Getting Application Performance Management implemented properly in an environment where an organization owns all of the hardware and software from end to end can be tricky. Proper implementation of application monitoring, end-user experience monitoring, and other APM tools is not something that can be done easily, if you want to do it properly.
So imagine, then, how hard it would be to implement APM in the cloud, where hardware and software can be called into play on demand. How hard must it be, then, to set up metrics analytics when all of the layers the application sits on–the operating system, the virtual server, the physical hardware, and the network architecture–can all be changed at a moment’s notice.
It shouldn’t be an unsolvable problem. Given enough time, any configurating nut can be cracked, and APM can be properly implemented. But complicating application deployment in the cloud is the fact that many cloud vendors don’t really want to allow their customers to have total access to their infrastructure. This means customers may find themselves forced to use whatever APM solutions the cloud vendor has in place, not their own.
There are a number of problems with this approach. If the cloud vendor’s APM solution is not complete enough to deliver the right kind of analytic data, this is can be a real problem.
Also, as we’ve seen in the recent past, cloud providers can often have their own problems, and when they have to manage the fires that can inevitably crop up, APM can easily be put on the back burner.
At this point, the issue of APM becomes a much more complex scenario, but not altogether impossible. Deep monitoring and business transaction management are still very possible in the cloud, but it is imperative that customers and cloud providers work very closely to determine what the limits of their APM solutions might be and figure out how to work around them–especially if things go wrong for the entire cloud.
The most complex cloud APM situation is in the public cloud, where all of the infrastructure is away from a company’s control. Hybrid clouds afford a little more simplicity, but not much: that “last mile” of public cloud will still create some complications for gathering metrics if you’re not careful.
Private cloud would undoubtedly have the least amount of problems, since everything is inside the company firewall, so to speak. But the on-demand nature of the cloud creates a shifting infrastructure that’s still going to be tricky to monitor. The advantage of the private cloud is that at least you can get at that infrastructure completely.
If APM is a priority in your organization, this may be enough to compel you to seek a private cloud solution versus public or hybrid. I don’t want to advocate one type of cloud over the other, just for the sake of APM, since there are other factors that go into the decision of what cloud type to use.
Just know that good APM isn’t locked out if you use a public- or hybrid-type solution. You just have to plan accordingly to make sure your cloud provider is giving you the best APM solution you need.