Network Instruments recently came up with some key areas of focus for those environments dealing with externally hosted or "cloud" applications. These tips are well worth repeating, so here we go: To successfully address problems and maintain performance, you’ll need to stay on top of these four categories of cloud metrics.
1. User Experience—In the world of externally hosted services, end-user experience is the only thing you can control. In measuring quality of experience, you need to think like an end user does. Focus on service availability and performance metrics, and monitor response times from the user perspective. Metrics to track HTTP and specific URLs include:
- application and server response times
- network delay
- server requests
- application requests
- application and server availability
- successful transmissions
- client and server errors
Next, consult Service Level Agreements (SLAs) for guidance on additional metrics. Finally, place probes closer to user locations to more accurately reflect the performance that users are experiencing. Learn more about probe placement.
2. Performance Benchmarks—Some best practices don’t change whether the application is hosted internally or externally. Baseline and establish internal benchmarks for normal service behavior with regards to cloud service utilization, number of concurrent users, overall cloud service response time, and response time for specific transactions. Also, incorporate any relevant SLA thresholds into baseline reports.
3. Internal Infrastructure and Network—It may be obvious, but when dealing with the cloud vendor, the internal network will always be guilty until proven innocent. Track and trend performance and availability metrics for servers, routers, switches, and other service components. For servers, this includes metrics like CPU utilization, memory usage, and disk space. For routers and switches, keep tabs on port, CPU, and memory utilization. Also, record client and server response times for your internal network. Finally, be sure to monitor specific protocol transactions for issues.
4. Availability and Route Monitoring—Once the internal network is ruled out, how do you determine the problem location? Set up analysis tools to regularly perform an operation with the cloud service via synthetic transactions. This is more complex than a ping, and should mimic user interactions with the service. From these results, your tools or network team can determine availability and uptime. If your tools track the route, you can also pinpoint where delay might be occurring for a specific problem.
For more information about these tips, and to learn about Network Instruments and its top-tier Gigastor product, visit the company website.