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Cloud performance strategy lives and dies by network monitoring

Closely watching your private cloud network performance is important, but often overlooked. Finding the right monitoring tools can save you a lot of hassle.

Monitoring is a crucial element of any private or hybrid cloud performance strategy. Cloud performance can make or break your reputation with users, and make your job as cloud admins complicated. Without a clear picture of workload and network performance, it's impossible to justify configuration or architectural changes -- such as workload balancing -- or quantify the effectiveness of quality of service (QoS) implementations or more far-reaching technologies, such as software-defined networking (SDN) for the private cloud.

Performance monitoring is easier in the private cloud where an organization has complete access to systems and the software stack. Monitoring can be far more difficult in public cloud or hybrid cloud environments, because cloud providers expose far less of their infrastructure to users.

Still, even if your company decides to use public cloud services, application performance monitoring (APM) tools can offer a glimpse of performance behaviors -- especially when such results are compared to the performance of the same workload in a private cloud setting.

These objective performance comparisons can quickly help IT administrators determine the best place to run each workload, looking particularly at mission-critical applications. For example, suppose a workload uses 1.5 compute units in the public cloud to accomplish the same amount of work performed by 1 compute unit in a private cloud. It's not difficult to determine the most cost-effective computing site given a workload's importance, cloud burst needs and other factors.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of performance monitoring tools on the market. Examples include APM and cloud management tools from Netuitive, CA's Nimsoft Monitor for Private Cloud, cloud monitoring and management software from SolarWinds, and even tools that integrate hybrid cloud support, such as Eucalyptus. Shop around and conduct evaluation projects with numerous tools to find the most effective tools for your specific environment, pre-existing management tools and budget.

About the author:
Stephen J. Bigelow is the senior technology editor of the Data Center and Virtualization Media Group. He can be reached at

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