Facing SaaS App Reality
by June 23, 2016

Filed under: Cloud Computing, Performance Monitoring

I’m often guilty of sticking my head in the sand, ignoring very small details that could turn into big problems later on. Like when Netflix told me my credit card was about to expire, but it seemed like such a boring task, so I ignored them…till the day Netflix stopped working. I grumbled at the TV for awhile, then wasted another half hour remembering my login details and finding the credit card update page.

Clearly, I should have followed the easy link in the first place. It was my oversight that led me to waste time and my good mood updating my info. I consider missing my favorite television an actual problem in life, but realistically, it’s a minor problem that only affected me (and the people I live with. I was pretty grumpy).

That old “head in the sand” plan definitely doesn’t work, and sometimes it can affect a lot of people’s work. For those in IT, apps are now really important. They might actually be taking over the world, or maybe they already have. Some are goofy or not exactly critical, like the game apps useful for making my daily train ride faster, but many do important jobs—like the app that transfers money each month to pay for my train pass. Or, hey, the Netflix app, which provides plenty of entertainment. Tons of businesses are now depending on these software as a service tools for even more important functions like finance, payroll, web processing, e-commerce and more.

The App Downside

SaaS apps are useful and easy. They don’t need months of install time or a big chunk of up-front budget. And they fill a lot of varied and niche business needs. But it’s easy to ignore small details or possible issues when you can’t see into the app or see how the user is experiencing it. It’s also very easy never to see possible issues until there’s a slowdown, or downtime entirely.

When I was researching SaaS trends for a recent white paper, this statistic surprised me the most: Not only are businesses spending their technology budgets in new and different ways, they’re actually dealing with brand-new use cases. An IDC survey found that 50% of cloud apps and services today are for use cases that weren’t served in the client server era. Talk about a brave new world. For IT teams, that means they’re not only supporting typical apps, but trying to support apps they might not even know existed that are being downloaded and accessed by users throughout the company. They’re having to learn about a bunch of different apps for use cases that don’t fit typical enterprise users, or what was typical a decade ago, anyway.

I also read a prediction from Cisco that by 2019, 89% of workloads—which is practically all the workloads there are—will be processed by cloud data centers. I find this one astounding, too. Many IT teams are now doing their jobs unable to see into this vast network of cloud data centers, and then they’re not able to get the details they need on their SaaS app performance. In this case, ignoring the obvious, or the potential for performance trouble, isn’t going to work. There’s too much at stake for a modern, growing company to not have all the information it needs about what its systems and users are doing.

Check out our new white paper on gaining cloud visibility. And tell us in the comments when an app or cloud service has failed you, or when you stuck your head in the proverbial sand for too long. (No judgment here!)