The fifth annual F5 Networks State of Application Services (SOAS) report reveals a fast-changing application landscape that favours automation, cloudcentricity and an increased receptivity to digitally driven business innovation.
Digital transformation is a particular strategic driver amongst EMEA organisations, with as many as 75% of surveyed respondents embracing the transition, compared to 68% of companies in other regions.
EMEA organisations are also more likely to enable applications for mobile clients (40% versus 36% in other regions), with a similar proportion (41%) saying that the impetus to leverage digital transformation is prompting them to explore new application architectures, such as containerisation and microservices.
DevOps to the fore
Across the region, 62% believe a digital first mindset is altering the way applications are developed, compared to 51% in other parts of the world. Almost half (46%) of EMEA businesses reported positive changes in terms of how apps are delivered to production environments, including operational improvements such as more frequent releases.
The SOAS report concludes that the need for speed and greater innovation is prompting a worldwide trend for DevOps to transition from early adopter strategic differentiators to influential business operation contributors.
Indicative of this step change is the fact that 63% of EMEA firms are now are implementing automation and orchestration wherever possible in their IT systems and processes. This is slightly ahead of the rest of the world (61%).
Multi-cloud strategy and security
Just under half (45%) of EMEA respondents currently evaluate cloud decisions based on the environment best suited for each application, a trend that is expected to grow and add further momentum to widespread multi-cloud adoption.
Overall, 42% of EMEA firms use two to six cloud providers; 11% use seven to ten providers; and 4% use 11 to 20. More than a quarter (28%) of all organisations in EMEA avoid cloud in any form excepting SaaS.
Security concerns are the main reason organisations currently don’t have plans to deliver apps in the public cloud. The biggest multi-cloud challenges identified in EMEA were dealing with existing and emerging threats (40%), followed by regulation compliance (31%) and applying consistent security policies across all company applications (30%).
In general, EMEA respondents are wary about their ability to protect applications off-premise. More than a third (35%) indicated ‘low confidence’ to withstand an application layer attack in all three offpremise scenarios: SaaS applications, public cloud, and colocation data centres.
The future of application services
The most commonly deployed application services in EMEA are network firewalls (89%), identity and access management via SSL VPN (87%), anti-virus (87%), IPS/IDS security (76%) and identity and access management using application access controls (74%).
Looking ahead, the top planned application services deployments for EMEA businesses are focused on IoT gateways (38%), DNSSEC (34%), HTTP/2 gateways (32%), SDN gateways (30%) and service meshes (29%).