Are cloud services affecting application performance? 7 questions to ask about monitoring and SLAs

By Haim Snir

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

“The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr(1808-1890)

 

I think this familiar proverb is good to consider when thinking about the impact of cloud services on IT. It’s true that the cloud is transforming many facets of how enterprises manage and deliver IT services to users — but some aspects are just as important, or even more important than ever.

 

Consider business process monitoring. Running virtual user transactions from multiple locations inside your offices or outside the firewall has always been an effective way to monitor availability and performance of your production applications. But in the cloud era, when application performance often relies on one or more external services that are not in your direct control, it is critical that you are able to proactively report and alert about end-user experiences.

 

Don’t believe me? Consider these seven questions:

  1. If the cloud service experiences a performance hiccup that affects your application, whom will your users call? (I will give you a hint: not the cloud service.)
  2. If the application experiences an outage, can you answer basic questions such as who was affected, which locations and whether the problem is still occurring?
  3. If there are performance issues with the cloud service, are you able to determine if that’s a problem with the global Internet, your organization’s intranet or only within one office? Alternatively, is this a problem with the authentication process between your Active Directory and the cloud provider’s user mechanism? If you don’t know, who will?
  4. Are you able to assess the quality of the service you’re getting from the cloud provider? Have you benchmarked the cloud service versus other on-premise services your organization provides?
  5. Can you trust the dashboards provided by your service providers?
  6. Are you able to independently confirm whether the cloud service meets the standards as set out in the Service Level Agreement (SLA)? (In many cases, organizations are owed compensation when there is an outage.)
  7. Can you demonstrate ROI from the cloud services you use?

Using HP Business Process Monitor for Cloud Service Assurance

 

HP Business Process Monitor (BPM) is an agentless Application Performance Management (APM) tool that can help you keep a close eye on your cloud services. BPM agents (or “robots”, as many of our customers like to call them), actively generate virtual users transactions both behind your firewall and external locations all around the world to comprehensively measure the end user experience of cloud services.

 

 

 hp-bpm-how-it-works.png

 

BPM lets you not just monitor any issues, but also more effectively manage the SLAs of the services by building contracts based on these measurements and reporting meaningful KPIs in terms that a non-IT person can understand.

 

> Watch a short video about how HP delivers cloud-based application management

 

 

How to Implement HP BPM for monitoring cloud services

 

Setting up BPM agents in the HP Business Service (BSM) server is a straightforward 3-step process:

 

 1.  Record the end user transactions  The new HP TruClient browser-based tool works at the level of the UI based on user actions to create scripts quickly. Figure 1 below shows an example of recording a CRM application, or check out these case studies that document how to monitor Office 365, Gmail and Salesforce

hp-truclient-record-cloud.png

 

Fig. 1: Recording a CRM service with HP TruClient for monitoring by HP BPM 

 

2.  Upload the script to the BSM Server — Available both as an HP SaaS solution or on premise (You can get more details about BSM 9.23 here)

 

3.  Setup the monitors — Create a new application, select which locations should run the new script (your private locations and/or HP global points of presence), and set scheduling and thresholds.

And that’s it. The BSM server will now deploy the scripts into the BPM agents and start monitoring your cloud service providers. You can then set alerts, configure a nice dashboard, create daily, weekly and monthly reports and more importantly, build an SLA on these measurements (Figure 2).

 

Cloud-Service-Assurance-sla.png

 

 

Fig. 2: SLA’s Status and KPI Summary — Availability and Performance 

 

BPM (“synthetic monitoring”) Cloud Service Assurance in the Real World

 

Finally, I wanted to pass along a great story that a longtime BPM customer shared with me recently about how he has used BPM for cloud service assurance.

 

Two years ago, his organization made the decision to start using one of the enterprise’s cloud email providers. The migration was successful, however, after a few weeks, BPM started detecting availability issues. When our customer observed that these outages repeated themselves every few days, he called the cloud email provider to report the issue.

 

Well, it will likely come as no surprise that the email provider claimed that the service was now working fine and there was no longer any problem — and promptly closed his support ticket.

 

Fortunately, our customer had BPM. With its one-click Snapshot on Error feature (Figure 3), he exported the BPM errors log with some snapshots. Without any negotiation, he was able to get the full attention of the provider, which reopened the case and eventually resolved the issues.

 

BPM-snapshot-on-error.png

 

Fig. 3: BPM Error Log provides transaction error details and “snapshot on error”

 

Get more information

 

 

Comments
lauralouise | ‎02-23-2014 04:07 AM

Awesome Artical Really i have searching this type of valuable information From a lot of days i found satisfaction when Read your blog Thanks for giving this type blog

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