April 24, 2013
As businesses get serious about the cloud, developers are bringing more business-critical transaction data to cloud-resident web and mobile apps. Indeed, web and mobile apps that drive systems of engagement (how you interact with your customers and partners) are the reason why many companies look to the cloud in the first place. Public clouds offer the speed and agility developers want, plus the development tools they need. Once you’ve built a killer web or mobile app in the cloud and it’s in production, driving real revenue, who’s responsible for making sure it performs?
It’s a team effort. Developers have to think about performance management as they build, and IT operations teams need to design application monitoring and management into their cloud deployment processes up front. Why? Because there’s no time to do it later. You won’t have time to implement a new app monitoring solution for each new cloud app before you need to get it out to users. And once it’s out there, you need to be tracking user experience immediately.
In traditional IT, one of the reasons we could get away with limited insight into application performance was because we usually overprovisioned resources to make sure we didn’t have to worry about it. It’s easier to have excess capacity than to solve tricky performance problems – problems you might only see once in a while.
But you can’t consume the cloud like you consumed traditional IT. Cloud economics only make sense when you use only what you need just when you need it and when you only pay for what you need. That applies to performance management tools as well: you need monitoring that can be embedded into the application lifecycle, baked into your apps when they’re built, or easily injected when they’re released. And it goes without saying that we need application performance metrics that don’t just flood us with another set of alerts and alarms. Too much information can be worse than not enough. The time you spend analyzing raw metrics is time you’re not spending repairing the problem.
If you want to improve user experience, you’ve got to reduce the time it takes you to resolve performance problems. And a big part of your mean-time-to-resolve is the time it takes you just to KNOW what the problem is.
I had the opportunity recently to spend an hour discussing the challenges of managing application performance in the cloud. I was joined by Erik Osterman from CBS Interactive, Pierre-Luc Simard from Mirego, and Patrick Lightbody from New Relic. Check out the replay here and comment below if you’d like to share your strategies for managing cloud app performance.