Business Performance and Cloud Application Monitoring

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For businesses that provide customer-facing applications (or indeed any sort of online presence), what customers see on the screen will create their first impression of that company’s overall business performance. As the saying goes, there is only one chance to make a first impression.

Making applications run well has always been a challenge. That is why application DevOps professionals are in such high demand.

Maintaining Control in the Cloud

In the virtualization and cloud eras, however, the application performance challenge is even more demanding. Applications run in constantly changing topologies – and for each instance of the application, the environment will be different.

Crucial environmental data must be read from external vendors, from AWS and Chef to Rackspace or Splunk. Applications must work with such advanced tools as Hadoop or MapReduce.

Cloud computing has put enormous capabilities into the hands of IT at firms of all sizes. The cloud can provide resources on a scale that most firms could never afford if they had to purchase a server farm or development environment outright. Innovation always involves risks, but in the cloud era, these risks are far more manageable.

But risks still have to be managed, and the cloud has created some complications, alongside all the new possibilities it offers.

Cloud resources are essentially rented resources. The IT department doesn’t own them; a cloud vendor does. Yet customers and potential customers will still judge business performance based on application performance. Blaming a supplier never sounds good.

Keeping an Eye on Applications

Fortunately, IT does not need to throw up its hands when it comes to managing the performance of applications running in virtualized and cloud environments. To match the demands of new-generation applications, new-gen application monitoring solutions are now available.

These solutions are themselves provided by the cloud, sparing IT the details of their infrastructure processes. They operate in real-time, providing second-by-second reads of application environment and topology, and the resulting application performance.

Potential problems such as environmental latency can thus be detected while they are still incipient. Corrective measures can thus be taken before a problem is even visible to the end users. Second-by-second monitoring, however, is not the only dimension of effective cloud application management. Historical performance data provides an essential context, allowing IT and DevOps professionals to benchmark application performance patterns and identify anomalies.

No application performance management solution can provide absolute control. Sometimes (but rarely) cloud environments simply crash. All the same, cloud application monitoring can keep applications running smoothly, so that companies can put their best foot forward to current and potential customers.

Image Source: Flickr

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