As a result of rapid digital transformation over the last few years, technologists are looking to develop greater visibility into dynamic and complex cloud-native applications and technology stacks. They realize their traditional monitoring and application performance management (APM) tools aren’t optimized for the complexity of cloud-native environments. As a result, the ability to monitor IT performance and deliver seamless digital experiences to end users is being limited.

Now we’re seeing a major increase in the adoption of full-stack observability solutions across every industry. A new report reveals more than half of Canadian organizations (60 per cent) have now started the transition to full-stack observability, and a further 35 per cent plan to do so this year.

To address this growing problem and to gain more insight into cloud environments, it’s important for technologists to evaluate the solutions they are adopting. While much of the success of their digital transformation efforts relies on choosing technology that alleviates their immediate pain points; it must also meet their needs five and ten years down the line.

With this in mind, here are the top four ways technologists can manage IT performance in the cloud:

1. Consider cloud-native observability solutions with robust scalability and functionality

Technologists have the opportunity to implement a next generation solution that can observe dynamic cloud native applications at scale. Conventional monitoring solutions for on-premises and hybrid environments are still important, but there will be some limits to their functionality in cloud environments. For example, when new use cases are added to existing solutions, data can sometimes remain disconnected, meaning users are required to jump from tab to tab to try to identify the root causes of performance issues.

Bleeding edge applications are built differently from traditional apps. They’re also being managed by different IT teams with different skills and ways of working, increasing the demand for Site Reliability Engineers, DevOps and CloudOps. In order to be successful in their operation, they require a different kind of technology to track and analyze performance data, a solution that is customized to the needs of a cloud-native technology stack to make sense of short-lived microservices interactions with one another, which can be long gone once troubleshooting is done.

2. Embrace open standards as the future for understanding IT performance and availability

Technologists are spending more time and resources looking for and finding a solution that adopts open standards, offering a complete and correlated view of all telemetry data, especially OpenTelemetry which is emerging as the standard for cloud native applications.

In order to standardize the way telemetry data is collected and transmitted to backend platforms, OpenTelemetry plays an essential role in bridging the visibility gap by providing a common instrumentation format across all services.

Currently, throughout most industries seeking to become more efficient, technologists are embracing the benefits of OpenTelemetry as a quick and straightforward way to generate visibility into performance and availability across every technical element of their IT environment. More specifically, when it comes to OpenTelemetry’s arrival as an open standard for telemetry collection, it “promises improved interoperability and greater observability of microservices, containers and Kubernetes,” according to Gartner.

3. Use the latest technology to glean business context at the enterprise level

Technologists, strategists, marketers, economists, and data masters have the opportunity to embrace a solution that combines observability with advanced AIOps and business intelligence functionality. As applications grow in complexity, the ability to manually identify root causes becomes nearly impossible. This way, they will be able to leverage the power of AIOps to prioritize actions for their cloud environments. In the future, organizations will leverage AI-assisted issue detection and diagnosis with insights for faster troubleshooting.

Ultimately, this will allow technologists to identify the root causes of issues more quickly and deliver speedier resolutions, minimizing the impact on end user experience.

Employing the right technology can enable the prioritization based on business impact, so technologists can focus on what really matters, and leaders of their organization can understand the impact of IT performance on business transactions.

4. Take a gradual approach for the transition to cloud observability

In parallel with the rise of cloud computing initiatives, most enterprises continue to run the core of their application portfolio in traditional environments. While technologists may intend to make the shift to cloud-native architectures in the next few years, they are mostly extending rather than replacing their application portfolio.

Technologists need to think about cloud observability differently from traditional monitoring as modernized applications have different processes, dependencies, and a dynamic infrastructure that may only be running for a brief period of time. Using a gradual transition, which supports and enables the organization’s wider digital transformation journey, ensures traditional applications are properly observed while they are modernized for a cloud native approach.

As expectations for remarkable digital experiences continue to rise among customers and employees, technologists know they simply can’t afford to compromise when it comes to IT performance and availability. These days, many do not have the tools and expertise to identify and resolve issues in a fragmented and dynamic hybrid cloud environment.

With the world of applications changing at tremendous speed, technologists need contextual knowledge that provides a solid, organized business context deep in the technology stack.

In conclusion, it is so important that technologists implement the right cloud-native observability solution, one that can meet their immediate needs and allow them to scale functionality as their organization continues its own cloud journey in the short, medium and long term.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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Gregg Ostrowski is a Executive CTO at AppDynamics. He engages with customer senior leadership to help prioritize their strategy for digital transformation. Prior to AppDynamics, Gregg held senior leadership positions at Samsung and Research in Motion.