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Instana 2021 Predictions: The Year of the Hybrid Everything

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual series exclusive.

The Year of the Hybrid Cloud Everything

By Chris Farrell, Observability Strategist, Instana

How do you go about predicting a year following 2020? We've all found something different in ourselves and our companies over the last twelve months. It's the overall resiliency that impresses me most. Technology, of course, played a big part of that resiliency, whether allowing remote collaboration, streaming entertainment to our homes or allowing typically physical endeavors to be performed digitally. Even as I write this, the first steps toward normalcy are beginning, but we should all be proud of what we were able to maintain and change during this weird year.

That aside, this is a prediction of 2021 (um, it will be better?).

Seriously, though, there have been so many interesting developments in the world of IT Operations and Cloud Services this year, not only from Instana, but from so many other infrastructure and operational vendors. The more I thought about the next twelve months, I couldn't get Hybrid out of my head. Sure, we've been looking at "Hybrid Cloud" infrastructure and applications for years, but truly hybrid environments have just begun to accelerate adoption as standard methods of deployment.

Managing anything in a hybrid environment can be difficult. A big reason is the need to constantly reset the perspective of the side you're monitoring, whether you're dealing with cloud infrastructure, a microservice or a piece of code. Managing application performance is even harder, especially given the need to capture distributed traces as part of monitoring and/or observability strategies. Whenever an architectural boundary is crossed (whether one cloud to another, physical to virtual, code stacks to non-code services, etc.), the risk of losing the trace increases.

For years, this is a problem that has plagued larger organizations that want to employ hybrid cloud strategies, but felt their management systems were inadequate to follow application paths from one cloud to the next - "but times they are a changing."

PREDICTION 1 - Management tools (well, some of them) that have the ability to break down cross-cloud barriers to monitor - AND TRACE - applications no matter where they go.

Of course, for each vendor / solution, the requirements to do that may differ. Some already do it, some could do it with a change or two, while others may struggle but will take on that struggle because the popularity of Hybrid Cloud is increasing in organizations of all sizes.

PREDICTION 2 - the "Observability vs. APM" debate will fizzle as APM vendors continue to add support for "Observability: technologies and ideals

This is the other Hybrid  part of my predictions. From the beginning of the APM industry, the best tools have provided performance visibility where there was no observability possible. That modicum has continued from the early days of J2EE through SOA and now into microservice, Cloud-Native, Hybrid and Multi-cloud environments. In 2021, you will see the line between APM and Observability blur even more as more APM vendors add support for Open Source Monitoring APIs and improve their ability to combine their traditional metrics with the log analysis and tracing that has become a base definition of Observability. In reality, those APM tools that move fastest will look like a Hybrid tool, with elements of traditional APM, modern APM and Observability, all wrapped up in one.

So in 2021, be prepared for the best Observability / Monitoring solutions to help you deal with your hybrid cloud (or any cloud) environments. Happy New Year!


About the Author

Chris Farrell 

Chris Farrell is a Technical Director and Observability Strategist at Instana. He has over 25 years of experience in technology, from development to sales and marketing. As Wily Technology's first Product Management Director, Chris helped launch the APM industry about twenty years ago. Since then, Chris has led Marketing or Product strategy for 5 other APM / Systems Management ventures. His diverse experience runs the technology gamut, from manufacturing engineering and development for IBM ThinkPad to managing global sales and marketing teams.

Chris lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife and two Siamese cats. He enjoys both watching and playing basketball in his spare time - USUALLY. He has a BSEE and MBA from Duke University.

Published Tuesday, December 29, 2020 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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