Tip

Are your cloud applications performing as they should?

Increasingly, larger enterprises are using cloud computing for their mission-critical applications. With business success tied closely to these applications, performance has become an area of growing importance.

But cloud application performance

    Requires Free Membership to View

touches on a complex web of interactions that often are difficult to gauge. A handful of third-party tool vendors focused on cloud app performance have emerged to address such challenges; however, these products can present a series of tradeoffs, rather than solutions.

Because cloud app performance tools are complex, they are geared more toward large enterprises than small businesses.

Radar Service from Cedexis Inc. measures response time from more than 1.7 million end nodes globally. The tool vendor offers a free service, supported by an open source model that examines major cloud service providers; Cedexis also offers a paid version for businesses that want to more closely monitor their own cloud connections.

CloudSpeedTest from CloudHarmony Inc. allows enterprises to benchmark the performance of applications delivered by multiple cloud providers. For example, it can monitor one cloud installment that supports servers, a second that hosts application storage and a third that handles the content delivery network. The CloudHarmony service relies on a variety of benchmarks developed by the Phoronix open source community.

CloudSleuth from CompuWare Inc. monitors the application latency for leading cloud services, such as Amazon Web Services, Liquid Web's Storm on Demand and Rackspace managed cloud services. To gauge performance, CloudSleuth monitors about 200 different performance elements and conducts approximately 3,000 tests daily.

Cloud app performance tools don’t show it all

These cloud performance tools can be helpful to give enterprise IT an idea of how their applications are behaving, but they don’t tell them everything.

First, service visibility is limited. The tools can’t monitor every item and every application at every second, so they sit at different places on the network and take various measurements to extrapolate cloud app performance metrics.

One tool may look at end-user response time, while another examines the number of packets pushed out from a server. Tools may run tests every 15 minutes or every minute. Therefore, finding apples-to-apples comparisons can be difficult.

And, even limiting what performance metrics the tools test, results can become extremely complex. To make sense of this, third-party cloud tool vendors need to build sophisticated analytic features into their systems. The process is more art (best guess) than science (definite correlation).

Consequently, tool vendors don't guarantee a customer's application will perform in a certain manner within your cloud provider's infrastructure. Instead, the benchmarks merely provide guidelines. In the end, enterprise IT is responsible for fine-tuning these services to meet their company’s expectations and performance criteria.

In addition, cloud networks change dynamically and quite drastically depending on how much information flows over the Internet. As a result, it can be difficult to mimic the circumstances leading to a performance problem. Consequently, troubleshooting can eat up a lot of IT resources and drag out for days, weeks, or even months.

Because cloud app performance tools are complex, they are geared more toward large enterprises than small businesses. The monitoring tools have various usage-based pricing models that can be difficult for some smaller companies to justify.

As cloud computing use continues to emerge within the enterprise, IT teams understand the need to carefully monitor application performance. While various cloud app performance tools and services are available, they're not a panacea; more work needs to be done before these tools offer all enterprises the visibility they require.

About the author
Paul Korzeniowski is a freelance writer who specializes in cloud computing issues. He is based in Sudbury, MA and can be reached at paulkorzen@aol.com.

This was first published in April 2013

There are Comments. Add yours.

 
TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.