Today, many IT organizations within enterprises have stated plans to migrate to the Cloud to improve operational costs efficiencies and to provide better services to the business users. There are also a number of IT pilot projects utilizing Cloud services. The most pressing issues to organizations today – and the ones holding back increased investment – are security, compliance and performance, in that order.
As Cloud technology matures, there is no doubt security and data privacy issues will and are being resolved. However, Cloud application performance is a different beast and something equally as important to ensure adoption and success.
In today’s non-Cloud environments, application performance monitoring is going mainstream, according to the Gartner Hype Cycle for IT Operations Management, 2011. Gartner had seen an increase in demand from their clients who are transforming from purely infrastructure management to application management.
In today’s non-Cloud environment, with the current technology for application performance management, it is possible to instrument and collect run-time metrics and provide access to management tools to analyze and report on the metrics. Thus, it is possible to obtain a comprehensive view of an application including end user experience, specific transactions, and the supporting delivery infrastructure in order to manage the availability and performance of a business service.
When parts or all of an application moves to a Cloud, the view into the application is disrupted. This may be due to the loss of access to instruments for metrics collection, or access for the data to make its way back to the management system. But, here lies the problem with performance management in the Cloud – there has historically been a disconnect. One thing that doesn’t change for both Cloud and non-Cloud environments is that the users, representing the business, expect the same level of availability, access to the applications, and performance. This presents a new challenge for organizations looking to leverage the Cloud.
For an enterprise IT organization that is building a private cloud and virtualizing applications, the following are 3 key challenges to evaluate when looking for an application performance management solution:
1. Bridge the Gap
Since application and network performance management bridge between cloud and non-cloud environments, it’s likely an organization is not moving all applications to a private cloud. Whether in transition to migrate applications or simply maintaining both cloud and non-cloud based applications, the challenge of managing availability and performance for both sets of applications exists. It is crucial that cross-functional IT team members have a common, unified system that they can rely on for problem domain isolation, root cause identification with actionable information so that they can resolve the problems.
2. See More
Within a private cloud, the challenge is visibility of applications in a virtualized environment. To accomplish this, an organization needs flexible data collection instrumentation. It is important that the instrumentation can measure the performance of multi-tier applications as well as provide transaction level information for root cause analysis when performance degrades. This requires supporting deployment models to see the intra virtual machine’s traffic.
3. Be Scalable and Prepare for the Future
As with any new technology, it’s important to collect new information. The chosen solution needs to be extensible to support new relevant performance metrics without having to do a mass rip and replace. A proven scalable architecture is important especially if managing many remote offices. For the IT team to be effective, the architecture needs to be able to support mediating a variety of data sources in a delivery infrastructure and correlating performance metrics to provide a comprehensive view of application performance.
Belinda Yung-Rubke is Director of Field Marketing for Visual Networks Systems.