Internet-enabling applications – things to think about

Nicholas Dimotakis, Regional Services Director –

If you are planning to internet-enable your applications, just remember they are all eventually connected to a physical infrastructure – so you need to ensure that your infrastructure is performing well. Internet-enabled applications (like all other applications) perform down to the slowest component. It is critical to ensure that the servers, switches, network and storage are all performing as you would expect under load before you design and build the APIs for the apps to connect to the outside world.

At Gartner’s 2014 Infrastructure and Operations Management conference the keynote speaker talked about how when you are young your parents teach you that a firm hand shake is important as ‘first impressions count,’ but with internet-enabled technology it’s ‘last impressions that count.’ You could have been running a data center for five years without a hitch but if a customer or user has to wait more than a second or two to get what they want they will go and get it from someone else. The importance of the performance of the underlying infrastructure where these applications are running cannot be over stressed.

It is also critical to know what the predicted incoming traffic is going to be and to plan accordingly. With unstructured streaming you can’t expect a structured infrastructure to cope unless it is massively over-provisioned, and the reason you are implementing virtualization and cloud strategies is to avoid costs of excessive hardware. The way round this to implement an Infrastructure Performance Management (IPM) platform that shows exactly what the incoming datacenter workflow is at line speed (not averaged over time), end to end, through the servers, switches and storage, so you can right-size the hardware elements not just to cope, but to out-perform your competitors. By monitoring and planning using real-time applied analytics, historical growth and traffic information you will be able to set an application performance SLA.

Today’s IT teams must have access to information related to how all elements of the infrastructure are performing, in a single view. You can no longer just manage the storage or the server and leave the rest to someone else to worry about. Internet-enabling, virtualization and cloud technologies are about efficiency and cost savings so the IT team need to monitor the whole infrastructure and be able to react quickly to change. The days of over-provisioning to guarantee application performance and each manager/department/supplier blaming each other when there is a latency issue or outage are well and truly over.

The analysts are stating that up to 50% of IT spend will this year be outside IT’s control. It is critical to ensure this is the right 50% and that the business is not at risk from quick/cheap/insecure applications if they are connected into the environment that provides your organization with a competitive advantage. Letting users build applications themselves is fine if the applications are not time, security or business critical. For applications that are running the business you must know how they are performing, what infrastructure they are using and how this is structured and optimized – and only an IPM solution can provide this.