Application services help organizations ensure that their critical apps are always available, protect their businesses from unforeseen threats, and scale seamlessly around the world — no matter where those applications reside. For F5’s annual survey, we asked IT leaders across a range of industries, company sizes and roles how they’re using application services to address the challenges and opportunities presented by the ongoing process of digital transformation. What we learned might surprise you.

87% of respondents have multi-cloud architectures, driven by an application-first methodology.

Most organizations evaluate cloud decisions based on which environment is best for each application, an application-first methodology that leads to multi-cloud architectures for nearly 90 percent of respondents. While multi-cloud has evolved from an experiment to a key strategy, enforcing consistent security and ensuring reliable performance remain challenging for most organizations.

69% of respondents are executing digital transformation — and application data reigns.

With more than two-thirds of survey respondents engaged in ongoing digital transformation initiatives, IT organizations are reevaluating their structures, processes and workflows to be more agile. As enterprises migrate applications to the cloud — and with them application data — the importance of data analysis and real-time threat analytics is emerging.

56% of respondents are employing containers; gateways, application security and availability are growing in importance.

The top application services currently deployed continue to be antivirus, network firewall, SSL VPN and load balancing, but the list of services respondents are planning to deploy includes some newcomers. The rise of containers has boosted the deployment plans for software-defined networking (SDN) and API gateways, as well as service mesh, while respondents also report deploying some newly developed cloud-native application services to increase scalability.

62% of respondents are deploying automation and orchestration initiatives — and developer-oriented solutions are leading the charge.

Automating and orchestrating development and deployment pipelines help organizations keep up with the rapid rate of change required for applications. With silos breaking down and cross-functional teams speeding innovation, organizations are standardizing on developer-oriented solutions to implement CI/CD practices throughout IT.

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