In a buzzword heavy industry, Cloud Computing has definitely garnered more than its fair share of attention lately. According to a recent InformationWeek article, more than 50% of companies represented by their readers are using or evaluating Cloud-based applications. But the same article revealed some scary numbers about the manageability, or lack there of, for these cloud services. "Forty percent of respondents using cloud computing don't monitor application performance." And perhaps more troubling, "less than 30% of the clients (working with a particular managed services provider) have systems in place to monitor their internal networks.", that's their INTERNAL networks, people!
Managing the performance of a modern, highly-distributed application is hard, there are just too many moving pieces. Now double that complexity when it comes to a cloud-based application. A performance bottleneck could come from any one of a number of places: poor application design/architecture/implementation, the cloud provider's network environment, the end-user's network environment, external internet traffic etc. You really need a well thought out plan to ensure performance across this end-to-end transaction chain.
The ExtraHop Application Delivery Assurance system can help in a few different ways. First, for end-user customers, it's always a good idea to baseline your internal environment before any cloud expansion. The ExtraHop system auto-discovers your environment in minutes and start to build an accurate baseline that takes into consideration time of day and day of week fluctuations. Then later, when the service is in use, comprehensive monitoring helps to quickly rule out internal system issues when a cloud service is slow and arm you with better information when working with the cloud provider to track down problems. The ExtraHop system acts as a "Google Earth" for your networks and applications, providing a complete view that enables you to drill down to very detailed stats around any given transaction.
Secondly for Cloud service providers, having a holistic application and network management solution in place is key to guaranteeing SLAs. As competition intensifies, more and more cloud providers will need to differentiate by ensuring and demonstrating scalability, reliability in concrete, measurable terms. Having a paired ExtraHop solution in place, to measure both the backend infrastructure environment and in-coming internet traffic will help you gain that complete visibility you need to stay ahead of any potential problems. The advantage ExtraHop brings is really in the integrated perspective (single tool/view for app, network, storage, DB etc.), depth of the data and ease of use.
Cloud computing continues to heat up. As these solution mature, the importance of performance and manageability will become more and more "front and center". So get ahead of the curve and plan for ways to speed up your cloud now. Would love to hear your own thoughts and experiences in the comments.