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VMblog Expert Interview: Jerome Stewart Discusses Dynatrace, Insights from their Annual Perform Conference, and Updates Made to their Platforms and Ecosystem

Interview Dynatrace 

This week, VMblog had the pleasure of joining Dynatrace on the company's annual Perform Conference.  During Perform, Dynatrace showcased several updates to their infrastructure monitoring, applications security, and cloud automation.

VMblog was able to catch up with Jerome Stewart, Global Vice President, Communications and Content of Dynatrace to learn more about the company, their latest announcements coming out of the event, and how they are addressing the major challenges and industry needs discussed during Perform.

VMblog:  For those who may not be familiar, tell us a bit about Dynatrace and your focus as a company.

Jerome Stewart:  At the highest level, Dynatrace provides software intelligence to help the world's largest organizations simplify cloud complexity and accelerate digital transformation. Our platform combines automation and AI-powered intelligence to deliver observability into the multicloud environments underpinning the digital services our customers provide. These are the services we all rely on, spanning industries including banking, retail, travel, healthcare, manufacturing, and so much more.

To power these digital services, organizations have shifted from traditional on-premises data centers to multicloud environments. These environments are dynamic, with applications, microservices, containers, and infrastructure coming and going in seconds, and a volume, velocity, and variety of data beyond human capacity to manage. There's no time to manually configure and instrument them. Everything needs to be automatically watched, analyzed, and adjusted 24×7.

The Dynatrace platform provides a single source of truth across the entire cloud stack, including the network, infrastructure, application, and user experience layers, giving teams the actionable and precise insights they need to innovate and transform faster. It also allows for easier cross-team collaboration and makes digital teams more efficient and effective by allowing them to spend less time on manual configuration and troubleshooting and shifting this time for innovative work that adds value to the business.

Within Dynatrace, I am responsible for defining and managing the company's communications strategies, including media and analyst relations, and our content strategy.

VMblog:  This week, you're hosting your annual Perform Conference (virtually) with experts and visionaries sharing thoughts on how to "transform faster" with digital transformation.  What were the major themes coming out of the event?  How is Dynatrace addressing these challenges and industry needs?

Stewart:  Perform is our annual conference, bringing together Dynatrace experts, customers, and global icons from the world of tech and beyond to share digital transformation insights and expertise. This year's Perform features dozens of virtual sessions with speakers like Dynatrace CEO John Van Siclen, and CTO and Founder Bernd Greifeneder, as well as executives from leading technology partners like AWS, Microsoft, Google, and ServiceNow, and executives from renowned brands like Kroger, DISH, U-Haul, and more. We're also excited to feature inspiring keynotes from leaders... the greats... Magic Johnson, Danica Patrick, and astronaut Garrett Reisman. It's a jam-packed week and a must-attend for anyone whose organization is on a digital transformation journey.  

The overarching theme for Perform this year is transformation. As readers know, today, organizations are under pressure to transform faster. They are using dynamic multiclouds as their platforms of choice to accelerate their digital transformations. For all the benefits of these multicloud environments, they also bring increased complexity, which puts more pressure on developers, DevOps, security, and business teams to deliver.

To enable our customers to transform, we announced several new updates to our platform and ecosystem during Perform:

  1. We've expanded Dynatrace's infrastructure monitoring capabilities with native log support for Kubernetes and multicloud environments.
  2. We launched the Dynatrace Software Intelligence Hub, providing easy access to 500+ supported technologies, and a no-code framework for customizations to extend Dynatrace's automation and intelligence to more BizDevSecOps use cases.
  3. We announced Session Replay for native-mobile applications, which offers a GDPR-compliance mode so even the most highly regulated industries can leverage customer behavior and experience data to drive better user experience and business outcomes.  
  4. We added a Cloud Automation Module to the Dynatrace Software Intelligence Platform, which helps advance our customers' and the industry's movement toward highly automated, AI-driven DevOps.
  5. We broadened application security coverage for Kubernetes workloads and platform, and Node.js runtime environments.

While these announcements all map to the need to accelerate digital transformation, they also address several other trends, prominent at Perform, and in our daily lives. Organizations need automation and intelligence to deal with complexity that has outstripped both current approaches and teams' resources. In addition, teams need to embrace a customer-first, or outside-in approach, to truly understand if native-mobile apps and digital experiences are working - if customers are adopting new features, and if this is driving conversions and revenue. Finally, to minimize risks and accelerate the delivery of amazing, cloud-native applications we need to make cloud application security an integral part of the development process, not just the role of security teams.

VMblog:  Can you speak to customers who may already be using these new solutions, and what the value is from their perspective?

Stewart:  Our customers are already seeing success and impact from the latest enhancements we've launched for the Dynatrace platform. Here is what a few of our them are saying:
  • "With Dynatrace automatically collecting log data from Kubernetes and multicloud environments, as well as metrics from open data frameworks, we have simplified the management of our complex, multicloud IT environment," said Mervyn Lally, Global Chief Enterprise Architect at Experian. "Combining this data with the traces, UX, and other data already captured by Dynatrace, and applying its powerful automation and AIOps capabilities, enhances cross-team collaboration between our applications and infrastructure teams, and empowers them to deliver better user experiences."
  • "Dynatrace's automation and AI-assistance combined with its end-to-end observability are critical for our business," said Chris Deane, Senior Engineering Manager, Platform Services at BT Consumer. "The new Software Intelligence Hub extends the value we get from the Dynatrace platform to even more technologies and data sources. This enables more teams across our organization to benefit from precise insights and automated workflows and frees critical time for our developers to bring new innovations to market faster and with higher quality."
  • "Dynatrace's digital experience monitoring and business analytics capabilities enable us to continuously improve user journeys and maximize conversions," said Ken Schirrmacher, Senior Director of IT at Park ‘N Fly. "Session Replay and business analytics for native-mobile applications will provide us with precise insights into our mobile users' experiences from their vantage points. This allows our teams to prioritize new features and innovations that enhance our apps and maximize value for our business, all while ensuring data privacy."
  • "Dynatrace Cloud Automation is transforming how we develop and manage cloud-native applications," said Simon Pilar, Director of IT Operations at ERT. "It ensures the applications we deliver meet our highest standards by automatically determining if they are ready to move on to the next stage in the lifecycle. It also enables our developers to spend less time troubleshooting, and more time driving faster innovation for the business and our customers."
  • "Dynatrace's ability to accurately assess the risk of all runtime vulnerabilities in our cloud-native applications in real time is a game-changer for us," said Mark Kaplan, Senior Director of IT at BARBRI. "Dynatrace eliminates the false positives, only identifying the true vulnerabilities. And if there is a vulnerability, Dynatrace tells us what it is, and shows precisely where it is in the code, dramatically reducing remediation time. This automation and intelligence gives our developers time back for innovation. Unlike our previous solutions that produced reports on a periodic basis, with large gaps between scans, Dynatrace informs us of vulnerabilities the instant they appear, giving me more confidence that our applications are secure."

VMblog:  Dynatrace recently added an Application Security Module to its Software Intelligence Platform, and you mentioned that you announced some updates to your AppSec capabilities at Perform.  What's the thinking behind the new market entry, the opportunity for Dynatrace, and the value you have to offer customers?

Stewart:  In the coming year, we are likely to see an increase in application vulnerabilities exploited by hackers, as security issues shift from infrastructure to application. In fact, IDC predicts by 2022, 90% of new enterprise applications worldwide will be developed as cloud-native, using agile methodologies and API-driven architectures that leverage microservices, containers, and serverless functions. Traditional approaches to application security won't be able to keep up.

Despite investing in multiple tools to manage security threats, organizations continue to have blind spots and uncertainty about exposures and their impact on cloud-native applications. When vulnerabilities are detected, current approaches require manual processes to deliver imprecise risk and impact analysis and force teams to waste time chasing false positives.

The opportunity for Dynatrace, and for our customers, is to provide a completely new approach to Application Security. In the same way we redefined the performance monitoring and management market several years ago, leveraging the transformative impact of the modern cloud, we're doing it again in the cloud application security market.

We're harnessing the AI-assistance and continuous automation features of our software intelligence platform to provide automated, AI-powered risk assessment. For our customers, that means automatic deployment and instrumentation in production, no manual configurations; full-stack code and infrastructure observability; the elimination of false positives; and flagged activity prioritized based on their business impact.

Our Application Security provides organizations' security leadership confidence that their environments are protected through continuous, automatic runtime analysis, while enabling DevSecOps teams to focus on what matters, understand vulnerabilities in context, and proactively resolve these to drive faster, more secure release cycles.

VMblog:  Now that Perform is over, what's next for Dynatrace?

Stewart:  Perform reaffirmed what we all already know: the need to digitally transform is here and accelerating every day. The world these days is so uncertain; organizations need to be confident their IT environments are not only able to keep up with the increases in pressure and demand, but really accelerate and innovate in spite of it. After hearing from our experts, partners, and customers at Perform, we're more motivated than ever to keep our foot on the gas and continue to do what we do best: helping the world's largest organizations unlock automatic and intelligent observability at scale and transform the way they work.

As always, we have several product updates, and partner and customer transformation initiatives in the pipeline. Stay tuned for more.

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Published Wednesday, February 10, 2021 8:04 AM by David Marshall
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