How to Improve Cloud Computing with Performance Monitoring
March 22, 2018

Keith Bromley
Ixia

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According to a webinar presented by Viavi, 6 Steps for Maintaining Control in the Cloud, a survey was conducted by Gartner Research with IT engineers that had moved workloads to the cloud. The results showed that approximately 53% of respondents were blind as to what happens in their cloud network and 79% were dissatisfied with the monitoring data that they get about their cloud network. This lack of proper monitoring data leads to a lack of ability to accurately understand what your network is doing and how well it is/is not performing.

In a previous blog, I talked about how to get visibility into cloud networks and resolve the first part of the problem. This included why visibility was important and how to accomplish it. Once you have that information, the next thing you need to understand is the performance of your cloud network so that you can answer important questions. This includes:

How will the network handle the application data that you currently have?

Is the current contracted work space enough?

Will you encounter performance problems and need to upgrade the CPU and memory in a hurry before you get more user complaints?

Here are three suggestions to help you:

■ Test your cloud network for adequate capacity before you migrate from your current on-premises solution

■ Monitor your cloud and on-premises networks during the migration process

■ Continually verify that your cloud provider is delivering upon the contracted SLA

To get the answers you want, the first thing you will want to do is to insert virtual taps into your cloud network so that you get the proper monitoring data you need.

The second thing you will want to do is create a proactive cloud monitoring solution. Basically, this is a monitoring solution that uses software agents and probes that you can place across your cloud and physical infrastructure.

With a proactive monitoring solution, you can use visibility technology to actively test your solution before migration, during migration, and after migration. For instance, you can pre-test the network with synthetic traffic to understand how the solution will perform against either specific application traffic or a combination of traffic types. The synthetic traffic provides you the network and/or application loading of a "busy hour" and the flexibility to perform evaluations during the network maintenance window.

Once the migration starts, you can measure the ambient latency, throughput, and performance problems on a per-hop basis within the network to see how it is performing. This lets you analyze both your on-premises solution as well as your cloud solution. This can be especially important if you have a hybrid solution right now, and are in the (often multi-year) process of transitioning from the physical to the virtual (cloud) world. A proactive testing and monitoring approach gives you the confidence that your new application rollouts will be successful in either network.

Proactive monitoring also allows you to perform SLA validation during business hours, since it is not service disrupting. This allows you validate the SLA performance at will. The information gathered can then be used to inform management about which goals are being met. If goals are not being met, you can use the impartial data you have collected and contact your vendor to have them either fix any observed network problems, or give you a discount if they are failing to meet agreed upon SLAs.

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