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27 Oct

Be Strategic With Cloud Performance Management Tool Selection

The following is a guest blog from Shamus McGillicuddy, Sr. Analyst Network Management at Enterprise Management Associates.

Public cloud services have become an integral piece of application delivery for many enterprises, but they also present new challenges to performance management.

When enterprises adopt public cloud services, they surrender a certain degree of control over applications. They no longer own the infrastructure that those applications run over.

Whatever visibility and control they do retain is determined by the openness of the cloud provider – whether it provides native management tools or application programming interfaces (APIs) with which infrastructure management systems can integrate, for instance.

When hosting some or all of an application in the cloud, an IT organization must adjust its performance management tools and practices to gain visibility into the cloud application environment. Enterprises will either have to adapt existing tools or adopt new tools to manage the health and performance of cloud services.

Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) research has found that 40 percent of enterprises consider cloud-based application performance management to be more difficult than internal application performance management.

This research found that 41 percent of enterprises struggle with troubleshooting cloud performance issues. Twenty-nine percent said they have poor visibility into the performance of cloud-based networks.

And 17 percent of enterprises told EMA that they experience finger-pointing between the internal IT organization and their cloud providers. It seems the age-old tradition of mean-time-to-innocence has followed applications into the cloud.

EMA research has also found that a large majority of enterprises are taking a broad and varied approach to solving these cloud performance challenges.

Eighty-three percent of enterprises are deploying new tools that are specific to cloud monitoring, and just as many are deploying new tools that can monitor both cloud and non-cloud performance. Suggesting that just one tool isn’t enough, these enterprises are installing cloud-centric tools and end-to-end management systems that provide visibility across the cloud and the internal environment. Beyond that, 77 percent told EMA that they are extending existing non-cloud monitoring tools to manage cloud-based performance.

In my opinion, these numbers indicate lurking trouble. To manage cloud performance, IT organizations are growing the number of monitoring and troubleshooting tools they use.

EMA has always recommended that IT organizations make operations more efficient and effective by consolidating management tools wherever practical. However, over the years EMA research has found that IT organizations continue to use a large number of management tools. For instance, large enterprises typically have six to 10 tools in place just for managing the network. And some have told us they have as many as 25 network management tools in active use.

While IT organizations may experience initial success by adding more management systems to their IT tool belt, they should always strive to streamline those systems as much as possible.

It is good to collect and analyze as many types of data as possible, but it is even better to collect and analyze all of that data in one place so that IT operations can consider it in context. Adding yet another tool to manage cloud performance is a tactical move. IT organizations should think more strategically about cloud operations.

[Editor's Note] For advice on how to make the business case to consolidate monitoring tools, check out SevOne’s new whitepaper, "New Requirements for Performance Management Vendors."

Written by Shamus McGillicuddy
Sr. Analyst, Enterprise Management Associates

Shamus has more than nine years of experience in the IT industry, primarily as a journalist covering the network infrastructure market. At Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), he is the senior analyst for the network management practice.

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