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  • Mike Bruce

Achieving End-To-End Application Management in a Hybrid World

Organizations across all sectors are struggling with delivering long-term work-from-home sustainability while enabling ongoing innovation and progress. This has led to a permanent but still shifting hybrid reality mix of work from home and in-office work. According to a recent DWEA survey, 33.9% of workers polled expect their employers to offer a hybrid mix of home and office work while 24.5% expect only working from home. This expanded view of hybrid beyond the current hybrid multicloud drives immense challenges in application management and access for every organization.


IT needs long-term, capable solutions that make it easy to manage every application on any device in any location. This is the only way to reduce the complexities that organizations face with redundant management, versioning, updates, and access processes across a mix of virtual platforms and thousands of applications and users.


End-user expectations of simple access and transparent use are hard to meet when there are so many IT hurdles to overcome. As IT struggles to manage existing systems and infrastructures, they leave users with devices and processes that are unsatisfying and unproductive with lots of downtime and confusion.


The only way to make this complexity manageable is to create a way to bring true interconnectivity, integration, interoperability, and simplicity to the process. Organizations and the vendors that support them need a way to:


· Streamline and automate management processes

· Fill the connectivity gaps in current application management tools and platforms

· Deliver a holistic view and experience of all applications, platforms, environments, and users to create a true end-to-end management environment


The current complexity of platform silos, application provisioning and updating, and end-user demands for simplicity will only grow worse as technologies and user demands grow.

And through it all, organizations will still need to find ways to easily adapt while ensuring secure access and transparent workflows. The possibilities of cloud and virtualization for IT teams and organizations are not enough when presented with the challenges of a new hybrid world.


The Possibilities and Challenges of Cloud and Virtualization


Despite cloud’s possibility for anywhere, anytime application accessibility, it brings great complexity. This is because of its constant evolution to meet changing needs of application and services delivery across public, private, hybrid, and multicloud environments.


Virtualization enables an organization to run virtual versions of computer systems in a layer that’s abstracted from the hardware. It does this by creating virtual instances of IT services that traditionally have been bound to hardware. This allows multiple applications and operating systems on a single computer or server.


A prime example of virtualization at work in modern organizations is Virtual Desktop infrastructure (VDI). This is the creation and management of desktop environments and applications that allow employees to work and access applications and services anywhere.


Many organizations are looking to cloud virtualization for VDI hosting solutions to reduce their hardware carbon footprint and reduce costs. As VDI in the cloud matures, other cloud virtualization approaches like Cloud PC and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) are becoming more popular. Research and Markets expects the global cloud VDI market to reach a CAGR of 16.37% between now and 2027.


The cloud rather than on-prem data centers or physical devices like a workstation are the origin point of today's VDI, which lowers Capex while enabling scalability.

Virtualization and VDI are still prevalent, but the needs for technology and users in a hybrid world are changing fast. Recent big picture mergers have yet to play out in this space, so the future of what it will look like is uncertain.


The Future of Virtualization Platforms


Most organizations see the competitive and operational importance of trying innovative technologies. Many are still averse to the risk of jumping all in when their current VDI infrastructure may last five or even ten years into the future. This doesn’t change the fact that many of these legacy virtual desktop approaches bring challenges like:


· High cost

· Complexity

· Lock-in

· Limited scalability

· Over-provisioning

· Poor user experience

· Latency

· Management at scale


This shows how VDI, DaaS, and Cloud PC are just part of the solution rather than a silver bullet to application management in a hybrid world. Virtualization and cloud platforms will continue to play a key role in the delivery and access of applications and workloads. But they will still require some unifying approach for organizations using multiple platforms to make true end-to-end management and access easy and transparent. As environments and end-user needs grow, it becomes untenable to:


· Log into multiple environments

· Manage multiple passwords

· Ensure the completion of all patches and updates across all applications, versions, platforms, and environments


An Okta white paper shows the biggest hybrid IT access challenges include:


· Failure-prone manual provisioning

· Compliance visibility (who has access to what)

· Siloed User Directories for Each Application

· Managing Access for Remote Work

· Keeping Application Integrations Up to Date

· Different Administration Models for Different Applications

· Providing Consistent Access to On-Prem and Cloud Applications


This makes it impossible for organizations, MSPs, and vendors to manage applications and access across different environments in a simple, agile, transparent, and secure way for IT and end users.


Universal Application Access


True security in a hybrid world starts with the management of end users and the application lifecycle. While cloud providers and security vendors tackle remaining security and compliance capabilities, mitigating risk at the end-user level requires eliminating any complexity through concepts like:


· Zero-touch

· Single sign-on

· Simplifying the login process by reducing the number of screens and browsers that users require


Applying these solutions from multiple vendors with universal connectivity and interoperability are herculean tasks for IT while managing thousands of applications and users in a hybrid, multicloud, and multi-platform world. Every organization is already overextending their IT team with daily system maintenance management and updates. These teams often lack sufficient cloud expertise across all providers.


This ongoing challenge demands a solution that brings together all the disparate systems and infrastructures that support applications. There are two goals for IT when dealing with applications across on-prem and cloud with different platforms in play:


· Simplify overall management and identity access

· Make it easier and more secure for users to access what they need and when they need it to run the business


As this new hybrid world changes in unforeseen ways, enterprises along with their application and platform vendors will need to demo solutions that adapt to all their needs. A single solution with this level of agility, control and simplicity will maximize the cooperation between enterprises and their current and legacy platforms. It can also free them to easily migrate to innovative solutions that better meet their needs in a hybrid world.