Published On: Tue, Feb 7th, 2017

Visibility & Analytics in the Cloud

The success of web giants Amazon and Netflix validated the market for cloud-based applications and services, leading the way for an entirely new breed of web-based enterprise, such as Uber and Dropbox, that delivers services to customers exclusively via the cloud.

Web economies of scale make it extremely efficient to reach millions of customers, and business model innovator Salesforce exploited this to prove the financial viability of software-as-a-service for business applications, closely followed by many others, including NetSuite (now Oracle) and IBM, that are leveraging the availability, scalability and elasticity of public and private cloud infrastructure.

Over the next five years, we’ll witness a massive shift of enterprise IT applications from on-premise deployments into the cloud. When the tipping point is finally reached, consumers and business users will be running applications delivered mainly via cloud-based infrastructure. However, this will not be without its challenges in terms of application performance and availability.

Web-based businesses rely on the cloud and Internet connectivity to reach their customers. Enterprises running SaaS-based applications rely on the same for internal users and possibly for customers and partners as well. Traditional enterprise IT application and network performance monitoring tools and techniques were not designed for this mode of operation. So how can new web-based businesses, traditional enterprises and cloud service providers adapt to this new mode of application and service delivery?

Digital experience for cloud-based applications and services is affected by many factors impacting performance and availability across multiple public and private network connections, as well as the cloud provider’s internal infrastructure, which may actually span more than one facility. Applications may be impacted by problems as diverse as equipment failure, network congestion, overloaded servers, DDoS attacks, DNS outages, RF interference, device issues and software bugs.

What methods can be used to rapidly identify and quickly resolve or work around problems? Can problems be anticipated and prevented from happening in the first place? Can businesses inform customers and users when there is a problem so they’re not left in the dark?

Solutions for ensuring quality of digital experience for cloud-based applications are multi-faceted, so my research at ACG covers the critical role visibility and analytics plays across the entire application delivery value chain: cloud service providers, application providers, Internet service providers, content distribution networks, carrier services and private enterprise networks.

Everyone agrees that the cloud is the end game for consumer and business applications, but how fast we get there will be gated by how soon the industry adopts cost-effective techniques for solving these problems.

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