Top 5 Service Performance Challenges in the Cloud
March 16, 2011
Russell Rothstein
Share this

What do Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, and Google Apps have in common? They’re all cloud computing services, of course. But they share something else in common — each of these clouds has experienced periods of outages and slowdowns, impacting businesses worldwide that increasingly rely on the cloud for critical operations. And while there’s a great deal of publicity when these prominent public clouds suffer outages, it’s no less damaging to the business when an IT department’s private cloud goes off-line, even if it doesn’t make the news. It’s no wonder that according to analyst firm IDC, two of the top three concerns that CIO’s have about cloud computing are performance and availability.

Moving services to the cloud promises to deliver increased agility at a lower cost − but there are many risks along the way and greater complexity to manage when you get there. The following are five critical hurdles that you may face when implementing and operating a private cloud or hybrid cloud and how you can overcome them.

1. Will it work? How can you tell which applications are suitable for cloud and plan a successful migration?

Not every application is suitable for the cloud. And sometimes one part of an application is cloud-ready while other components are not. You need to identify the most suitable applications and components for migration, identify potential problems such as chattiness and latency that are amplified in the cloud, and create a performance baseline that you can test against after migration. With a clear picture of service dependencies and infrastructure usage, you can create a checklist that will ensure a complete and successful migration.

2. Performance – If you don’t know which physical servers your application is running on, how do you find server-related root causes when performance issues arise?

In fully-dedicated environments, we sometimes use infrastructure metrics and events to diagnose performance issues. But inferring application performance from tier-based statistics becomes challenging – if not impossible – when applications share dynamically allocated physical resources. To manage application performance in the cloud, you need a real-time topological map of service delivery across all tiers. Since the landscape is always changing, it’s essential that the dependency map is dynamically generated and automatically updated for every single transaction and service instance.

3. Chargeback – How do you know how much CPU your application is consuming in order to choose an appropriate chargeback model or verify your bills?

IT needs a new paradigm for assessing resource consumption in order to transition from a resource-focused cost-center to a business-service-focused profit-center. But traditional chargeback and APM tools do not collect resource utilization per transaction to enable business-aligned costing and chargeback paradigms. For the cloud, you need a solution that monitors consumption for every service across multiple applications and tiers, so you can accurately cost services, decide on appropriate chargeback schemes, and tune applications and infrastructure for better resource utilization and lower cost.

4. Not aligned with the business – How do you ensure that services are allocated according to business priority?

Clouds offer us new levels of dynamic resource allocation. However, to ensure that SLAs in the cloud are met, you must be able to prioritize the allocation of resources based on measurements of real end-user performance and an accurate view of where additional resources can truly alleviate SLA risks. To make that possible, you need a clear picture of resource consumption at the transaction level and business intelligence about the impact of each infrastructure tier on performance. Provisioning based on business priorities becomes even more critical as cloud architectures transition to a dynamic auto-provisioning model.

5. Over-provisioning – How can you right-size capacity and prevent over-provisioning that undercuts ROI?

Sharing IT infrastructure can be more efficient and cost-effective – assuming you have an accurate picture of resource usage for each service, an understanding of how that allocation affects SLA compliance, and the ability to prioritize resource allocation. In the cloud, a complete history of all transaction instances, including precise resource utilization metrics and SLAs, is essential for making intelligent decisions about provisioning. And with an accurate picture of resource consumption for each business transaction, cloud owners can plan future capacity requirements accurately.

Russell Rothstein is Founder and CEO, IT Central Station.

Share this

The Latest

June 26, 2019

It is inevitable that employee productivity and the quality of customer experiences suffer as a consequence of the poor performance of O365. The quick detection and rapid resolution of problems associated with O365 are top of mind for any organization to keep its business humming ...

June 25, 2019

Employees at British businesses rate computer downtime as the most significant irritant at their current workplace (41 percent) when asked to pick their top three ...

June 24, 2019

The modern enterprise network is an entirely different beast today than the network environments IT and ops teams were tasked with managing just a few years ago. With the rise of SaaS, widespread cloud migration across industries and the trend of enterprise decentralization all playing a part, the challenges IT faces in adapting their management and monitoring techniques continue to mount ...

June 20, 2019

Almost two-thirds (63%) of organizations now allow technology to be managed outside the IT department, a shift that brings both significant business advantages and increased privacy and security risks, according to the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey ...

June 19, 2019

In a post-apocalyptic world, shopping carts filled with items sit motionless in aisles, left abandoned by the humans who have mysteriously disappeared. At least that’s the cliche scene depicted by sci-fi filmmakers over the past two decades. The audience is left to wonder what happened to force people to stop what they were doing and leave everything behind. If this past weekend was any indication, Armageddon begins when Target's cash registers shut down ...

June 18, 2019

Three-quarters of organizations surveyed by Gartner increased customer experience (CX) technology investments in 2018 ...

June 17, 2019

Users today expect a more consumer-like experience and many self-service web sites are too focused on automating the submission of tickets and presenting long, technically written knowledge articles with little to no focus on UX. Understanding the need for a more modern experience, a newer concept called "self-help" now dominates the conversation in its ability to provide a more deliberate knowledge experience approach that better engages the user and dramatically improves the odds of them finding an answer ...

June 13, 2019

Establishing a digital business is top-of-mind, even more so than last year, as 91% of organizations have adopted or have plans to adopt a digital-first strategy, according to IDG Communications Digital Business Research ...

June 12, 2019

If digital transformation is to succeed at the pace enterprises demand, IT teams, the CIOs who lead them, and the boardroom must forge a far greater alignment than presently exists. That is the over-arching sentiment expressed by IT professionals in a recent survey on the state of IT infrastructure and roadblocks to digital success ...

June 11, 2019

Given the incredible amount of traffic traversing corporate WANs, it's not surprising that businesses are seeing performance issues. If anything, it's amazing applications work as well as they do ...