7 More Things About Public Cloud
June 15, 2011
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BSMdigest asked a variety of experts across the industry: What is the one piece of advice you would give someone about application performance management in the cloud? Several of these experts addressed the issue of application performance in the public cloud. Here are their answers ...

1. A New Set of BSM Solutions Is Needed

Every metric provided to you by your cloud vendor that is supposed to help you understand either system or applications performance will be worse than useless. The reason is that the cloud vendor makes money by sharing his infrastructure between multiple customers, and is never going to expose the data that shows when such sharing is impacting either system or applications performance. This will only get fixed when a new set of BSM or APM solutions comes to market that measures the responsiveness of the cloud layer to the customer, and when the cloud vendors agree to SLAs that guarantee that level of responsiveness.

Bernd Harzog
Virtualization Performance and Capacity Management Analyst, The Virtualization Practice

2. Demand Complete Transparency

Trust, but verify. SaaS customers put a high level of trust in their vendors. SaaS vendors owe their customers visibility, in real time, into how their service is performing. While the cloud eliminates the need to worry about the mundane components of IT infrastructure, it doesn't change service or performance expectations of end users. If service levels are not being met, IT is ultimately responsible. IT should demand complete transparency and require cloud service providers to deliver access to appropriate application performance metrics.

Pat Casey
Principle Architect, ServiceNow

3. Review SLA Metrics

When purchasing from SaaS provider, like Salesforce.com or Serivce-Now.com, review their SLA metrics carefully and regularly survey your users to ensure performance metrics match what the provider is telling you.

Rick Berzle
BSM Review

4. Manage Cloud Providers Via Supplier Management

The Service Provider for your cloud service needs to be managed in the way you should manage any other 3rd party supplier - it might be that the importance, and the resultant impact of the risk of failure, is higher than other services you buy. However, most organisations need to improve their Supplier Management capability - it's not just about standard procurement control and financials, it's now critical that Supplier Management balances cost and quality, measures true business value, and becomes much more integrated to the other Service Management processes and functions. The ability to clearly establish, map and manage the relationships from Business Relationship Management, through Service Level Management and Service Reporting, all the way through to Supplier Management, has now become much more important. The whole concept of Service Asset and Configuration Management, of understanding and being able to produce Service Models of the relationships top-to-bottom, can help here as you need to clearly understand how the cloud service you are buying impacts your customers and the services you deliver to them.

Stand back for a moment and look at the whole of your Service Management capability. For the move to cloud services to be successful you will probably need to improve your maturity and capability in some specific Service Management disciplines (for example Supplier Management, Service Level Management, and Business Relationship Management), but don't forget that it needs to work end-to-end - the cloud services need to perform in a way that lets you deliver your services to your customers at the required value, cost and quality.

Matthew Burrows
Director, BSMimpact

5. Architect Your Applications for the Cloud

Architecting for high availability is one of the biggest challenges. Today, systems are even more complex, relying on multiple independent applications, services, and hardware solutions. Each of these layers impacts the availability of your systems. As companies architect systems relying on cloud services, they must take into account what cloud services they rely on, their impact on the system, and the SLAs. One common mistake is assuming that the availability of the system is limited by the component with the lowest availability. Assume that your application relies on two services: a cloud storage service with 99.5% availability, and a DNS service with 99.2% availability. Your system's availability is not 99.2%, rather 99.5%*99.2% = 98.7%! When architecting for the cloud, ensure you evaluate all the services you rely on, understand their SLAs, and design for failure so that your system has the highest availability.

Mehdi Daoudi
Chief Executive and Founder, Catchpoint

6. Beware of Other Applications Sharing Your Resources

The cloud is opaque, so you can’t monitor its inner workings with tradition tools, and the cloud is shared, so you need to be careful that someone else’s app is not making yours slow. Sudden and unpredictable demand of other customers may take a disproportionate share of cloud resources, robbing your application of what it needs to deliver excellent application performance. You need instant awareness into when this is happening, or when other factors are impacting performance delivered to the end user. The answer is to have collective intelligence-driven analysis, visibility into the experience for all users of the cloud service, to optimize application performance.

Steve Tack
CTO of Compuware's APM business

7. User Experience Metrics Are the Key

One thing that that remains consistent across all cloud delivery systems is the need to understand actual application responsiveness at the end-point, whether a PC, mobile device, or virtualized desktop. Capturing user-experience metrics consistently is THE baseline for assessing the success, or disruptiveness, of cloud services, and can help you to evaluate the competitiveness of third-party offerings more meaningfully.

Dennis Drogseth
Vice President, EMA

Click here to read the 12 Things You Need to Know About Application Performance Management in the Cloud

Click here to read about how BSMdigest compiled the lists featured in this month's issue

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