Taming a More Complex, Dynamic Beast Called… the Cloud

March 16 2011 | By | in Unified Monitoring

Remember the circus lion tamer? With the help of a small wooden stool and the crack of a whip, he was able to keep the powerful cat under control. Now, imagine using the same technique to tame tens or even hundreds of unpredictable lions at once. Sound like a risky proposition? You bet it is. That’s exactly what businesses scaling their IT operations to a Cloud-based infrastructure are up against.

From a operations management standpoint, the Cloud is a much more complex beast to tame. Unlike traditional IT architectures that were based on silos, the cloud is comprised of many layers of shared resources that are all interconnected, each one depending on another to do its job and perform at optimal levels. Applying traditional management to solve more dynamic workload demands can quickly find yourself surrounded by a number of unhappy lions.

In his recent article, “A Perfect Storm in Availability and Performance Monitoring”, Bernd Harzog, of the Virtualization Practice, describes this management challenge,

It is the combination of agile development (which causes new code to go into production on very frequent intervals), virtualization (which commingles previously dedicated systems into a shared infrastructure), cloud computing (which creates commercial separation between the infrastructure and the application), and mobile based applications (which are driving yet another end user fueled set of requirements – “I want it on this device now”) that are creating a perfect storm for the monitoring industry.

In the old world, when a single physical server went down it typically took with it one service, or a small set of services that were shared on that box. Things are much different in the Cloud. To manage a more complex, dynamic environment, you need a holistic view of everything that’s happening at once, and a complete understanding of the impact a downed server or service outage can have on your IT environment. Without this ability, when a problem occurs you could find yourself in a lion’s den surrounded by several unhappy customers.

 

Image Credit:  Massdistraction

Josh Duncan is a former IT manager turned product marketer. In addition to writing on the topic of cloud operations for Zenoss he also writes on the topic of product marketing and can be found on Twitter at @Joshua_d.


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