A Private Matter: Performance Management in the Private Cloud
September 28, 2010
Pete Goldin
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One of the most important Business Service Management challenges facing companies right now is how to maintain performance management when migrating to the cloud. But the truth is that there are public clouds and private clouds, which are both very different – and consequently require very different ways of approaching monitoring, management and BSM.

Public cloud seems to be getting most of the press these days, which is not really fair, because private cloud seems to be getting most of the deployments.

“Our research is showing that private cloud adoption, and intent for adoption, is outweighing public cloud by a significant margin,” confirms Julie Craig, Research Director, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). “Most of the companies that we deal with are moving rapidly towards private cloud adoption and less quickly towards public cloud adoption.”

Interestingly, the reasons behind the popularity of private cloud are related to Business Service Management. Craig explains, “Most companies want the visibility and control over their mission-critical deployments, which would be lacking if they move them to a public cloud.”

The Management Challenge

While the public cloud is a whole new approach to IT that involves outsourcing your infrastructure, the private cloud is simply a virtualized environment that serves the business side of the organization more efficiently by offering functionality such as usage metering, standardized service catalogs, and on-demand self-service provisioning. For this reason, private cloud brings much of the same challenges as the virtual environment, such as the need for a new type of monitoring tool designed for virtualization.

“Private clouds have highly virtualized environments, and we are just getting to the point right now where a lot of the traditional application and transaction management vendors are providing good visibility into virtualized environments,” says Craig. “Companies that do not have the ability to trace business services across virtualized environments are going to have to deal with that before they are going to be successful in terms of monitoring their private cloud.”

Craig also points out a difference between virtualization and private cloud – virtualization tends to have more infrastructure-focused monitoring capabilities, but as organizations move to private cloud, they need to focus more on monitoring applications and business services. This also happens to be a critical step towards Business Service Management.

Click here to read more about how private cloud drives Business Service Management.

Managing Across Hybrid Environments

Another challenge of monitoring and management in the private cloud is that for the present, most environments will be hybrid – some combination of cloud and physical, and even some combination between public and private cloud. In the hybrid environment, an organization could easily end up with multiple, disconnected management tool silos.

“It is important to have one monitoring solution that covers both physical assets and the private cloud,” says Ben Grubin, Director, Data Center Solutions, Novell. “There is a tendency that the more different environments you compute within – private cloud, public cloud, virtual and physical environments – the more different management stacks you have to maintain. This is untenable in the long run. They need to come together in a single pane of glass. You need to have a single management stack that is capable of working across all those environments.”

“Ultimately, it is important for companies to move toward comprehensive monitoring across the public and private cloud,” Craig agrees. “That is still forward thinking – I don’t think there are too many companies that are going to be doing that within the next year or so, just because it is going to take a while for management products to mature to that point. And also because it is going to take a while for adoption to mature to the point.”

“But this is something to keep in mind as you purchase new products, to look at the capability and even just the direction of the vendor in terms of whether they will be able to support capabilities like bursting,” Craig adds, referring to the capability to switch applications from private to public cloud as needed, such as during a periodic spike in usage. “If you want to be able to do those kinds of things, you are going to need products in place that can support that.”

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