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Saturday, June 3, 2023

Strategy report says hybrids are here to stay

According to F5’s 9th annual Application Strategies Report (SOAS), hybrid IT is here to stay.

IT decision makers surveyed globally claim more than one-fifth of their applications are hosted in six different environments, leading to a range of security and operational challenges and driving demand for multi-cloud networking solutions .

“Application hosting decisions are often based on specific goals, and organizations have realized that no one environment is best for all of them,” said Lori MacVittie, Distinguished Engineer at F5 and co-author of the SOAS report.

local deployment

Against this hybrid-centric backdrop, the SOAS report finds that public cloud aspirations (and hype) are returning to reality.

In 2018, 74% of respondents planned to deploy “up to half” of their applications in the “cloud.” Today, less than half of respondents (48%) say they currently deploy any applications in the cloud, and on average, organizations deploy only 15% of their application portfolio in the cloud.

After years of decline, the percentage of applications hosted in traditional on-premises data centers increased 2% from 2022 to 37%. The share of on-premises deployments exceeds 50%, as both traditional and cloud environments exist on-premises.

Control Application Sprawl

While most other deployment models, such as public cloud and SaaS, have been on the rise in recent years, each has plateaued or declined slightly through 2023. App mobility facilitated through app repatriation is a key driver of this trend. This remains a high rate for the second year in a row: more than a third (43%) of respondents are repatriating applications or planning to repatriate them soon. The need to control application sprawl in a multi-cloud world was cited by 54% of respondents as the top motivation here.

The repatriation is particularly concentrated in the financial services, telecommunications and technology industries – which are likely to deal with multiple clouds and are probably also most likely to have the necessary skills to manage their applications effectively on-premises.

Private clouds host just 17 percent of the average enterprise portfolio—nearly half that of on-premises data centers. SaaS is a close second at 16 percent (though it’s technically a consumption model, not a deployment model).

The overall picture is one of hybrid diversity, anchored by business priorities of data sovereignty, risk management and customer experience requirements.

modern application architecture

Every organization surveyed runs modern applications, uses SaaS, or both. On average, more than a third (40%) of their product portfolio (excluding SaaS) can be described as modern, which includes mobile applications and the use of microservices. This percentage has been growing steadily and is expected to exceed 50% (and possibly 60%) by 2025.

Still, 95 percent of organizations are running legacy applications, with 85 percent saying they are managing and securing both.

When it comes to retiring legacy applications, 59% of respondents are building modern versions to replace them. Manufacturing and government organizations are most likely to establish their own. At the same time, some 46 percent of organizations, most notably the healthcare industry, are replacing traditional applications with SaaS offerings. One in five would like to simply disable apps they no longer need.

traditional application

Meanwhile, 16 percent have no plans to retire legacy applications that may retain core business functions, such as banking or insurance. In industries such as energy, healthcare or telecommunications, where slow changes in regulatory requirements tend to lock in technology, a whopping 33% of respondents want to keep legacy applications.

The SOAS report predicts that the percentage of modern applications in the average portfolio across industries is likely to rise steadily throughout the decade. A large portion of this is likely to be microservices that are chained together and used only to interact with traditional applications.

Application Security and Delivery Technologies

Fifty-nine percent of SOAS respondents have deployed application security and delivery services on-premises, while an equal number have deployed at least one in the cloud.

Cloud deployments are especially common for security technologies. But application security and delivery technology delivered via SaaS is gaining popularity. Nearly a third (30%) use this approach, which helps grow and scale applications across cloud or other environments without adding complexity or reducing control.

Identity and access management (IAM) technologies such as SSL VPN, single sign-on (SSO), and federated authentication are some of the most commonly deployed application services today. Notably, the number of different application services deployed overall has more than doubled since 2017.

The multi-cloud challenge continues

Nearly 9 out of 10 respondents who operate in multicloud go on to cite multicloud security, performance, and cost challenges.

The biggest challenge in 2023 is tool and API complexity, due to lack of standardization or interoperability of tools for different deployment models (39%). Applying a consistent security policy was the second biggest challenge for the second year in a row (36%), performance optimization (36%) and identifying the most cost-effective cloud for an application (35%).

“These challenges are certainly why organizations in the Americas and EMEA are calling multi-cloud networking the most exciting trend in the coming years,” said MacVittie.

Keep pace

To keep pace with all the challenges and opportunities, the SOAS report recommends that organizations adopt and combine complementary approaches, including IT practitioners who are not limited to siled expertise, process approaches such as Site Reliability Engineering (SRE), and tool deployment policies such as declarative.

Crucially, they also need to explore application security and delivery technologies that span deployment models, can be delivered as a service, and perform consistently across all of an organization’s distributed applications and architectures, including those acquired as SaaS.

“Digital business requires an adaptable IT infrastructure, and organizations need solutions that mitigate the challenges of operating in hybrid and multi-cloud environments,” concludes MacVittie. “The key to making this easy is working with partners whose The solution extends the connectivity of multi-cloud networks to secure and deliver a wide variety of applications and APIs distributed across various clouds, data centers and edge locations.” — trade arab news agency

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