IT Discovery: Mapping the Impact of Cloud Applications
The cloud is changing business. Dataconomy reports that companies expect to spend 16 percent more on the cloud this year than in 2016, while 77 percent plan to add more software-as-a-service (SaaS) workloads. Despite promising numbers, shifting to a mature cloud market doesn’t come without challenges. As enterprises face the increasing complexity of application interdependencies, logical IT discovery has emerged to address this SaaS shift. Here’s a look at how organizations can effectively discover current apps, map their impact and design a better cloud ecosystem.
The New App Environment
According to Network World, new SaaS deployments now go beyond traditional cloud-based applications to include microservices — small, individually deployable service modules that address specific business processes and leverage cutting-edge APIs. While they promise to reduce complexity and unnecessary resource consumption, these microservices also increase the total number of applications running across the enterprise network. This makes it more difficult for IT teams to discover which apps might impact end-user performance, consume large amounts of bandwidth or demand greater network oversight.
Logical IT discovery offers a way to pinpoint specific applications of concern, along with identifying apps which could help maximize total performance. The following steps outline how enterprises can move from initial discovery to ultimate destination:
Step 1: Develop a Plan
Before diving into app discovery, create a plan of action. Analyzing the entire network is an ambitious goal, but it’s often prevented by time and budget concerns. Instead, pick one area of concern which combines heavy cloud use with large potential risk, such as employee use of cloud-based file-sharing and storage services. Within this narrowed focus, companies should then outline specific goals. These might include the identification of high-traffic services which put classified data at risk or the discovery of open network sections which could benefit from the ideal SaaS deployment. Just as companies must avoid cloud sprawl by carefully planning their resources, they can also improve the outcome of IT discovery by developing a solid starting strategy.
Step 2: Leverage Experience
Discovering applications on the enterprise network is no easy task. While it’s possible to build in-house solutions and invest the time necessary to ensure they’re able to reach every endpoint, it’s more cost- and time-effective to partner with trusted providers who have a history of reliable and secure application discovery. When choosing a provider, enterprises should determine these key characteristics:
- Total Discovery: Are apps in data centers part of the process or are only local stacks included? Does the service offer suggestions for apps which maximize network efficacy?
- Security: During the discovery process, are applications kept safe? Is the solution capable of detecting and reporting potential risks?
- Migration: Beyond identification, does the service help to migrate specific apps or services across stacks to ensure complete business continuity?
- Expertise: What type of experience does the provider have in complex enterprise environments? What is their motivation to improve service delivery?
Step 3: Pinpoint Problems, Find Solutions
With a plan and a provider in place, enterprises can then determine where SaaS deployments fall short and where they can be improved. The biggest benefit to effective app discovery is the ability to identify interdependencies. While it’s easy to add another app or remove one from corporate networks, doing so could have repercussions far beyond the original intention if the new app interferes with existing application interconnections or if the removed app was an essential part of a dependent chain. Logical app discovery allows enterprises to uncover complete dependency maps, thus empowering them to pinpoint potential problems and find ideal solutions.
Applications are critical to effective cloud deployment, but they can negatively impact performance if they’re not closely monitored. IT discovery provides enterprises with the tools they need to identify current issues and deploy app solutions.