F5 survey discloses that digital transformation initiatives driving sudden surge in emerging application services



F5 Networks announced on Tuesday results of its 2018 State of Application Delivery report. The global customer survey shows accelerating multi-cloud deployments are enabling organizations to select the cloud platform that best meets the requirements of a specific application. However, this also increases the challenges many companies face in managing operations and security across multiple clouds as they transform their application portfolio to compete in the digital economy.

In its fourth year, the State of Application Delivery report examines the vital role of application services, enabling enterprises to deploy applications faster, smarter, and safer.

Over 3,000 IT, networking, application, and security professionals from around the world weighed in on application delivery topics ranging from public and private cloud and multi-cloud adoption; to rising security challenges; to automation, orchestration, and the future of enterprise application services.

Survey responses came from around the globe, spanning industries like government, financial services, technology, and education. Respondents’ roles ranged from infrastructure, IT security, application development, and DevOps to the executive suite.

Optimizing IT infrastructure and processes remains the primary driver for digital transformation projects, according to 72 percent of respondents, while nearly half said digital transformation is encouraging the delivery of applications from the cloud (49 percent). Furthermore, 47 percent stated that it is changing how they develop applications, and 41 percent reported exploring new application architectures such as containers and microservices.

Most organizations pursue a best-of-breed strategy for each application deployment, leading to multi-cloud architectures. Nearly nine in ten respondents reported using multiple clouds (87 percent), with 56 percent saying cloud decisions are made on a per application basis.

On average, organizations take advantage of 16 different application services to keep their apps fast, safe, and available. Security is still the most important application service, but gateway services emerged as a critical need this year as IT organizations prepare for the digital economy. Four of the top five services organizations plan to deploy in the next 12 months are application gateway services, including SDN, API, IoT and HTTP/2.

Digital transformation drives organizations to deliver more apps from the cloud, yet organizational confidence to withstand an attack has taken a hit due to lack of experience and expertise in securing applications deployed in public clouds. In fact, this year 28 percent said protecting applications is a top security challenge. This has led to an increase in organizations deploying Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), with 70 percent saying they have one deployed and another 19 percent planning to deploy in the next 12 months.

IT is embracing programmability—and standardizing on their automation and orchestration environments—to realize leaner IT with the goal of reducing operating expenses. Nearly three in four (74 percent) of respondents declare the use of automation in the operation of IT infrastructure to be “somewhat” or “very” important. The majority (70 percent) are using automation to realize leaner IT with the goal of reducing operating expenses, while over half (51 percent) are looking to scale to meet demand.

“In this year’s report, respondents made clear they are heavily focused on building the foundation necessary for application driven digital transformation,” said Cindy Borovick, Business Intelligence Director at F5. “As a result, many are moving toward multi-cloud environments that will enable them to reinvent themselves as platforms for competitive differentiation and innovation, helping create business success in the digital economy.”

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