Posted by: asmitty | October 29, 2009

Cloud Watching

Monitoring cloud performance is different from on premise application servers. For starters, you can’t put a SNMP agent up there; can’t monitor WMI classes either. Shoot, you may not even have an IP address. So how would you monitor cloud applications? Here are a few ways:

  • End User Experience application monitoring. Let’s say for example that your business has elected to use a SaaS based CRM. How would you monitor it? One way is to monitor the real or even synthetic transactions through the application. You want to know if it takes longer to log in at some times than others. In the case of one company, editing a field and clicking the save button caused the application to hang. On another SaaS product, buttons simply didn’t appear on some browsers. End user experience monitors can give you a proactive handle on cloud application performance, even problems that are not caused by the provider.
  • Performance via the API. If you are deploying virtual servers to cloud provider such as Amazon, you can retrieve some metrics by using their CloudWatch API. These metrics include average disk reads/writes, average CPU, and network traffic in/out. This will provide traditional IT managers some data, but not more than a couple of week’s worth. If you are running a virtual cloud on a VMware platform, you can leverage vSphere API’s along with traditional network management tools.
  • API experience monitoring. If you are writing applications that rely upon web services, you are not concerned with the CPU, memory, or disk I/O. Similar to the end user experience monitoring, developers want assurance of API uptime and reasonable latency. Products like apigee are low cost solutions that are necessary infrastructure for stable runtime operations.
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