Key IT metrics: A CIO guide
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Whether public, private or hybrid, the cloud has many moving parts, and it is critical that everything works seamlessly. Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and performance issues can negatively impact a cloud platform, just as they would a traditional on-premises environment.
Cloud performance issues mainly stem from overall availability, network latency and application processing delays. The end-user experience is an important part of cloud, and performance monitoring tools can help prevent potential problems.
Use these quick tips to resolve cloud performance issues and avoid them in the future.
Use cloud performance monitoring tools
Moving applications to the public cloud can make monitoring performance difficult, but admins can regain visibility with cloud monitoring tools. In a public cloud, not all information is available to the enterprise, because the cloud providers manage the underlying data centers. Cloud performance management is also hindered by the fact that organizations, in many cases, need to cobble together their own management systems with those of their cloud provider.
Most traditional IT vendors, such as IBM and CA, offer various cloud monitoring tools, but they are often designed for large organizations and are expensive. Newer vendors, such as AppDynamic and Datadog, offer tools in a software as a service model, some of which provide more niche functionality than the traditional vendors' tools. While these tools are quick to deploy and reduce managerial tasks, public cloud still has lower visibility compared to private cloud.
Manage data carefully in a hybrid cloud
Hybrid cloud performance presents numerous challenges because data resides in both private and public cloud. Security and governance restrictions, as well as wide area network limitations, can create bottlenecks, as users go to access this data. IT teams can use data management techniques to solve these performance issues.
Determine what data to store in which cloud, as well as which data needs to be asynchronously updated. Database synchronization is another challenge in hybrid cloud, which can be solved by sharding. When moving large amounts of data to the public cloud, use old-fashioned tape or disks to reduce cloud performance issues. Be sure to encrypt the data, as it travels through potentially vulnerable points.
Design multicloud apps with performance in mind
Typically, multicloud applications are designed to have separate components -- a model known as componentization -- which creates a workflow that passes through multiple providers. Create a performance benchmark to easily identify quality of experience issues as they arise. Then, use cloud management logs to determine the root of the issue. Sometimes, the issue is not with a single provider, and you must follow the application's workflow across the multiple cloud platforms.
One of the root causes of poor performances is data loss or delay. Learn if your resources move between providers via the internet, your VPN or a private network, as each option requires a different action plan. A good way to pinpoint cloud performance issues is to build the capability into the application components, and zero in on the problem using sequence numbers and timestamps. When you locate the issue, work with your provider to fix it.
Avoid cloud API performance issues
Don't let a poorly designed API create cloud performance issues. An influx of API calls can create poor performance for the cloud provider, the developer and the end users. To avoid poor cloud API performance, use APIs that operate via objects instead of operations, as this will result in fewer individual API calls and, therefore, less traffic.
A consistent schema for API calls can make it quicker and easy for developers to adopt, but, unfortunately, most schemas aren't uniform. This increased complexity can hurt performance, but it is better for the call to return an error than adopt a different schema. For better performance, use APIs with consistent designs and few data type restrictions.
On the cloud vendor side, providers will queue and throttle calls to the API -- using an API management tool -- to make performance more predictable.
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Remember application workflow is key
One of the main goals of IT management is to ensure a positive end-user experience -- which hinges on performance and availability. To keep cloud performing well, enterprises need to monitor application workflow. An application's response time and supporting resources are key to understanding what could be impeding performance.
By following an application's workflow, enterprises can identify where and when processing delays occur. Cloud monitoring tools can track performance, but be sure to choose one with hybrid cloud capabilities to prepare for the future. Take your performance to the next level by integrating DevOps tools at the workflow level.
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