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How to prepare today for the apps of tomorrow

The increased use of smartphones and tablets by employees has transformed and will continue to transform the traditional working environment; but at the same time, IT teams cannot just ignore core resources, such as laptops, PCs and servers.

Many would agree that businesses are currently operating in a state of flux, where applications are increasingly at the heart of almost every business-critical function; but at this stage of development, equal amounts of time and effort need to be given to the management of both business apps and traditional infrastructure.

As applications continue to grow in popularity, we will see a shift in the IT department’s priorities, so it seems wise to assume that the companies that are successfully managing the application stack now, are the ones that are most likely to thrive in the future. In order to maintain this competitive advantage, businesses should be asking themselves what app evolution has in store and, ultimately, what steps they should be taking in order to prepare now for the apps of the future.

Adopt an app-centric ethos:

While day to day maintenance of existing systems is always going to be important, IT teams must ensure that the application is front and center for every critical network decision.

Adopting an app-centric ethos can be challenging for admins with years of positive network-first experience and many struggle to apply new ways of thinking to their day-today routines. As workplaces develop, so must the IT Pros’ priorities.

Rather than viewing the network as a whole, IT Pros must seek a full view of the technologies supporting applications, and learn to connect the dots between the full application stack; that is, the application code, software, and hardware components required for an application to operate at peak performance as part of the wider network.

Investigate new types of business infrastructure:

It is no secret that cloud is enabling the adoption of new technologies at a far higher rate than ever before. Not only do cloud-based systems allow for maximum agility, growth and security; cloud is also being touted as the solution for supporting an increasingly complex network.

Businesses need to think now about which cloud option best suits their business needs both at the present moment and also in the coming years.

Get to grips with virtualisation:

Virtualisation will become integral at every level. From compute, to storage to networking and security, systems will have fewer management interfaces, instead having greatly increased internal complexity as applications become more vital to the success of a business.

As such, IT Pros with limited application experience will have to oversee progressively complex systems and will be responsible for the smooth running of these complex infrastructures. As systems evolve, deep troubleshooting skills will be more critical than ever, with IT Pros being relied upon to pinpoint and resolve issues, either in house or by contacting the application provider, quickly and efficiently, before the business is impacted.

Be prepared to learn new skills:

When it comes to the apps of the future, IT Pros will know even less about their internal workings and performance metrics than they know today. This is because companies are increasingly moving to service models where apps run in virtual appliances or off-premise in the cloud.

When there is a problem, IT Pros can’t dig around for an answer themselves, they have to open a helpdesk ticket and wait for the application provider to respond. Increased app complexity means that even apps we’re familiar with today will grow more complex and difficult to manage.

In order to succeed, we’ll need to step back and trust application providers to manage the apps that they have developed.

Patrick Hubbard, Head Geek at SolarWinds

Patrick Hubbard
Patrick Hubbard is a Head Geek and technical product marketing director at SolarWinds®. With over 20 years of IT experience spanning network management, data center, storage networks, VoIP, virtualization, and more, Hubbard's broad knowledge and hands-on expertise affirm his IT generalist authority.