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    Categories Networking Technology

Leaving Legacy IT Behind

The idea of eliminating silos in IT has been a hot topic in the past few years, as virtualization has removed the traditional separations between technologies and teams in the data center. This intersection of people and technology comes with some struggle, as IT teams adapt their jobs, processes and tools to the demanding modern IT world. Silos aren’t easy to knock down, especially when so many enterprises are still using legacy hardware and software to run key parts of the business. 

In this new, fast-moving world, IT’s mission now revolves around finding and using data proactively, tightly integrating with business needs and the bottom line, and, ideally, using newfound tools and data to innovate and move the business forward. That can all happen much more successfully when IT as a group has their infrastructure priorities in sync. Distributed environments using SaaS apps in the cloud require a shift in process and mindset, along with the shift in the technologies used.

Moving from silos to a more collaborative environment may come with growing pains, of course. But one AppNeta customer—National Instruments—managed a graceful shift from an old-school data center to a hybrid environment. Best of all, they eliminated cross-team finger-pointing along the way.

The Post-Silo World

When NI wanted to move business-critical apps to the cloud, IT needed to get things in order first. National Instruments had depended on traditional network monitoring tools and WAN optimization to get performance metrics. Those tools only put out basic metrics and showed the health of the network path, and the IT team often got bad or corrupted data. Of course, that led to lots of firefighting when issues arose.

When SaaS apps came onto the scene for NI, though, they knew that dependable, detailed data would be a crucial component in a successful hybrid deployment. One big new challenge for IT in a post-silo world is addressing user experience, which can’t be ignored with any SaaS deployment. NI’s IT team shifted its mentality beyond the network to pull user experience and network path monitoring into their arsenal of tools. AppNeta’s IT Ops products—AppView, PathView and FlowView—satisfied NI’s needs. That switch to thinking beyond the network prepared IT for monitoring those business-critical apps in the cloud. At the same time, they (and a newly formed IT position) helped form the bridge between separate infrastructure and applications teams.

National Instruments’ IT teams now see everything they need to know, such as packet data with key metrics, specific application data and user experience visibility through the entire delivery path, including remote locations. They also test integrations with providers, such as SaaS servers and back-end databases. Each team accesses the tools, finding the visibility and particular views they need to eliminate finger-pointing and any unknowns in overall performance.

In the bigger picture, NI’s IT teams can focus on tools and data instead of hardware maintenance as in the past. That’s the goal for many IT teams today, as they move beyond silos and find the technology that can help adapt their infrastructures to become more agile and more effective.

Christine Cignoli: Christine Cignoli is a technology writer based in Boston. She's written about storage, data center infrastructure, virtualization and enterprise apps for more than ten years, and has a master's in publishing and writing from Emerson College.