Cloud Computing Requires Its Own Management Tools

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Just because an organization moves applications to the cloud doesn't mean the IT staff is relieved from the task of IT service management (ITSM). Yet, that is exactly how many managers act. They assume the cloud provider takes over responsibility for managing the infrastructure (servers, storage, network) and they are off the hook.

Not so fast. “Once an organization adopts cloud computing it quickly becomes apparent that the traditional approach to ITSM needs to be reviewed,” writes Malcolm Fry, in a white paper titled 5 Questions About ITSM and Cloud Computing, published by CA Technologies. Furthermore, “failure to change traditional IT approaches when adopting a cloud service will greatly increase the chances of failure,” he warns.

A recent ITP Report, reinforced that point: organizations will require continual monitoring of cloud computing. This will be essential to avoid costly mistakes, according to Gartner. Here are five tools Logicalis, an international IT managed services provider suggests can help management.

Logicalis insists management should demand from their cloud providers the five tools below to enable full visibility into the functionality of their cloud. These tools are deployed by the cloud provider although they must be accessible to your IT people and auditors.

ITSM Toolset: a central repository of information that gives both the cloud provider and the organization a view into the cloud environment. It becomes your portal to information for capacity planning, historical trending analysis, and data on every end-point or device in your cloud environment. The ITSM toolset is a single view through which both you and the provider can see the same data.

Enterprise Monitoring Probes: around the clock tracking of the IT infrastructure through software agents that gather data from device polling and also are integrated with the ITSM toolset. If something goes awry, you and the provider are alerted quickly. It enables fast problem identification and remediation within the time specified in your SLA.

User Activity Monitoring: lets you know who changed what and when. Management should insist that their provider employ a screen capturing tool that tracks and logs any type of activity or change made to their systems. If there is an incident, an outage, or a security concern every step can be retraced. If the provider balks, say your auditors insist on it.

Synthetic Transaction Monitoring: detailed end-user response measurement, also called synthetic transaction monitoring, provides the most precise gauge of the user experience. Nobody likes their performance measured with precision but insist your provider implement synthetic transaction monitoring as part of the SLA.

WAN Acceleration: combined with some up-front configuration work speeds applications that usually open in a few minutes over the network to less than 30 seconds. This kind of tool isn't right in every circumstance, but when performance improvements are needed, it is one place turn to for answers.

These tools will be used by your IT staff in conjunction with your cloud provider. Ideally your IT will monitor performance and activity daily and alert you only when the SLA isn't being met. With these tools and a good cloud provider that may never happen.

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