Monitoring and Managing Business Applications in Hybrid Clouds: Technical Elegance or Road-kill?

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Monitoring the health of virtual infrastructure, for example on-demand computing resources and business-critical applications, running across hybrid clouds is a challenge
  • New generation cloud-aware and software management developers such as Intigua are emerging to help simplify unchartered waters of virtualizing servers, networks, and storage infrastructure

A lot of enterprises do not have even basic applications performance management and monitoring tools in place, especially where the applications in use work just fine on a best effort traffic basis, so applications that are non-latency dependant, and non-critical to business function or production. The contrast to this is where applications are seen as business-critical and in such cases the organization’s IT department is most likely to invest in an applications performance management (APM) solution from a range of choices. Service providers have made progress to meet the need for visibility on the WAN for business critical applications they are running on behalf of clients with the result all the major carriers offering data networks services proffer a backing range of APM solutions for customers. The same is nearly true for cloud-based service, but not quite! The industry is pretty good at monitoring and managing performance of physical network and infrastructure, including in the WAN. There are plenty of legacy premises-based choices, and software for management, but the cloud-aware and virtualized management layer for multiple IT resources sitting on distributed and shared cloud platforms is more of a work in progress.

But the game stakes are changing and the goal posts are moving, quickly. Large developers and carriers alike are not really on top of giving clear visibility into the responsiveness of applications and throughput for large, or indeed massive, scale migrations of virtualized IT resources across a patchwork quilt of public, private, and hybrid, clouds. Help is at hand. Some new market entrants, such as Intigua, have come up with credible claims of developing virtualized management-layer solution sets that help clients monitor, manage, and promote uptime, through a single looking glass and using the enterprise customer’s existing management tools (via APIs). Service providers can typically talk about megabits, security, network availability and other essential data network metrics. But as companies increasingly put their IT into the cloud, the next list of questions end-users should be putting to operators is what tools are available for viewing and managing applications performance, and the performance of other IT resources such as compute and storage, through a single interface and single virtualized management pane? Sure, physical networks and connectivity underpin the private and public clouds and the interconnection with third-party cloud developers are main ingredients. But as you move your organization’s IT infrastructure and applications into the cloud, questions need to be asked concerning the elegance of orchestrating it all from your vendor.

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