Cloud applications are an essential piece of the modern software landscape: allowing users to access applications, ranging from email systems to games to specialist work solutions, from anywhere in the world, so long as they’ve got access to the internet. Cloud apps have changed the software game, making it speedier and easier for developers to deploy updates, offering reduced and flexible cost options for users, and boasting simplified operation, requiring no more than a device connected to a modem.
For users, the promise of the cloud is that it “just works.” Unless, of course, it doesn’t. It doesn’t matter how much installation time or cost is saved by cloud apps: if they suffer unacceptable amounts of lag or don’t work when they’re required to, they’re not going to be well-received by their users.
To mitigate the possibility of things going wrong, companies operating cloud apps can utilize a cloud APM. Short for cloud application performance management, a cloud APM refers to software that lets you monitor everything involving the cloud environment — such as infrastructure, application and workloads, regardless of whether this is a private, public, or hybrid cloud setup. This makes it possible to prevent or reduce possible slowdowns or outages by recognizing performance issues quickly. In short, it offers visibility that allows you to identify the cause of problems and fix them as soon as possible. It’s an essential risk management tool for anyone running cloud apps.
Because there’s not just one potential point of failure for cloud apps, cloud APM tools comprise a number of different features. All of these can play a crucial role in ensuring that the cloud app experience is as optimized as possible. For starters, they boast database monitoring, thereby granting the ability to quickly check problems that relate to crucial data access in some way. They also offer cloud monitoring, providing in-depth visibility regarding how a cloud environment is performing. Yet another feature involves real-time user monitoring. This means checking the performance experience of the user (ultimately one of the most important metrics for any cloud application) to recognize issues that need to be fixed.
Cloud APMs can additionally monitor the utilization of server and network resources, identifying problems like server overload or inefficient routing which can impair the quality of the user experience. One other feature deals with IoT (Internet of Things) monitoring, spotting any problems experienced by these devices which are increasingly important to the operation of many business cases.
- Database monitoring
- Cloud monitoring
- Real-time user monitoring
- IoT monitoring
- Network performance monitoring
- Server performance monitoring
Most companies operating cloud apps will appreciate the value that a cloud APM tool can bring to their offerings. But how should they select the right cloud APM solution? Here are four fundamental considerations:
#1. Single pane of glass interface
Pun not intended, but a single pane of glass interface can take the pain out of cloud problems. Simply put, a single pane of glass interface makes monitoring easy by allowing you to look at your entire cloud operation in its totality using one interface and service. Comprehensive visibility is essential for cloud APM tools. Ensure that any service you select offers the kind of deep visibility you would expect in order to solve the problem you might face.
#2. Real-time alerts
Whether it’s a security system for your home or one to watch over your cloud applications, you want a solution that’s going to tell you immediately if something is wrong. The ability to spot dips in performance and offer rapid real-time alerts is essential for a cloud APM solution since this means being able to solve the problem more quickly. While all cloud APM providers will talk about alert systems, drill down into the details of how they work — and how they utilize technologies like machine learning analytics to monitor performance intelligently.
#3. Automated reporting
As well as sounding the klaxon if something goes wrong, it’s important that cloud APM tools also help provide proactive information in the form of reports to help IT teams work out what is (and, more importantly, is not) working. Look at sample reports generated to see whether they measure up to the kind of data analysis you require to do your job properly.
Finally, it’s worth reiterating that you’re looking for a fully fledged solution that monitors every aspect of the cloud experience. This isn’t just looking at server performance, but also focused on areas like the all-important database performance. This is one of the most essential parts of cloud app functioning, and one that will have a significant impact on the success of cloud apps.
Make sure that any cloud-monitoring tool keeps track of all the metrics mentioned in this article. Get this right and you — and, by extension, your customers — will reap the full benefits of cloud apps.