2016 survey by Automic found that more than 53% of larger organizations reported using 20 or more tools.

What is new, though, is the rapid adoption of cloud native technologies across the globe. By 2025, more than 95% of new digital workloads will be deployed on cloud native platforms, up from 30% in 2021, Gartner estimates. And according to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation® (CNCF), Kubernetes® adoption continues to grow rapidly, with 96% of organizations using or evaluating the popular container orchestration technology.

Unsurprisingly, cloud native environments come with their own unique set of observability challenges. Technologies such as Kubernetes and serverless present new monitoring needs, and organizations may leverage additional monitoring tools to keep pace with highly distributed applications and alleviate the burden on their IT Ops and DevOps teams.

Unfortunately, this contributes to even greater tool sprawl at a very bad time — when companies worldwide are transitioning to the cloud. AppDynamics’ Agents of Transformation 2022 report found that 71% of technologists surveyed believe their organization must focus more on observing cloud native applications and infrastructure.

But old tools don’t die easy

Over the years, we’ve heard plenty of stories from AppDynamics customers about the pitfalls of sticking with outdated monitoring tools. A chief data officer (CDO) at a Fortune 500 technology company recently said his organization uses a motley array of monitoring tools — many well past their prime. “Everybody loves their tools and it’s always hard to pry a tool away from a practitioner,” he acknowledged.

These legacy tools, often created in-house, require a lot of development time and have resulted in silos of individual tools, “which is horrible.” the CDO added.

Indeed, as more enterprises seek modern observability solutions for their increasingly hybrid cloud environments, the outdated-tool issue is all too common. And the internal shift toward modern solutions isn’t easy for technologists with a cult-like devotion to tried-and-true legacy tools, which generally lack the instrumentation, connectivity and observability features for modern cloud ecosystems.

Of course, migrating to modern monitoring tools presents its own set of challenges. For instance, our Fortune 500 CDO said that while his company does POCs (proof-of-concept testing) to test emerging tools, this approach can exacerbate silos and sprawl.

Two key issues stand out:

  1. The company is so big that different teams have different sets of requirements and goals.
  2. Teams implement a hodgepodge of tools that may or may not talk with each other, limiting the company’s ability to achieve full-stack observability.

Another AppDynamics customer, an international life sciences company, experienced similar issues. The good news: the firm was able to achieve performance improvements by finding issues with code profilers to fix system outages. The bad: its myriad teams used multiple tools in different ways — sometimes leading to different conclusions. As a result, the company wasn’t always clear whether applications, databases, networking issues or end users were degrading performance.

Full-stack observability for cloud native environments

Tool consolidation has become a top priority for global organizations, many of which must undertake a seismic shift in culture and methodology to reach their goal. According to Harvard Business Review, forward-looking companies can overcome resistance to new technologies and tools by identifying and nurturing “digital champions” on the front line. These in-house advocates can help implement better tools and influence positive behavior across silos.

To achieve full-stack observability for hybrid cloud and cloud native environments, IT leaders need:

  • Tools purpose-built to understand and manage rapidly accelerating changes
  • Observability solutions designed to scale as the business grows
  • A single observability platform to manage an ever-increasing ecosystem of apps and digital services

In the case of the aforementioned life sciences firm, upgrading to full-stack observability gave the company’s teams the visibility needed to detect and remedy performance issues quickly. What’s more, the upgrade spurred a healthy transformation in how teams work together to solve customer problems.

Observability tools for modern apps

The Cisco AppDynamics full-stack observability solutions deliver performance monitoring, cost and performance optimization, and application security for cloud native, on-prem and hybrid cloud environments. They can help resolve ongoing challenges in app observability — including incomplete visibility, disconnected data silos and biased points of view. And they can help bring disparate teams together to reach a shared understanding.

Find the AppDynamics observability solution that’s right for you!

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