From Healthcare to Financial Services, Manufacturing to Retail, cloud computing, and cloud migration, is impacting every sector, and that trend is likely to accelerate in the next three years according to IDC. Enterprise IT operations teams with complex IT infrastructure and business processes face a tough challenge–and hold a key role–in helping their organisation stay competitive.

They are waking up–day after day–to the sobering realisation that they can’t manage what they can’t see. And visibility rapidly decreases with cloud migration and hybrid-cloud applications spanning legacy, private and public cloud infrastructure.

At a time when businesses are banking on digital transformation to defend and strengthen their competitive position, their most important resources —IT and DevOps— are slowly going blind. The inability to understand dynamic application chains put virtualisation and cloud strategies at risk—increasing the chance of penalties in time, cost, sub-par user experience, and the inability to achieve desired business outcomes.

Addressing this visibility gap requires giving IT teams access to innovative monitoring capabilities beyond traditional network performance management (NPM) tools. The rise of machine learning and stream analytics is a key contributor to a transformative, 360-degree view of the end-to-end, hybrid infrastructure supporting business growth.

There’s no doubt that the challenges for CIOs and IT Operations Managers are complex and varied, but migrating to the cloud is no longer an option, it’s a must. If enterprises are to make this a painless journey, they must take several steps to avoid the friction that can come with moving to the cloud.

 

Cloudy challenges

The reality with cloud migration is that everyone is in the same boat—be it a company from the Healthcare, Retail, Financial, Manufacturing, or Government sector. The challenges faced by enterprises—regardless of their business type or model—are extremely similar from one business to the other.

One first common challenge is that of virtualisation. While its benefits as a technology are well recognized, its implementation and integration can lead to significant disruption for an enterprise otherwise accustomed to handling a set number of physical servers in a controlled, private data centre. Virtualisation undoubtedly increases complexity in the network and application stack, and resources which may have otherwise been dealt at the customer premise, now reside in the cloud. This means that the dedicated IT team previously in charge of monitoring performance for the physical machines, is now faced with having to monitor virtual machines that they cannot physically see. In essence, they’re monitoring the invisible.

But that’s not the only challenge. For enterprises, cloud migration and the integration of SaaS applications also requires a cultural change. IT teams today often work in silos, independent from one another. While this division of labour may seem logical from a roles and responsibilities point of view, when it comes to monitoring in the cloud, there is no place for fragmentation and silos. Instead, IT teams must work together to have an end-to-end view of their enterprise network. Indeed, if we are to see enterprises truly embrace cloud, virtualisation, and the many new technologies set to disrupt enterprise sectors, a shared responsibility approach must be adopted across all IT teams and all IT departments. This will allow for a “single source of truth”.

 

The silver lining

Enterprises – much like humans – have one common fear: the unknown. And where cloud migration is concerned, the unknown remains a big factor in enterprises’ migration to the cloud. However, this comes as no surprise; traditional monitoring tools do not provide the visibility needed over virtualised, cloud infrastructure so how can IT teams possibly begin to see into parts of the infrastructure they are no longer in contact with?

The answer is a simple, but important one: a unified performance management solution. This solution should be “infrastructure agnostic” whereby it can be used to monitor any part of the enterprise infrastructure, whether that be legacy or virtualised.

Importantly, this tool will be complementary across all IT departments and layers of the application and network chain. Instead of creating the silos akin to the solutions of yesterday, this unified approach will complement the different tools used for network and application monitoring respectively. As the cloud increases the dependency between networks and applications, this ability to prevent silos and fragmentation will significantly enhance IT teams’ capabilities for greater visibility.

 

Overcoming cloud migration complexity with simplicity

We often believe that the solution to a complex problem is a complex answer. When it comes to application monitoring, enterprises’ have one significant worry: they just can’t monitor what they can’t see. So, the solution is easy: more visibility, everywhere.

The traditional monitoring tools have served their purpose – they have provided the passive, reactive insights that enterprises once needed but today, digital and agile enterprises require proactivity, based on real-time and predictive analytics to guide their decision making. It is this extra insight that will prove to be enterprises’ guiding lights in the darkness of the application chain. Without it, the frictions that come with cloud migration will quite simply be unavoidable, and if enterprises are to be persuaded and convinced that moving to the cloud is best, guaranteeing smooth ride will go a long way.