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Cloud performance management considerations

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Cloud computing introduces some unique challenges when it comes to performance management. Because the infrastructure your application runs on is more dynamic and elastic in a cloud solution, there are significantly more factors that need to be considered when managing the performance of such applications. Although the elastic nature of the environment is a major advantage of cloud solutions, it can also be a huge nightmare when it comes to performance management because there are fewer fixed components that support your cloud solution. For example, location, available network bandwidth, active users, among other things that make traditional performance management techniques less than adequate if the variables that exist in a cloud environment are not factored into the performance management solution.

One of the best ways to ensure successful performance management in a cloud environment is to include performance management as part of the design of the application that will be running in the cloud. In the design phases of the project, it is important to understand where your user community is located and how the community plans to use the application compared to what kind of network access is available from the cloud provider’s locations. In addition, it is critical to understand the service level agreements that are in place with the service you are purchasing. Although this line of thinking is usually reserved for public cloud environments, it is equally important in private cloud configurations to ensure the line of business understands the level of service that is being provided by IT. In addition to understanding the performance aspects of the cloud solution, it is also important to understand the performance aspects of the application that will be running in the cloud.

In addition to good planning, it is highly recommended that service management best practices are implemented around performance management. Although, cloud environments have more variables than their traditional IT counterparts, in many ways the resource and application monitoring best practices can be used and applied to cloud computing environments. It is important to have solid baselines of how the application performs, and be able to quickly identify exceptions in performance and determine root cause. The better the performance aspects of the application are understood in a cloud environment, the better the organization will be when it does need to troubleshoot performance issues.

One aspect of performance management that can be challenging to control as an application owner in a cloud environment is other tenants in the cloud that might be affecting performance of the environment. This is where partnering with your cloud provider (internal or external) to your organization is critical. Although other tenants in the cloud should not impact your experience in an ideal world, a recommendation is that you work with your cloud provider to understand the performance aspects of the environment and how best to ensure the resources you need are available when it is critical to your business.

Summary
Cloud performance management can be challenging because there are several more variables in the environment that must be considered to effectively manage performance.  It is critical to include as part of the solution design aspects of performance management like location of resource and people taking advantage of the resources.  Next, implement service management best practices to ensure effective performance management.  In many ways in a cloud environment, service management is more important because there are a lot more variables to manage to get the solution to perform as you expect.  Finally, ensure that you understand what impact other tenants can have on your application’s performance in the cloud environment.  This information can help you troubleshoot issues and better understand if it is something out of your control that is impacting your cloud solution’s ability to perform.

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