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TECHNOLOGY

Still a work in progress for many

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A cloud computing graphic.


It’s hard to overstate the key role of application reliability and performance for today’s organisations. To compete effectively and grow in modern digital markets, businesses must meet high customer expectations for a great experience. Hybrid workplace strategies and work-from-home policies make it all the more critical to deliver a consistent high-quality experience wherever people work. Rising cyberthreats and an expanding attack surface call for a heightened focus on security. And agility is a must to support innovation and keep pace with fast-moving markets.

To address these needs, organisations increasingly host their applications in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments. In a recent survey, A10 Networks and Gatepoint Research asked senior technology decision-makers about their experiences delivering applications in the cloud, and what today’s organisations need to achieve the digital resiliency on which their businesses depend.

Given the critical role of application delivery performance in digital business success, the fact that only 34% of companies are highly satisfied with their application delivery controller (ADC) solution should raise eyebrows.

Modern Business runs on Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud Application Delivery

A key finding from the survey reveals the combination of cloud approaches used by modern businesses. While most respondents continue to host applications on-premises, 85% use public cloud platforms—usually more than one—and 43% use private clouds.

This approach offers several potential benefits. A more diverse application infrastructure allows greater flexibility to host each application on the optimal platform, in the optimal location, to ensure availability and responsiveness. By tapping into scalable resources on-demand, companies can adapt more quickly to changing business needs, IT strategies and shifting customer demand. Moving to more economical and flexible licensing and pay-as-you-go models can free up funds for innovation. And with the right tools, organisations can achieve better visibility into end-to-end application security and performance than a traditional on-premises data centre could offer.

Nonetheless, as seen in the low rate of satisfaction reported in the survey, many organisations are hampered by application delivery technologies that fail to meet their requirements.

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How Underperforming ADCs Undermine the Promise of the Cloud

Ensuring application delivery performance in a hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environment hinges on several key ADC functions. Global server load balancing (GSLB) is essential, as organisations need to go beyond traditional disaster recovery requirements to optimise traffic and ensure availability across multiple data centres and clouds.

With the vast majority of internet traffic now encrypted, TLS/SSL offload makes it possible to perform TLS/SSL encryption and decryption without straining server resources or creating bottlenecks. Application acceleration and optimisation capabilities, including application analytics, fast root-cause analysis, and performance feedback for developers, are invaluable for delivering an outstanding and consistent customer experience while keeping employees fully productive and engaged.

However, application delivery solutions currently in place often fall short of these requirements. Half of survey respondents reported ongoing struggles with legacy application delivery technology. Nearly a third face challenges addressing application security threats. Over one in four experience application downtime and slow performance, and more than 20% face visibility and reporting challenges.

To overcome these challenges and realise the full business benefits of their hybrid and multi-cloud strategy, these organisations will need to modernise their application delivery infrastructure.

The Agenda for Hybrid Cloud and Multi-cloud App Delivery

The gap between outdated application delivery solutions and modern requirements only continues to grow. With hybrid cloud and multi-cloud complexity rising, organisations need to be able to deploy and deliver applications more flexibly and efficiently, avoid being bogged down in manual tasks, and gain greater insight to ensure that fast-changing environments maintain performance and availability. These needs are reflected in the survey respondents’ key objectives for the coming year. 48% reported plans to increase agility with software/scale-out solutions, while 47% intend to drive operational efficiency through the deployment of hybrid cloud automation, management, and analytics capabilities.

Survey respondents understood that modernising the ADC will be essential to achieving these goals. Asked about the most important capabilities to ensure successful business objectives, 69% named faster troubleshooting and root-cause analysis, which depend on centralised management, analytics, and reporting to better understand their environment and its performance. More than half cited automation as a need to overcome challenges in IT skills development in a fast-changing technology environment, and a similar number saw a need for data analytics and application insights to guide performance optimisation, troubleshooting, security, and more.

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Ensuring Digital Resiliency for Better Business Performance

As companies evaluate their existing ADCs and consider future investments, their priorities are closely tied to bottom-line performance. To maximise ROI, they will need to be able to both increase revenue and control expenses. On the revenue side, better application performance will help them deliver outstanding experiences to win and retain customers in competitive markets, as well as keep their workforce engaged, productive, and satisfied.

A modern application delivery approach is clearly needed to help organisations right-size investments by enabling more efficient management, reducing calls to customer support, averting costly and disruptive security breaches, providing agile software options, and leveraging new advanced observability.

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TECHNOLOGY

Smarter Machines = Smarter Humans

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Smarter Machines = Smarter Humans


The ability of machines to communicate—and their increasing intelligence—is an exponentially accelerating trend spanning many industries.

This trend is not slowing down in any way, and the more it is adopted, the more it will continue to accelerate, transforming our personal, professional, and social lives.

Machines communicating with other machines really means next to nothing without a human being in the equation. Whether an individual works with this technology at their place of business or benefits from it by way of everyday conveniences, intelligent technology already touches all our lives today in some capacity.

But if you are an avid reader of my blog, you know that nothing stands still in this digitally disruptive world for long. So, here’s the question I always ask: Where are we headed next with intelligent software, machines, and their impact on our lives?

The Internet of Things Defined

Machine intelligence and machine communication are more easily defined as the Internet of Things (IoT), more commonly known today as the Internet of Life. IoT has the powerful ability to simplify daily tasks, make things safer, and enhance our lives overall, and much of it is a result of the collection of personal data.

Using this data, machines follow a series of algorithms to “learn” from your habits. At its beginning, IoT-based technology was pretty simplistic — John or Jane Smith enjoys a certain product from Store A, and whether they Googled it on their smartphone or posted about it on Facebook, that data was recognized by the individual’s smartphone, thus targeting ads toward them during their screen time.

As IoT applications evolved, soon this elementary implementation of smart software became commonplace, and before long we started to see Smart Home software and hardware, which allowed you to interact with your devices via voice recognition. Now, IoT applications can recognize your voice and your habits, and this once-revolutionary breakthrough is now as common as having a microwave in your kitchen and a TV in your bedroom.

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IoT and TSA: Facial Recognition Software Speeding Things Along

Perhaps you are familiar with Smart Homes and the seamless experience offered by this personalized technology. However, you may be less aware of a huge development in the IoT space that promises to transform an extremely agitating travel rigor — making it just as easy as your smart fridge letting you know you are low on milk.

Clear — a company that has developed software and hardware that uses your eyes and fingerprints to verify your identity — is now found in over 40 airports in the United States, checking registered guests more quickly than any TSA pre-check line can move. Instead of the traditional way to move through security when flying nationally or internationally, Clear has created a system that eliminates a step from the process — checking IDs — using my Skip It Principle.

This company is also acting in an Anticipatory fashion at the time of this writing, as they are in the process of rolling out smart device applications that create a virtual ID for many other circumstances, such as verifying that you are of legal drinking age or checking in at hotels before you ever arrive.

Finding Your Place in Tech Now and in the Future

It’s possible that Clear’s IoT is striking fear in the hearts of TSA agents. A TSA agent reading this may be thinking: “But what if I can’t invent something to disrupt Clear or the applications replacing my career? How can I still anticipate and stay ahead of the curve?”

It is human nature to dread the unknown. This primordial apprehension is often the result of overthinking what we cannot fully prove to be a non-threatening occurrence. Time and again, however, these fears prove irrational once we know what to expect. In other words, hindsight is 20/20.

Using an Anticipatory Mindset helps with this uncovering process, and the first part of that process is always figuring out what exactly is behind something you are unsure about — to lift the veil of mystery.

The TSA agent’s fear is certainly warranted, especially since IoT, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and communication between devices eliminate nominal tasks that may make up the entirety of a person’s role at an organization.

Transformation Will Never Stop, and It Shouldn’t Stop You!

My advice to all of you feeling this apprehension is to constantly stay educated. Getting a firm grasp on disruptive digital transformations — such as machine intelligence, the Internet of Things, and communication between devices — allows you to more easily find your professional and personal place in the equation.

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But because of how quickly changes happen once a disruptive digital technology takes hold, learning something once and then tabling it is not the answer.

The rapid acceleration of intelligent machines and software means that new opportunities that come with these technologies are everywhere and are moving even faster, and you need to use your human competencies in critical thinking and continuing education to be the smartest in the equation.

What you must do is start with my Hard Trend Methodology to deduce exactly what the opportunity is and pre-solve the problems you may face, so all that is left once you have leveraged a digital disruption is a positive, transformative result that impacts your customers, your industry, and humanity for the better.



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