2013 – The Year of Application Performance Management for the Hybrid Cloud

By Vic Nyman

Several industry leaders have declared that 2013 will be The Year of the Hybrid Cloud. Cloud as a business concept has taken off – Amazon Web Services revenue is projected to grow to $3.8 Billion in 2013, with continued rapid growth projected for several years out.  Hybrid Cloud involves applications that combine elements of Cloud deployments (usually the web server layer of public-facing applications) with on premise servers (usually the proprietary, high-value elements of the application).  The hybrid approach combines the flexibility and rapid scalability of Cloud deployments with the security and dependability of the company-owned Data Center.  But so far the adopter profile for Cloud deployments is largely skewed toward small and mid-sized companies.

Survey Results: IT Executives Are Polarized in Views of Public Cloud

A recent BlueStripe survey of IT Executives from large companies revealed that enterprise-scale organizations remain hesitant about deploying applications to the Cloud.  Twenty-five percent of those surveyed said their company had no plans to move to public or hybrid cloud, and another 56% said that while cloud options were being considered, no decisions had been made.  Only 3% said that they have invested heavily in public or hybrid cloud deployments.

So how will 2013 be The Year of the Hybrid Cloud?  Three simple concepts – flexibility, cost, and management.

Hybrid Cloud Deployments – Combining the Best of Both Worlds

Webster’s defines Hybrid as “being composed of two diverse elements.”  Implementing a Hybrid Cloud environment leverages the strengths of Cloud deployments, while minimizing the risks by maintaining control of back-end systems in the data center.

Concerns with applications in the Cloud center on three things: attaining flexible scalability, securing back-end data, and managing application performance.  A properly architected Hybrid Cloud deployment makes it easy to achieve all three.

Using Hybrid Cloud environments, IT teams can deploy applications faster, adjust capacity to meet demand in real time, and consolidate server management for potentially huge cost savings.  Hybrid Cloud allows companies to keep control over their secure, proprietary data.  The remaining issue is the potential loss of application and transaction management visibility.

Managing Applications In the Cloud: Closing Visibility Gaps

Whether chasing down an error-prone patch, an integration issue between two servers, or just an overall slow application, IT Operations teams need complete transaction visibility to understand, monitor, and manage application performance and availability, both in and out of the Cloud environment. Until now, the “appropriate” level of management visibility has been dependent on deployment specifics – with public deployments demanding less visibility than the IT Operations-controlled internal physical and virtual environments. Hybrid Clouds, however, turn that notion on its head, requiring the most visibility across all pieces of the application environment.

The visibility gap created by the separation of application functionality from server specification must be crossed to properly manage any Cloud environment. The key is to monitor end-to-end transaction performance across both parts – Cloud and Data Center:

  • In the Data Center, knowing exactly which servers are involved in any given transaction helps the Operations team resolve performance issues.  It also allows the architecture / development team to understand how the actual implementation relates to the original application code and architectures they put together.  Without this visibility, its difficult – if not impossible – to avoid finger pointing exercises when problems occur.
  • For Hybrid Cloud, there’s a different nuance.  It’s not only necessary to know where transactions go in the Data Center and where they go in the Cloud, IT Operations teams also must be able to tie each transaction across the Cloud and through the Data Center.

Application Performance Management tools are evolving to allow for the complete visibility needed for end-to-end transaction visibility in Hybrid Cloud environments.  With complete application visibility regardless of deployment architecture, enterprise companies are now in the position to take advantage of the same benefits that small and midsized companies are enjoying by using Cloud deployments.

Vic Nyman is the co-founder and COO of BlueStripe Software. Vic has over 20 years of experience in systems management and APM and has held leadership positions at Wily Technology, IBM Tivoli, and Relicore/Symantec.

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