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Cloud Monitoring: Automation and Intelligence Not Optional

Cloud Monitoring: Automation and Intelligence Not Optional

The quest to improve the productivity and efficiency of IT organizations is an ongoing one. With the arrival and rapid adoption of virtualization and cloud infrastructure in the recent years, IT organizations worldwide are starting to realize significant economy-of-scale benefits. Reduction in costs for ‘incremental units’ of computing power, the ability to more easily flex up and down as needed, and the lack of restrictions imposed by the traditional models, will all drive a dramatic increase in the consumption of computing and application resources as organizations are freed up to do more. However, with this benefit comes the added burden of high administration overhead from managing a virally sprawling & dynamic IT environment.

Terms like “virtualization sprawl” (see http://tiny.cc/mszrt for definition) have been coined to refer to the increase in the number of discrete virtual servers and related application components within the overall IT environment. This is no longer a hypothetical scenario, and organizations are already experiencing administration challenges because of the fundamental IT transformation driven by virtualization and cloud technologies. Consider the case of a leading educational institution in the Northeastern United States. Prior to embarking on an aggressive virtualization initiative, the operations team was responsible for ensuring the performance of approximately 1000 distinct physical servers. By the time the first phase of the server consolidation and virtualization initiative was completed, the team was tracking and managing the performance of over 7000 virtual servers and there was no obvious slow down in sight.

As the number of discrete virtual servers, components and resident applications explodes, performance monitoring and intelligent analytical needs to make rapid decisions will be critical for IT operations. Manually intensive legacy point monitoring tools will not be able to keep up in a dynamic and complex environment where applications can move in almost real time across hypervisors. Today’s IT organizations are even delegating the provisioning of new VMs to the end users – in private clouds as well as public clouds. However, unless the IT organization can also monitor the performance of all the elements of their changing IT infrastructure in near real time, they will not be able determine the impact of adding new virtual machines or services in their cloud environment.

Of course, the better approach would be to take a more strategic stance and implement the right systems and processes to assure the performance of their IT infrastructure. Finding a monitoring solution to reduce the administrative burden using intelligent automation to reduce many of the routine administrative tasks is essential to gain back the efficiency lost from cloud sprawl and increased complexity of distributed IT services. The increased demands on the IT team will be partially offset by the automation capabilities of the monitoring solution, allowing IT personnel to focus on the deeper and more complex administration tasks. Automation in the area of monitoring will ensure consistency in performance monitoring and alerting, allowing IT operations to make correct decisions for better utilization of IT resources (see http://tiny.cc/cwytn to learn more).

Vikas Aggarwal is CEO of Zyrion Inc., a leading provider of Cloud and Network Performance Monitoring software solutions for large to mid enterprises and Service Providers. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all of Aggarwal’s guest blog submissions here.

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