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

Fourth annual State of Application Delivery report shows rise of multi-cloud architectures necessitating automation and application-centric security approaches.


F5 Networks announced the 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 the Philippines, the national government, through the Department of Information and Communication Technology, has adopted a ‘cloud-first’ approach in line with its efforts to encourage public departments and agencies to consider cloud computing solutions. This initiative is another step forward in fulfilling the National Cybersecurity Plan 2022, a program that aims to strengthen the country’s resilience against cyberattacks and to foster a cybersecurity-educated society.

“Even with the constant threat of security breaches, there is no sign that digital transformation is slowing down. Applications are the new normal in Asia Pacific as digital disruption changes how over 4 billion Asians interact with our data-driven economy,” said Adam Judd, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific, China and Japan, F5 Networks. “This year’s State of Application Delivery report shows how digital transformation is impacting Asia Pacific businesses — as they focus on building the foundation for application-driven customer experiences which are faster, smarter and safer.”

In its fourth year, the State of Application Delivery report examines the vital role application services play, enabling enterprises to deploy applications faster, smarter and safer. More than 3,000 IT, networking, application, and security pros from around the world weighed in on application delivery topics ranging from public and private cloud and multi-cloud adoption, 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.

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Key takeaways include:

  • Digital transformation inspires new architectures and IT optimization initiatives: Optimizing IT infrastructure and processes remains the primary driver for digital transformation projects, according to 69 percent of Asia Pacific respondents, while over half said digital transformation is encouraging the delivery of applications from the cloud (51%). Furthermore, 44 percent stated that it is changing how they develop applications, and 37 percent reported exploring new application architectures such as containers and microservices.
  • Multi-cloud enables the “best cloud for the app” strategy: Most organizations pursue a best-of-breed strategy for each application deployment, leading to multi-cloud architectures. Eighty-four percent of Asia Pacific respondents reported using multiple clouds, with close to half (49%) saying cloud decisions are made on a per application basis.
  • Application services are the gateways to the future: 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. In Asia Pacific, four of the top five services organizations plan to deploy in the next 12 months are app gateway services, including SDN, API, IoT and HTTP/2.
  • Security confidence falls as multi-cloud rises: 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 of respondents globally said protecting applications is a top security challenge. This has led to an increase in organizations deploying Web Application Firewalls (WAFs), with only 2 percent of Asia Pacific respondents saying they do not expect any of their applications to be protected by a WAF in the next 12 months.
  • Automation and orchestration: Full steam ahead: IT is embracing programmability—and standardizes on their automation and orchestration environments—to realize leaner IT with the goal of reducing OpEx. Over eight in 10 respondents in Asia Pacific (81%) declared the use of automation in their production deployments, with the majority looking to the “big three”—VMware, Cisco, and OpenStack—to address their automation needs.


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