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Virtualization and Beyond: Cloud Performance Monitoring and Why It's Important

Virtualization and Beyond

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Cloud Performance Monitoring and Why It’s Important

Written by Steven Hunt, Sr. Product Manager and Strategist, SolarWinds

The complexity of how applications are hosted and delivered has created an ever-expanding set of things to monitor for performance issues.

When all application workloads were hosted on physical servers, you simply monitored the resource consumption of the physical servers and you knew when performance-related issues occurred. When server virtualization entered the picture, a new set of performance data was available to monitor. Monitoring both the operating system and the virtualization layers gave a complete picture into potential root cause when troubleshooting application-related issues.

Although monitoring just the virtualization layer was not enough to determine root cause of performance-related issues, it was extremely important to determine when resource contention occurred at that level, and allowed you to determine how to allocate and scale the resources needed to ensure application performance met the needs of the business.

Public cloud vendors' delivery of services like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) was intended to take the worry out of monitoring the virtualization layer for resource constraints. To do this, they delivered capabilities like automated scaling, which monitors the underlying resource consumption and allocates more computing power on demand. This seemed to provide the ability to redirect all of the focus back on the operating system performance data.

However, what most companies have quickly realized as they have moved further into adopting delivering applications with the public cloud model is there is still a reason to monitor the "underlying," or cloud platform, performance data. But this is not to determine root cause of application performance issues; this is mainly because as resource consumption increases, so does the cost of utilizing the public cloud platform. Things like more CPU, memory, disk IO, and network throughput can all contribute to a rising monthly expense. So, it's important to understand what your resource consumption looks like.

The organizations that are more mature in their cloud adoption have gone so far as to model their application workload utilization, and obtain discounted rates with cloud vendors by prepaying for that public cloud resource consumption. Amazon even provides a simple calculator that allows you to enter the configuration you need to host your applications and it will output the cost, including the discount if you prepay for your resources. This is why it is important to have a monitoring solution that gives you insight into the performance-related data for all layers of the solution that hosts your applications. Without it, you will likely be overpaying when transitioning your applications to the cloud.


About the Author

Steven Hunt has been involved in the IT industry for more than a decade, focusing on server-based computing, desktop virtualization, end-user computing, and server virtualization solutions for SMB to enterprise environments. Currently, he is responsible for product strategy for server and application monitoring and virtualization management at SolarWinds.

Published Tuesday, April 04, 2017 7:56 AM by David Marshall
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