Why Cloud customers need "objective" APM
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Applications running in a public cloud environment need to be monitored for availability and performance, but the Application Performance Management (APM) tools that may be provided with the hosting service may lack the accuracy and objectivity to provide the level of assurance that cloud tenants need.
I recently read a story about a war of words between Heroku and their disgruntled customer, Rap Genius. Putting aside the customer’s justifiable indignation at not getting the resources that they believed they were paying for, the real story for an APM Product Manager here is that the tools they were using to monitor their workloads didn’t really tell them what was going on. Then, when the continued mystery warranted a deeper-dive tool, it appears that they were pressured or influenced into purchasing the New Relic tool because of a relationship between Heroku and New Relic. That’s just me reading between the lines of this article. I’m still waiting on a response to my comment asking about this influence mechanism.
This suggests (and logic supports) that customers are better off
using objective APM tools when monitoring workloads on public clouds,
whether those workloads are running on a Platform as a Service (PaaS)
solution like Heroku, or an Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) solution
like Amazon or Rackspace. We generally espouse such a practice to help a
customer maintain a posture of portability, so they can nimbly move
workloads around to different cloud platforms. That’s not a
particularly useful argument in this case, because Heroku customers don’t have convenient options for portability to another platform (such as?). But we can
employ the slightly suspicious sounding argument that a customer should
not necessarily rely on his service provider for monitoring tools,
since that provider has a vested interest in painting a rosy picture. Even in the presence of SLAs, a cloud tenant with no access to the infrastructure is somewhat at the mercy of his provider for performance reporting.
This scenario was behind our funding pleas to develop IBM SmartCloud
Monitoring - Application Insight, our first APM product designed anew
for the public cloud paradigm. We knew that it would be impractical for
our customers to deploy our legacy monitoring tools when moving to
public clouds, so we wanted to create something that they could deploy within those public clouds, in their own little sphere of control - where their application VMs reside. By adopting an elastic and scalable - yet small and easy to deploy - architecture, as well as the ability to embed our monitoring technology into base VM images, our customers can now enjoy robust APM, even when they can only deploy simple Linux VMs to someone else's cloud.