Critical Design Elements for the Cloud

Monitoring and management in the cloud

Critical to success in providing services in the cloud, is the ability to design how the services will be managed. The ability to monitor the service’s performance is essential. Too often, management and monitoring solutions are developed after the services are operational. However, high-performing organizations define the monitoring requirements as part of the overall design of the service. They integrate these requirements with the service level requirements/objectives they define in their service level agreements. This approach helps ensure that you identify what you need to monitor, what you can monitor, and any related gaps before the solution is operational.

As a result, if there is a need for additional tool investments, you will have the information needed to make the right tool selection in preparation for the operational service, along with determining any areas that will need to have various monitoring techniques. In choosing a monitoring/management approach, considering the following:

Service monitoring – Since the service is being delivered as a holistic utility, ensure the monitoring solution can provide measurements that show overall service availability. This capability will require a solid service composition structure, or service tree, to be visible and allow for drill down capability to see actual performance of the service, applications and infrastructure. The ability to document the service components is necessary in order to know the complete structure of the service.

Taking a service-minded approach will allow for communication of service performance in business terms.

Application performance – Delivery of the service will require an effective application performance monitoring capability. One area where application performance monitoring can be hugely influential is when coupled with testing requirements. As tests are designed and developed, leverage application monitoring to help prove that appropriate performance is being achieved and to avoid operational performance surprises.

End user experience – Every monitoring solution should include a mechanism to determine what the end user sees. This capability will pay dividends by showing how the service is delivered. This capability is the last mile of the service that is delivered to the end user. Designing this capability ensures that you know what the end user experience is before the service becomes operational, allowing for effective preparation prior to first access.

While there are many design elements to consider when providing services in the cloud, these four areas are often an after-thought. Addressing them early on, as part of your design, will help ensure you establish the capability to manage your services in accordance with your customer’s requirements. So, take the time to consider these concepts as part of the design phase; they will help elevate your organization’s success as you look toward the cloud.

As Director of Forsythe’s IT service management practice, Mike Tainter focuses on IT service management, ITIL, operations management, process design, IT operations support system development, and IT logistical requirements for a wide variety of organizations.