Applications are central to the way companies do business today. The problem businesses face is two-fold: not only is the application essential to the way they compete, but the competitive bar has been raised by the tech giants of the world—Google, Facebook, Netflix, et al.—who’ve evolved as design-led, cloud-native organizations that know how to iterate very quickly. In turn, better consumer experiences have raised expectations for the performance, ease of use, and reliability of business-to-business (B2B) tech.
The 4th Major Paradigm Shift is Happening Now
These changes are having a major impact on how companies adopt new technologies. Speaking at the first-ever Cisco IMPACT (formerly GSX), AppDynamics General Manager Danny Winokur called these developments the “4th major paradigm shift” in the history of IT—the ongoing evolution from mainframe to client/server to the web—and now onto cloud and microservices technologies that offer very rapid iteration.
“The ability to iterate quickly allows you to produce the best end-user experience, extract data and telemetry from that experience, iterate based on those learnings and do it again,” said Winokur. “The faster you iterate, the more likely you’ll be the winner in this application-driven, hyper-competitive environment.”
The challenge posed by this latest paradigm shift, however, is when companies’ technical environments wind up a chaotic mess. To complicate matters further, many large enterprises still use mainframes for backend data processing. In many cases, their on-prem data centers are central to the way they operate. Hoping to iterate faster, these enterprises put new cloud technology stacks into their data centers, and launch cloud projects that use the latest and greatest public cloud technologies, including serverless offerings such as AWS Lambda.
The result? “When it comes to producing a seamless, well-designed application, things get complicated in a hurry,” said Winokur. “All of these components must work together in a way that’s transparent to the end user and produces an engaging experience with little to no downtime.”
But when things don’t go well, problems quickly turn catastrophic. According to data from Amazon’s recommendation engine, just 100 milliseconds of latency in an application can reduce sales by one percent.
“Here at AppDynamics, we see many business environments where the customer is facing multiple downtime incidents per day,” said Winokur. “Think of the impact on their bottom line, not to mention the effect this has on their reputation, particularly when the outage becomes a news headline.”
When systems go down, each individual incident costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to a recent AppDynamics survey of 6,000 global IT leaders. In some instances, an incident can cost millions of dollars and seriously damage brand reputation.
New Paradigm, New Solutions
So why are companies struggling with the 4th paradigm? “Because the way their teams work together isn’t well-suited to the new world of cloud and microservices,” said Winokur. Rather, they have an IT war room adept at finger-pointing, and siloed teams looking at their own piece of the puzzle and saying, “I don’t see a problem, do you see a problem?” On the other side of the hall, the business is saying, “We invested so much money in this technology—why isn’t it working?”
These organizations usually have a traditional structure with siloed development, operations and business teams. They’re not used to working together in a connected way, one absolutely necessary in a world where the application is the business.
This poses a problem in a modern BizDevOps model where teams must work collaboratively to make decisions and drive change. “Too often these teams are challenged by legacy systems that were never built for this type of collaboration in the first place,” Winokur said. “The end result is AppOps, InfraOps, NetOps and SecOps, each doing its own thing without a single source of truth.”
At Cisco-AppDynamics, we empathize with the challenges our customers are facing. Our technology lays the foundation for data interoperability, and allows previously siloed teams to work collaboratively in support of the BizDevOps model. We enable enterprises to seamlessly move data from legacy environments to systems where it can be correlated through APIs, enabling previously siloed teams to take intelligent, data-driven actions that support the needs of their business.
In the coming years, we’ll see AIOps across all layers of the stack—not just within each of the individual layers, which is the first step we’re taking, but across the full stack. “This will allow companies to correlate data across the business, application, infrastructure, network, and security domains—with AI and ML—to bring data together, drive insights, and enable automated actions,” Winokur said.
This is a tremendous opportunity and our vision for the future. Go here to learn more about the AppDynamics and Cisco vision for AIOps.