If you aren’t using cloud services yet, you soon will be. And the first thing you will discover is that the metrics offered as part of the typical provider’s package are a bit murky when it comes to providing visibility into the network. Not all of them, of course, but certainly most of them fall short in that regard.
That’s not good considering at least part of your network is in the cloud and the traditional network monitoring tools you have on the ground don’t reach that high.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that you must monitor the entire network to make sure everything is working properly and to find and repair problems when something isn’t.
That’s where cloud-based network monitoring comes in to play. It’s definitely something you need in your toolkit if you don’t want large slabs of your network breaking off and floating away in the air.
“Besides testing the cloud infrastructure for security, scalability and performance, enterprises also seek insights into the performance of applications hosted in the cloud environment,” said Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst Srihari Padmanabhan in a statement to the press. “Service providers, enterprise organizations and network engineers need to understand the root cause of faults in the network by gaining end-to-end visibility across the cloud, giving numerous opportunities for application monitoring as well.”
There are many advantages to using cloud-based network monitoring. Here are the top eight, in no particular order, for your esteemed consideration….
1) The means to stop broadband and switches overspend. IT finds itself in a common state of fear of slow or full connections so it perpetually overspends for more bandwidth and switches. Cloud-based network monitoring shows you actual traffic flow so you can plan – and buy – smarter.
2) Greater scalability. As more and more of your data and applications move to the cloud, you’ll need to increase what you monitor in the cloud and perhaps the number of cloud providers (and their ISPs) too. The scalability of cloud-based network monitoring tools, then, is a great advantage.
3) Threat detection. Yep, security is still an issue in cloud services, on-premise services, and in hybrid environments too. Cloud-based network monitoring gives you a means to detect threats beyond what your traditional network management system might find.
4) Increased integration. You’ve heard it said that IT has become almost exclusively integration specialists today and that becomes increasingly truer with the addition of more cloud services. In other words, it’s no longer about keeping the lights on, but about making sure all the things work with all the other things. The good news is that many cloud-based network monitoring products are designed to integrate well with your existing performance and configuration programs.
5) A better handle on your mobile traffic. BYOD is here to stay. Unfortunately it can be tough to get a handle on how many such devices are on your network, what they are doing there, and their impact on your overall network traffic. A good cloud-based network monitoring system can nail all that down for you.
6) Generally costs less. To put it simply, you get solid network traffic analysis for less than you would typically spend for on-premise network management.
7) Comprehensive monitoring. In short, you get to see the entire network in one view as opposed to a collection of standalone views.
8) A means to evaluate cloud services performance. The ability to drill down and see how much of cloud services your company is actually using is priceless…or at least gives you the means for price containment. With cloud-based network monitoring you can see how much of cloud services were actually used versus the amount billed, and whether delivery met vendor promises, among other things.
And that leads us to the fact that cloud monitoring is important for everyone concerned.
“Every service provider is expected to meet the quality of service as defined by the SLA,” said Padmanabhan. “To do this, service providers need to constantly monitor their cloud infrastructure and allocate resources so that applications can respond properly to peaks in a load.”
For these reasons and many more, most industry analysts including Padmanabhan, are predicting increased enterprise adoption of cloud-based network and application monitoring. That’s certainly reasonable because if you are using any cloud services, why in the heck would you not also use cloud-based monitoring?
Pam Baker is the author of eight books and hundreds of technology articles published daily in leading online and print publications. She is a member of the National Press Club (NPC) and the Internet Press Guild (IPG). You can reach her or follow her on Twitter and on Google+.