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13 Jun 2018Phil Goodwin, Research Director, IDC

The "Hidden Gotcha" of Web-native Applications

With Phil Goodwin, Research Director, IDC


Guest blogger Phil Goodwin from IDC highlights the dangers of application failures as they recover to inconsistent data states, triggering significant costs. How can the industry step up to the challenge?

IDC research shows that application deployments will accelerate in the coming years, with some organizations expecting to deploy as many as 200 new applications within the next three years. While most of these new applications will be deployed directly in the cloud, many mission-critical apps will remain on-premise. We have also found that 70% of CIOs have a cloud-first strategy for new application deployment, and we expect that more than 60% of applications will have a cloud component within the next two years. What this means is that data will be spread out across multiple cloud repositories, including both private and public clouds. Some of these applications will be deployed and controlled directly by the IT organization, but an increasing number will be third-party cloud-based applications, a situation in which IT has indirect control at best.


"These independent applications will be interdependent for data, so data loss or interruption from one application could impact many others. IDC calls this the "hidden gotcha" of federating applications from on-premise to cloud and across clouds.”


These independent applications will be interdependent for data, so data loss or interruption from one application could impact many others. IDC calls this the "hidden gotcha" of federating applications from on-premise to cloud and across clouds. Critical applications could experience hours or days of downtime in the event of a service disruption from just one application as IT personnel must manually intervene to coordinate data recovery for multiple applications and bring them back online in a consistent state.

For many critical cloud and Web-based applications, the primary buyer and user is the line of business (LOB) team. They perform the product evaluation, provide the funding, and sign the purchase order, sometimes with assistance from IT and sometimes not. Unfortunately, few LOB groups fully understand the needs of data protection. They assume that the data is being managed by professionals and is therefore adequately protected.


"Unfortunately, few LOB groups fully understand the needs of data protection. They assume that the data is being managed by professionals and is therefore adequately protected.”


However, for the cloud application provider, data protection is a cost, not a revenue source. Providers often establish a minimal amount of data protection, which is usually associated with keeping the application running and without consideration of long-term data retention or access requirements. Only when the IT organization gets involved – often after data has already been lost – are tools and policies applied to the data in accordance with corporate requirements, sometimes at a substantial additional cost. This cost may significantly impact the application’s economics, a fact that becomes known only after it's too late to do anything about it.

Web-native applications have an even more insidious side. Increasingly, these applications are becoming federated as part of a larger solution. By federated, we mean that an application may process data and send the result to another application, where more processing occurs. That result is then sent on to yet another application -- or back to the first. Applications are needed collectively to complete a total transaction. We believe that this federated model will increase as IoT and other endpoint devices are deployed and interact with other applications.


"Herein lies the “hidden gotcha”: Each application in the federated environment can recover to a consistent state on its own. However, if one application completed its processing task and the next application failed, the applications will recover to an inconsistent state from a transactional perspective.”


Herein lies the “hidden gotcha”: Each application in the federated environment can recover to a consistent state on its own. However, if one application completed its processing task and the next application failed, the applications will recover to an inconsistent state from a transactional perspective. Recovery mechanisms are needed that will facilitate transaction-level recovery across applications, even though the applications are "unaware" of each other. IDC believes that the industry is beginning to address this issue from a holistic, environmental perspective rather than from the traditional system-level approach. In the meantime, IT organizations need to be alert to the data protection needs of cloud-based applications and the data dependencies between them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Phil Goodwin is a Research Director within IDC’s Storage Systems and Software research practice. He provides detailed insight and analysis on evolving industry trends, vendor performance, and the impact of new technology adoption. He is responsible for producing and delivering timely, in-depth market research with a specific focus on Data Protection, Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery, and Data Availability.



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