Digital transformation driving adoption of cloud, IT optimisation, F5 Networks

By Arun Shankar   13 April, 2018
Digital transformation driving adoption of cloud, IT optimisation, F5 Networks

Cindy Borovick, Business Intelligence Director, F5 Networks.

With digital transformation reshaping the modern enterprise, applications represent a new class of assets and an important source of differentiation. The digital economy requires that applications be delivered with speed, scale, and agility, which is why more and more organisations are turning to the cloud.

This explosive growth of apps hosted in the cloud creates a world of opportunities—and a whole new set of challenges for organisations that must now deploy and manage a vast portfolio of applications in multi-cloud environments. Automation and orchestration systems can help streamline and standardise IT processes across traditional data centers, private clouds, and public clouds. But with rapid innovation come concerns about security and delivering a consistent experience across environments.

Enter application services, which can help organisations boost performance, maintain availability, improve network and application security, and gain visibility into the behavior and health of their apps wherever they are deployed. In this dynamic technology ecosystem, the only law is change. As a result, the types of application services, the way they are deployed, and the environments they serve are constantly evolving.

Last year, the survey noticed the influence of the digital economy on application services. This year, the proof is clear. Organisations are building the foundation to support digital transformation by embracing cloud, automation, and orchestration. Furthermore, businesses are adjusting their security strategies to focus more on the application and are considering new offerings that are better suited to support applications deployed across multiple clouds.

Organisations leverage a suite of application services to provide the security, availability, and performance that their critical applications require to satisfy the needs of businesses and customers alike.

With the percentage of apps being delivered from the cloud growing, maintaining a robust and consistent suite of application services will become more and more important. This year, respondents were heavily focused on internal requirements to support the digital economy. As they become confident in the foundation they are building, IT organisations will reinvent themselves as platforms for competitive differentiation and innovation, helping drive business success in this continuing digital transformation.

Key takeaways

Organisations of all sizes are adapting to the new digital economy through digital transformation projects. Optimising IT infrastructure and processes, gaining a competitive advantage, and improving employee productivity are all driving these major shifts. As organisations evolve, they look to the cloud to provide the flexibility necessary to succeed in an increasingly crowded marketplace.

As applications drive business, organisations make IT decisions based on the needs of the app, leading many to leverage multiple cloud platforms. While multi-cloud environments offer many benefits in terms of speed, scale, and flexibility, challenges include providing consistent security across clouds, protecting apps from a variety of threats, and gaining visibility into application health.

Security held the top position in the list of services that organisations consider mandatory to deploy in support of their apps. However, four of the top five app services that organisations plan to deploy in the next twelve months are gateway services, which help bridge gaps between existing and emerging technology. Finally, organisations undergoing digital transformation were nearly twice as likely to prefer deploying app services in containers

With consumer and corporate data at risk due to persistent and emergent threats, organisations are ramping up web application firewall deployments to protect their apps. Respondents who have a web application firewall currently deployed tend to feel more confident in their ability to withstand application-layer attacks, although this confidence is more pronounced for on-premises deployments. Organisations with applications deployed in the cloud are challenged to move from network-focused security to application-centric solutions.

Nearly three out of four respondents cite automation as being important to their IT operations, and they are taking a strategic approach to leveraging it to optimise processes, scale to meet demand, and respond to incidents. Almost half have settled on a single automation framework, while two-thirds have standardised on a single scripting and deployment toolset. Container orchestration through proprietary and open-source systems continues to grow in popularity.

Key findings

Digital transformation inspires new architectures and IT optimisation initiatives: Optimising IT infrastructure and processes remains the primary driver for digital transformation projects. Cloud adoption and automation provide the speed, space, and scalability required by organisations.

Multi-cloud enables the best cloud for the app strategy: Most organisations pursue a best-of-breed strategy for each application deployment, leading to multi-cloud architectures. Nonetheless, IT organisations are still required to provide their distributed application portfolio with ubiquitous security and performance—no matter where each app resides

Application services are the gateways to the future: On average, organisations take advantage of 16 different application services to keep their apps fast, safe, and available. Security is still the most important application service, but application gateway services emerged as key services to be deployed in the next 12 months.

Security confidence falls as multi-cloud rises: Digital transformation drives organisations to deliver more apps from the cloud, yet organisational confidence to withstand an attack has taken a hit due to lack of experience and expertise in securing applications deployed in public clouds. Organisations that deployed web application firewalls WAFs were most confident in their security—both in public and private clouds.

Automation and orchestration, full steam ahead: IT is embracing programmability—and is standardising their automation and orchestration environments—to realise leaner IT with the goal of reducing OpEx. The use of containers ticks up as organisations seek faster, smarter scale through new application architectures and deployment models.


The State of Application Delivery report 2018 from F5 Networks captures the full impact of digital transformation on the IT organisation and cloud adoption explains Cindy Borovick.


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