Q&A: THINKstrategies Talks About Cloud Management
August 28, 2012
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In APMdigest's exclusive interview, Jeffrey Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies and Founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace, talks about Cloud management, APM and his upcoming Cloud Channel Summit.

APM: What is the most interesting change you have seen in the Cloud market this year?

JK: The growing success of SaaS enterprise business applications has led IT organizations to seek a new generation of Cloud-based IT management solutions to help them perform their own jobs more effectively. This rising acceptance of SaaS/Cloud among IT professionals has widened the door for SaaS apps to further penetrate the business units. As IT and business users become more sophisticated they are also expecting a greater level of analytics embedded in their SaaS/Cloud solutions.

APM: In APMdigest's 10 Cloud Predictions for 2012, the top prediction was "Cloud Management Comes to the Forefront". Halfway through the year, do you see this prediction coming true?

JK: Yes, Cloud management has become a critical issue among organizations of all sizes, and cloud management is highly reliant on powerful new analytic capabilities.

APM: What are these analytics capabilities?

JK: Cloud management companies are using the latest monitoring and management technologies to capture key APM metrics, but they are more easily deployable, more economical and provide more intuitive dashboards that permit users to gain greater insight more quickly.

The metadata generated across the population of users also enables the Cloud management companies to produce additional benchmark data which permit users to compare and contrast their performance with their peers.

APM: Several articles, interviews and surveys on APMdigest in the past few years have talked about how organizations are moving to the Cloud even though they are not sure how to manage applications in the Cloud. Are you seeing any improvement in this area?

JK: A growing number of customer success stories is putting more pressure on organizations of all sizes in nearly every industry to move to the Cloud. Fortunately, the rapid growth of the Cloud market is also permitting organizations to move up the learning curve more quickly.

APM: Is the pressure a competitiveness issue?

JK: The pressures are not only competitive, but also in order to keep pace with escalating customer demands and the changing needs of a more dispersed workforce and partner ecosystem.

APM: What is the one thing IT operations managers should know about application performance in the Cloud?

JK: Application performance is impacted by a larger number of variables in the Cloud because of the supply chain of service providers and potential points of performance degradation. Therefore, Cloud APM must examine a broader set of performance indicators and report on them in a more flexible fashion.

The ability of today's Cloud management companies to pinpoint performance issues and threats, and correlate them to other aspects of the users' business adds a new layer of value.

APM: What are organizations not doing, that they should be doing, with respect to Cloud?

JK: Testing a new generation of Cloud-based APM solutions specifically designed to examine the broader set of variables which impact performance.

Cloud/SaaS apps are highly dependent on multiple network delivery mechanisms extending from the SaaS vendor to the hosting company to the ISP to the corporate LAN. The top Cloud management companies are developing APM solutions which can identify the source of performance degradation.

APM: What is missing from most of today's APM offerings, with respect to Cloud?

JK: Solutions which bridge the gap between APM and network performance management.

APM: What is the challenge there?

JK: This is an age-old issue because network and application performance have historically been measured on differing sets of KPIs using independent tools which many organizations have had a difficult time integrating in the past.

Today's leading Cloud-based APM solutions offer integrated data collection and reporting capabilities which can be shared across the network and application management teams.

APM: In terms of public Cloud, are providers becoming more open to delivering application performance metrics to their customers?

JK: Yes, because they recognize that they need to provide this added level of value to differentiate themselves in an increasingly commoditized market.

APM: What is the goal of your November event, the Cloud Channel Summit?

JK: The Cloud Channel Summit will provide an intimate forum for business development and channel management executives to network with their peers, share industry experiences and best practices, and explore new models for building partnerships in the Cloud.

APM: What will attendees gain from the Summit?

JK: Insights about how the Cloud is redefining channel relationships and how to build successful partnerships in this rapidly changing marketplace.

APM: What do you foresee in terms of Cloud adoption rates for 2012?

JK: Every major market research firm has published industry forecasts which project 20-30% growth rate, and THINKstrategies believes the real growth could exceed these rates.

APM: Do you have any predictions about what will happen with Cloud management and APM over the next year?

JK: Cloud management and APM will become a critical component of every IT operation as every organization becomes more dependent on Cloud-based services. In fact, Cloud management and APM will not be viewed as an add-on to the IT operation, but will become the centerpiece of these operations.

ABOUT Jeffrey Kaplan

Jeffrey Kaplan is the Managing Director of THINKstrategies,Founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace, and a regular blogger on APMdigest.

THINKstrategies is a consulting firm that focuses entirely on the business implications of the transformation of the software and technology industry from a product-centric to a services-driven operating model, including Cloud Computing. THINKstrategies helps its clients capitalize on this trend so they can achieve their business objectives. It specifically helps enterprise decision-makers with their sourcing strategies; solution providers with their marketing strategies; and venture firms with their investment strategies.

Kaplan is also the founder of the Cloud Computing Showplace, the largest, vendor-independent, online directory and best practice resource center with over 2000 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) company listings across over 90 Application, Industry and Service categories.

Prior to forming THINKstrategies, Kaplan served as VP of Marketing and Business Development at InterOPS Management Solutions; Director of Strategic Marketing at International Network Services (INS) and Lucent Technologies; and a leading industry analyst at IDC, Dataquest and META Group. He is an organizer and frequent speaker at various industry conferences, including track-moderator for NetworkWorld’s IT Roadmap; chairman of CloudWorld and Cloud Futures conferences; and a founding member of the SaaScon Advisory Board. He is also a contributing columnist for a variety of industry publications.

Related Links:

Contact Jeff Kaplan.

Cloud Channel Summit – November 5, 2012



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