Optimizing for Cloud Is Not an Option, It's a Necessity
August 10, 2015

Tracy Corbo

Share this

EMA estimates that enterprise customers with cloud-based deployments are running an average of 20% of their workloads over public and/or private cloud. The problem is that cloud deployments often experience performance issues. Since traditional testing methods do not always catch these issues prior to deployment, optimization has become a requirement.

The Challenges of Cloud Computing

Cloud takes resources that might have been local to the users and moves them outside the corporate firewall and over the public Internet, until, in many cases, these resources are half a continent or more away from the users. This reduces visibility while adding in latency. EMA's recent study, Optimizing the Network for Reliable Application Delivery Across the Cloud found that across all types of cloud — public, private, and hybrid — the majority of deployments suffered from performance issues, even though most participants performed pre-deployment testing.

Despite participants performing these tests and even making adjustments to their networks, such as adding bandwidth or changing the type of connectivity, more than half of the time their cloud deployments still experienced performance issues that impacted end users. The problem here could be that their pre-deployment testing may not account for wireless connectivity, which can come in multiple forms: corporate Wi-Fi, public Internet, or cellular. As Wi-Fi was cited by survey participants at the top connectivity method to reach external cloud services, this is a distinct possibility.

Workloads Matter

Workloads vary by cloud type. Private cloud typically carries more complex workloads including mission-critical custom applications. Public cloud is more likely to carry less critical, more general-purpose traffic, such as office productivity and email. Hybrid tends to be a mix of both.

As private cloud workloads are often more complex than others, these deployments are more likely to experience significant performance issues. Custom applications are often more complex and require access to multiple back-end systems. They also tend to have higher security requirements. All these components can impact response times, and our survey data indicates that this is especially true in the case of private cloud deployments in large enterprises (with more than 10,000 employees) and medium enterprises (with 2,500 to 9,999 employees). The study found that 89% of medium-enterprise respondents experienced performance issues that impacted end users, and 70% of those in large enterprises did as well.

Optimization Choices

There are many ways to tackle these performance issues in the cloud. The study looked at the traditional WAN optimization and application delivery controller (ADC) methods as well as alternative solutions, such as content delivery networks (CDNs) and other types of WAN-optimization solutions. While it was no surprise to see the tried and true methods topping the list across the various cloud types, it was interesting to see how the preferences shifted across various cloud types. The takeway is clear: Hardware-based optimization is giving way to software-based solutions.

It was also interesting to note how these optimization solutions were chosen, as the primary drivers were not feature sets, but rather how "cloud-friendly" the solutions were and whether they were a "good fit" for a particular workload. Both "integration with back-end systems" and budget considerations were also common factors in private cloud optimization choices.

If you plan to deploy to the cloud, make wireless connectivity part of your pre-deployment testing. And assume that despite your best efforts, some form of optimization will be necessary to ensure acceptable performance. Until more of our compute infrastructure shifts to support a cloud-based computing model, optimization technologies will be a requirement, not just window dressing.

Tracy Corbo is Principal Research Analyst at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

Share this

The Latest

February 01, 2023

As organizations continue to adapt to a post-pandemic surge in cloud-based productivity, the 2023 State of the Network report from Viavi Solutions details how end-user awareness remains critical and explores the benefits — and challenges — of cloud and off-premises network modernization initiatives ...

February 01, 2023

In the network engineering world, many teams have yet to realize the immense benefit real-time collaboration tools can bring to a successful automation strategy. By integrating a collaboration platform into a network automation strategy — and taking advantage of being able to share responses, files, videos and even links to applications and device statuses — network teams can leverage these tools to manage, monitor and update their networks in real time, and improve the ways in which they manage their networks ...

January 31, 2023

A recent study revealed only an alarming 5% of IT decision makers who report having complete visibility into employee adoption and usage of company-issued applications, demonstrating they are often unknowingly careless when it comes to software investments that can ultimately be costly in terms of time and resources ...

January 30, 2023

Everyone has visibility into their multi-cloud networking environment, but only some are happy with what they see. Unfortunately, this continues a trend. According to EMA's latest research, most network teams have some end-to-end visibility across their multi-cloud networks. Still, only 23.6% are fully satisfied with their multi-cloud network monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities ...

January 26, 2023

As enterprises work to implement or improve their observability practices, tool sprawl is a very real phenomenon ... Tool sprawl can and does happen all across the organization. In this post, though, we'll focus specifically on how and why observability efforts often result in tool sprawl, some of the possible negative consequences of that sprawl, and we'll offer some advice on how to reduce or even avoid sprawl ...

January 25, 2023

As companies generate more data across their network footprints, they need network observability tools to help find meaning in that data for better decision-making and problem solving. It seems many companies believe that adding more tools leads to better and faster insights ... And yet, observability tools aren't meeting many companies' needs. In fact, adding more tools introduces new challenges ...

January 24, 2023

Driven by the need to create scalable, faster, and more agile systems, businesses are adopting cloud native approaches. But cloud native environments also come with an explosion of data and complexity that makes it harder for businesses to detect and remediate issues before everything comes to a screeching halt. Observability, if done right, can make it easier to mitigate these challenges and remediate incidents before they become major customer-impacting problems ...

January 23, 2023

The spiraling cost of energy is forcing public cloud providers to raise their prices significantly. A recent report by Canalys predicted that public cloud prices will jump by around 20% in the US and more than 30% in Europe in 2023. These steep price increases will test the conventional wisdom that moving to the cloud is a cheap computing alternative ...

January 19, 2023

Despite strong interest over the past decade, the actual investment in DX has been recent. While 100% of enterprises are now engaged with DX in some way, most (77%) have begun their DX journey within the past two years. And most are early stage, with a fourth (24%) at the discussion stage and half (49%) currently transforming. Only 27% say they have finished their DX efforts ...

January 18, 2023

While most thought that distraction and motivation would be the main contributors to low productivity in a work-from-home environment, many organizations discovered that it was gaps in their IT systems that created some of the most significant challenges ...