F5 Networks today announced the availability of its 2021 State of Application Strategy report, which identifies several converging trends, “many of which have been significantly impacted as organizations revamp digital experiences to address the evolving realities of COVID-era consumers.”

Companies, it said, have significantly sped up their digital transformation efforts in the past year, a theme anticipated to persist beyond the pandemic. With limited in-person interactions, applications - and the digital experiences they facilitate - have become synonymous with an organization’s presence and ability to thrive.

“This year’s report highlights the many contrasting priorities that IT teams are currently facing,” said Kara Sprague, executive vice president and general manager of BIG-IP at F5.

“Of course, there’s the familiar one of flexibility and convenience versus security, but then you also have organizations generating an immense amount of data while seeking ways to extract meaningful insights from that data.

“Similarly, we find companies relying more on automation to reduce operating costs while increasingly tailoring applications for customer-centric digital experiences. Many of these are a function of the speed in which the industry has responded to COVID in that it forced a myriad of operational considerations, concerns, and opportunities to be addressed simultaneously almost overnight.”

According to the report, improving connectivity, reducing latency, ensuring security, and
“leveraging data insights are now even more essential, as IT teams have found it nearly impossible to keep pace with the rate of change and digitization of experiences.

“Moreover, while microservices, APIs, and containers may accelerate individual application rollouts from a DevOps perspective, the reach and pervasiveness of modern apps has also resulted in heightened complexity - with many organizations lacking the skill sets to truly streamline deployments.”

The survey showed that 87% of organizations operate both modern and traditional architectures, with modernization deemed necessary when legacy systems are too rigid to adapt to rapidly changing business conditions.

More than three-quarters of respondents (77%) reported that they are presently modernizing internal or customer-facing applications, with APIs as the primary method given their ability to combine capabilities of traditional and modern application components.

In addition, the percentage of organizations maintaining multiple app architectures is growing, with the survey also affirming that as-a-service and managed service offerings continue to be viewed as replacements for some applications where vendors can provide cloud-friendly alternatives.

With employees and consumers logging on from increasingly distributed locations, edge computing has been identified as a significant means to reduce latency and increase the real-time responsiveness required by today’s applications.

Accordingly, the edge must evolve to better “support modular application components such as containers residing across multiple cloud locations.

“In addition to promoting faster and more efficient deployments, placing containerized applications at the edge can improve scalability and the customer experience.

“Demonstrating an appetite for these advantages, survey results note that 76% of organizations have implemented or are actively planning edge deployments, with improving application performance and collecting data/enabling analytics as the primary drivers.”

Paul Barker
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