Cloud Performance Monitoring - Lift & Shift Doesn't Work
November 29, 2018

Keith Bromley
Ixia

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With all of the hype around cloud computing these days, it's a wonder that IT departments haven't come to an absolute standstill due to a bewildering amount of confusion. Don't get me wrong, cloud computing has clear and definite benefits. At the same time there is an excessive amount of vendor hype that it will fix a lot of problems which it will not. It can also create new problems with a lack of visibility and many IT professionals are disappointed with their leap to a pure cloud environment.

9 out of 10 respondents have seen a direct negative business impact due to lack of visibility into public cloud traffic

Consider this. A survey performed by Dimensional Research for Ixia showed that 9 out of 10 respondents have seen a direct negative business impact due to lack of visibility into public cloud traffic. This includes application and network troubleshooting and performance issues, as well as delays in resolving security alerts stemming from a lack of visibility.

In addition, Sanjit Ganguli of Gartner Research also conducted polling on public cloud migrations at the Gartner December 2017 Data Center Conference and found that 62 percent were not satisfied with the monitoring data they get from their cloud vendor now that they have moved to the cloud. In addition, 53 percent actually said that they were blind to what happens in their cloud network.

While not all cloud migration problems are avoidable, many can be. Specifically, performance issues are a real consideration for new cloud networks. Once you migrate to the cloud, and during the migration process, you will not have clear network performance data within your environment. It is up to you to implement this, if you want this visibility. The tools that the public cloud vendors provide will not be good enough.

Business intelligence applications are one example of a problem area. After porting the service from your completely controllable on-premises environment to a public cloud instance, you may find that it runs slower (after you receive multiple customer complaints). The "lift and shift" concept failed. The result is often an increase in more CPU, RAM, and interconnect bandwidth. This creates an unplanned and perpetual cost increase.

Another example is that you cannot natively tell how your applications are truly performing or even how your cloud instance is performing. Is it meeting or exceeding the service level agreement (SLA) that was put in place? Your cloud vendor will probably tell you that it is, but you have no independent data for a "check and balance" strategy on what they are delivering.

So, does this mean you give up using the cloud, hopefully not. There are clear business benefits to the cloud and to prolonged hybrid cloud solutions. The answer is to do a thorough assessment of what you are migrating and then perform baseline performance monitoring before, during, and after the move.

For instance, during the migration process, proactive performance monitoring of both your on-premises and cloud environments will be useful. Test the performance yourself to characterize how it is actually working at all phases. With the right tool, this testing can be fairly painless. An alternative is to copy and export cloud data back to your on-premises performance monitoring tools (assuming that you are operating a hybrid cloud environment) for analysis there. Many organizations that just blindly port services and applications to the cloud encounter cloud computing issues quickly, particularly performance issues.

Keith Bromley is Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing at Ixia Solutions Group, a Keysight Technologies business
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