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2013: The Year of Application Optimization for the Device-Driven Internet

2013 will bring even more complexity to high-performance cloud applications

For the past few years, our friends at VMblog.com have run an annual prediction series forecasting the trends most likely to drive adoption of cloud and virtualization technologies in the upcoming year. This is the second year in a row that they’ve invited me to contribute, and I thought long and hard about the assignment. After a deep gaze into my crystal ball, a deliberate shuffle of the tarot cards, and much careful contemplation, I settled on six major predictions, six changes to how solution providers and organizations will approach performance management in 2013.

Some of these predictions I’ve already alluded to here on the Apica blog, but I also included a few we haven’t yet discussed. VMblog.com published my post a few weeks ago, and they were kind enough to let me share it with you here as well. So read on for my post, “2013: The year of application optimization for the device-driven Internet.” When you’re done, be sure to head over to VMblog.com to check out the rest of the 2013 Virtualization and Cloud Prediction Series.

2013: The year of application optimization for the device-driven Internet, originally published on VMblog.com

The lightning-speed pace at which web application delivery and consumption is changing requires deeper and more accurate performance insight and monitoring capabilities than ever before. In 2012, we saw our fair share of high-profile cloud and web outages expose the unpredictability of today’s infrastructure and highlight the importance of a failover plan. Traditional thinking no longer holds up to today’s performance optimization challenges.

2013 will bring even more complexity to high-performance cloud applications and this will require developers and IT teams to have constant visibility into application performance in order to diagnose specific problems. Here’s what I predict will be the major changes to how solution providers and organizations approach performance management in the coming year:

  1. A shift to a device-driven and faster Internet. By 2014, mobile Internet usage is expected to exceed desktop Internet usage. That means that in 2013 developers and marketers will be hard at work fine-tuning their mobile apps and websites to capitalize on this audience. Performance testing will become more complex as mobile features will need to be considered in all test case scenarios. As a result, application testing tools will evolve to support any type of device with dynamic HTML versus device-specific code. Special protocols like WebSocket and SPDY will also become mainstream.
  2. Internet backup. Companies utilizing hybrid cloud solutions will realize that they need to have a reliable and redundant network connection to the Internet not only from their main headquarters but from every local branch of the office.
  3. Performance Service Level Agreements (SLAs). Service providers with niche applications, like CMS hosting companies, will start to offer SLAs based on uptime and page performance to differentiate from classic server hosting with no SLA for performance. I wish the big mega-hosting companies like AWS, RackSpace, Azure, Google, IBM, and HP would offer real performance SLA. And if I say that they won’t, I’d be more than happy to be proven wrong.
  4. Optimizing Internet SaaS. Recognizing that users have high expectations for how quickly a website, application, or program should respond, global SaaS providers will begin to offer acceleration specifically for their services used by enterprises. This will help overcome latency between the SaaS service location and the local enterprise.
  5. The ‘social’ DDoS attack. Social media has brought a new level of risk to IT departments as a new type of DDoS attack emerges. Now, in addition to traditional hacking, websites need to be aware of social media driven “attacks” that can change traffic levels to 10 Gb/s, 100 Gb/s, or more from real users. Regardless of whether the attack is a malicious hack or a Facebook post or organized tweet, very few enterprise infrastructures can handle this load. Normal DDoS protection will not work. Organizations will safeguard themselves by ensuring their sites can absorb the load in a true cloud fashion (scaling to 10 or 100 times the load) and by having a well-organized and tested plan of action.
  6. Agile performance monitoring. As applications become more complex and the aforementioned predictions come to fruition, application monitoring and, more specifically, the ability to detect and locate the origin of performance problems will be a challenge for IT organizations. 2013 will be the year when performance monitoring will shift focus from just “Is it up or is it down?” to provide agile support for performance status and optimization of applications both in the cloud and on local enterprise networks.

Traffic, infrastructure, networks, and security will continue to threaten application performance in 2013. There is no crystal ball to predict if and when an application will fail, but never assume that your application is immune to any of these issues. Take the necessary measures to test performance, scalability, and reliability often so that you are well-prepared to overcome any situation that may arise.

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More Stories By Sven Hammar

Sven Hammar is Co-Founder and CEO of Apica. In 2005, he had the vision of starting a new SaaS company focused on application testing and performance. Today, that concept is Apica, the third IT company I’ve helped found in my career.

Before Apica, he co-founded and launched Celo Commuication, a security company built around PKI (e-ID) solutions. He served as CEO for three years and helped grow the company from five people to 85 people in two years. Right before co-founding Apica, he served as the Vice President of Marketing Bank and Finance at the security company Gemplus (GEMP).

Sven received his masters of science in industrial economics from the Institute of Technology (LitH) at Linköping University. When not working, you can find Sven golfing, working out, or with family and friends.