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The Importance of Continuous Intelligence on the Future of Full-Stack System Management

Stephen D. Hendrick headshotEnterprises of all sizes are facing an information technology crisis. Ironically, this crisis comes at a time when the power of IT has never been stronger, thus presenting both an opportunity and a challenge. The opportunity centers on IT’s ability and to create new business models and better address customer needs, while the challenge lies in its role as a disruptive force to established enterprises that underestimate the power and speed of IT-fueled change. Cases in point: Who would have thought it was possible to build a multi-billion dollar transportation business overnight that doesn’t own any vehicles, or a retail sales business with no stores, or a hospitality business with no properties? While these represent the extreme examples, the message is clear: Enterprises must rethink how they consume IT or risk being consumed by it.

Accelerating IT’s growth in power, responsibility, and disruption is the market acceptance of cloud infrastructures, both pure cloud and hybrid. In fact, one could argue that the cloud has ushered in a defining IT moment through its transformational impact on IT infrastructures and new software-as-a-service applications, resulting in new business, economic, architectural, performance, reliability, and management models. It also presents new ways to architect, produce, and consume IT. For example, architectural benefits include a service orientation, better separation of concerns, microservices, immutable infrastructure, and real-time operations. Production benefits of the cloud include agility, faster time to market, dynamic scalability, and the opportunity to continuously deploy and innovate. And consumption benefits include compelling economics, the availability of a wide and growing variety of differentiated services, and a friction-free path to adoption.

In response, enterprises are reevaluating fundamental principles regarding how they should build, buy, outsource, and integrate IT assets and systems because cloud-inspired models necessitate careful evaluation. The key is to determine where these cloud models can enable IT to help evolve corporate strategy. In addition, IT leaders will need to address the growing complexity and dynamic nature inherent in a cloud IT infrastructure given its roots in services and continuous change. For example, cloud’s capability to scale to meet IT service demands via instantaneous provisioning is a major asset to IT. Additionally, cloud-native development and deployment enables the continuous delivery of new and improved application capabilities at a much faster pace — days and weeks as opposed to months and years.

The overall increase in infrastructure flexibility and responsiveness due to the cloud is forging a new dynamic form of IT , in which new approaches to managing, troubleshooting, and monitoring systems and applications are now required. IT leaders will need complete, real-time visibility and proactive awareness across their entire applications infrastructure — a type of intelligence, if you will, that is continuous. A continuous intelligence capability enables us to rethink and significantly improve how we address system management, which is the subject explored in this white paper.

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