Are you perturbed that your erstwhile local applications are vanishing into the cloud and your view of performance is being misted over?  If you are inadequately prepared, there are very real dangers to be faced. But, those who are ready for the migration to the cloud will find the transition simple and convenient.

Cloud based applications consist of three components—production, transport and consumption. Production consists of computing and storage. Consumption is the delivery of applications to users and transport is the networking technology that has been deployed for the purpose and acts as an interface between production and consumption.

Performance management challenges of the cloud exist because of the separation of the production and the consumption end points of the network. As distance increases, latency increases degrading user experience. Cloud computing also adds layers to production and provides little or no instrumentation to monitor performance. When cloud computing is performed in clouds owned by third parties, the problem becomes more complicated as the only point of performance management becomes the network connection interface point.

Interestingly, the best place to gain visibility for performance management in the cloud is the network point. Network based application performance measurement tools are the best means of maintaining service visibility! Users must install WAN based measurement capabilities and undertake data center consolidation before moving their applications to the cloud.

To set the ball rolling enterprises must identify all the applications running on the network, map dependencies among the elements involved in delivering the applications, measure traffic volumes along each application delivery path and measure response times for each application delivery path.

The next step would be to find the right toolsets that combine all the above capabilities. The tools should have the capability of measuring parameters such as bandwidth utilization, server utilization, transactions processed, availability, server errors, server query response time, packet ping time to user locations, traffic flow data, TCP transaction response time and end user page response time.

Many of these features are built into network access point interfaces provided by third party cloud vendors. The available reports will play a significant role in overall success of the cloud migration initiative. It will ensure quality and consistency of service and provide end users with the best possible access to remote applications hosted in the cloud.