Why Modern Operations and Modern Applications go Hand in Hand

What makes a modern application today? Unlike three-tier applications that were hosted by individual VMs in an on-premise environment, modern applications are broken down into microservices with each microservice being assigned a defined task or capability. These apps are often hosted in the cloud in some type of contain environment such as Kubernetes. According to IDC, 90% of all apps will feature microservice architectures by 2022. Guess what? It’s 2023 now. The era of the modernized application is here and it’s one of the reasons why 82% of IT leaders are adapting to a hybrid cloud environment.

The Paradox of Modernizing Application Environments

There are many inherent advantages to modern applications including greater agility, scalability, and speed. All of these helps make the job of the developer easier. It allows developers to deploy microservices in different languages and technologies. Time to market for feature updates and functionality can be greatly reduced. But within many companies there is a created friction between developers and the IT team that must maintain and support those application environments. In the quest for greater scalability, modern applications have out scaled their legacy monitoring and management systems that were designed for traditional architectures. Their use of dashboards that rely on human intervention simply cannot keep pace with the speed and dynamics of cloud-based applications.

Think of a highly mechanized army that is surging through enemy territory. While the speed, power, and mobility of a military force is important, it’s also important for an army to maintain a balance between the need to advance and the necessity to maintain its supply lines. Should the advancing units outpace their supply lines too much, they become vulnerable to counterattacks. Shortages of critical supplies such as food, fuel and spare parts can stop momentum, reduce military effectiveness and increase the risk of low morale and fatigue. While the effectiveness of the actual fighting units is the key to victory, that effectiveness is contingent on the ability to fuel the fight. Just as the front-line soldiers can’t supply themselves, developers aren’t good at things such as promoting infrastructure or making sure they have adequate storage resiliency. Nor do they have time. Supporting the technology is the job of operations, to ensure that its available, secure, reliable and performs as expected. When modern application development outpaces operations, performance thresholds deteriorate, and business objectives cannot be met.

What is Modern Operations?

IT organizations today must transition to modern operations to support their technical innovations residing within hybrid cloud environments. The key word is transition, because while most IT operation teams are skilled at performing traditional tasks and processes, they lack the tools and knowledge base to maintain and support modern applications.  The complexity of underlying services and interdependencies that support the application coupled with the dynamic nature of container environments makes traditional monitoring insufficient and outdated. Gone are the days in which these environments could be managed using prescribed metrics and alerts. Today’s complex, expansive, fast changing application environments require intelligent analytics to help make data driven performance and security decisions. Modern operations can collect, aggregate, and analyze vast amounts of data from multiple scattered sources to gain contextual insights into what is occurring in real time. The result is improved efficiency, resiliency, and responsiveness.

The 3 Core Principles of Modern Operations

Ever since the birth of the mainframe computer, operation teams have been supporting technology. So how do you modernize them to ensure that their capabilities match the needs of today’s hybrid cloud applications? Below are three core principles that guide modern operations today.

  1. Modern operations environments are developer-enabled

It is developers that drive digital innovation for your organization. They are the soldiers at the front line surging ahead to attain business objectives. That means that the operations teams are there to make the job of developers easy by taking support tasks off their plate. Developers are best at developing and IT is best at solving problems and remediating them. Its only when a company can strike the proper balance between development and operations that it can have the optimum value delivered back to it.

  1. Operations with code-like automation

Operations can’t provision or make changes fast enough today. Logging into everything to make changes or swivel amongst multiple dashboards just isn’t realistic for modern applications. The applications are created to adapt to demand fluctuations which means that operations need to be able to adapt at equal pace. To adapt, operations must automate everything they can so they need solutions that can deliver that automation using AI because unlike developers, they can’t write their own code.

  1. Operational Discipline

Modern operations don’t require a moonshot approach. It’s an incremental journey that involves the gradual reduction of human interaction to the point that decision making, and remediation takes place on its own. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for them. Modern operations is about giving your experienced operational professionals a framework to ensure that the practices and disciplines they’re already proficient at are extended beyond the datacenter into the multiple clouds that make up today’s hybrid architectures.


You can’t modernize your applications and neglect operations at the same time or you risk incurring technical debt. The two must work in conjunction. Ensuring that operations have the proper tools in place to support the technical innovations that your developers are creating to drive business success is critical today. Make sure you have a balanced approach to modern application deployment today.

Michael Downs

Chief Technology Officer

Michael is the Chief Technology Officer at Evolving Solutions and joined the company in 2014. Connect with Michael on LinkedIn here.

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