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Cloud Expo: Article

Cloud Computing: How It Affects Enterprise and Performance Monitoring

New Technology, Same Old Problems

In recent times, cloud computing has played a dominant role in the industry. Whether you feel positively or negatively about it, it is undeniable that cloud monitoring, like any other component in your network, needs to be monitored – perhaps more than any other. To more old-fashioned solutions for monitoring, the cloud creates a number of obstacles: you do not have ownership of its hardware, it is not run on your network and when problems or glitches occur you have no control over them.



Today there is a wide range of utilities to help you to manage your cloud computing, and the majority of these are able to respond to the disappearance of instances by starting up new ones with just a little direction from you. But how can this be integrated into your existing monitoring?

More old-fashioned tools often need lengthy and difficult alterations to their settings, as well as total reboots of the service for these alterations to be acknowledged. It is not uncommon for an organization to restart and close down upward of 100 instances per day, equivalent to a brand-new instance every 5 minutes. This constant rebooting of the monitoring tools is unsustainable and means that systems may not have sufficient time to run necessary tests, making monitoring data less valuable. This wipes out much of the benefit that cloud computing brings to a company which is reliant upon the health of its IT infrastructure for the health of its business processes.

The tools you employ to keep track of the cloud instances must be as adaptable and customizable as the instance itself. Your systems should be able to respond to minute-by-minute alterations without rebooting. Additionally, you should remove the need for manual alterations: assessing the system too frequently will cause stress. Ideally, your system should offer a capable application programming interface with configuration of monitoring built into its central management.

As for moving information to the system from the cloud, the benefit of the cloud is additional processing without additional computing. A heavyweight agent will slow your applications or increase your cost per instance for data collection. A lighter system with an agent that can be tailored to your needs is better.

Data Exposure
Many service providers and apps expose data to allow it to be extracted remotely without an agent, in the form of a user-friendly REST application programming interface which pulls data using JSON or XML. This means that pulling your data has a minimal effect on your systems. When an agent is required to examine non-exposed or non-viewable data, you will need the option to run an agent or to create a script for data exposure – whichever suits your needs. What is sometimes unexamined is that cloud-mined data should be handled in the same manner as another data point. The data offered by cloud providers may not provide useful insight into your performance for your infrastructure.

Regardless of whether you operate via cloud computing or not, if your systems monitoring does not mine data according to your needs, you need to change it. Data enables better feedback and better performance, providing context to decisions and ensuring that goals are being achieved. It allows IT systems to be optimized for business.

For some organizations, cloud computing has disrupted business practice, which cloud utilities paving the way for the future. They force a rethink of administrative processes – you can examine your existing tools and discard or refine them for new tasks.

Cloud computing has prompted a great business evolution. However, merely slapping a SaaS interface onto ancient coding and declaring it 'the cloud' is not enough to achieve your goals. Infrastructure is vital – utilities and processes built specially for the cloud platform will bring flexibility and the ability to adapt to changes within and without. It is survival of the fittest. Minute-by-minute monitoring of systems brings up-to-the-moment responsiveness, so that your company will thrive in the brave new world of cloud computing.

More Stories By Anne Lee

Anne Lee is a freelance technology journalist, a wife and a mother of two.

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