Why cloud migration makes application performance monitoring essential

Today, shifting applications into the cloud is a core part of most companies’ digital transformation. More and more IT spend is cloud-based, the applications moved into the cloud are increasingly critical to the company’s business and by 2020 a corporate “no-cloud” policy will be as rare as a “no-internet” policy is today. The cloud is here to stay.

This shift in the applications’ hosting paradigm brings many challenges to IT teams. The first one is managing a network transformation to adapt to this new cloud-centric reality. Traditional MPLS networks with central internet gateways are evolving to offer branches with local internet breakout. This allows traffic with internet as a destination to exit the corporate network locally, while shrinking MPLS costs and increasing the total available bandwidth.

IT teams face other challenges while embracing cloud, such as securing the corporate perimeter with as many internet gateways as branches, ensuring smooth migrations towards IaaS data centers or getting employees to adopt new SaaS applications.

How about end-user experience?

One of the major key factors for successful cloud adoption is the ability to deliver a satisfying end-user experience. If this is not factored in, cloud projects will fail and have a negative impact on the company’s digital transformation strategy.

However, IT teams struggle to maintain application performance visibility in a cloud environment. Previously, life was simpler for IT teams: an MPLS network with end-to-end SLAs and Quality of Service (QoS) to protect business critical applications; an on-premise data center where they had full control and the possibility to implement any application, network or server monitoring tool; non-encrypted traffic allowing for simplified troubleshooting; and an internal network without firewalls or proxies allowing for direct client to server connections.

When companies start moving applications into the cloud, they lose a great deal of control. Applications are typically hosted by third parties in data centers where it is not possible to implement monitoring tools (typically the case with SaaS applications such as Office 365 or Salesforce.com). The network transport may be the internet, with limited or no SLAs, no QoS and large variations in performance. There are also potentially multiple possible paths from the client to the server with dynamic routing applied by SD-WAN software, HTTPS encrypted traffic, additional local or cloud firewalls and proxies breaking the client to server connections and making the troubleshooting of application performance a real headache.

Plan ahead – think about Application Performance Management

In this new challenging environment, an Application Performance Management (APM) strategy is key to a smooth migration of applications into the cloud and helps ensure end-user adoption.   

An APM strategy needs to include, as a fundamental, the right monitoring tools, adapted to the new network and hosting paradigm. This requires measuring end-user experience from the endpoint perspective, as data centers may not be accessible and internet as a transport does not allow implementing tools within it. Proxy and network path performance monitoring tools also enable diagnosing issues at these different levels. Finally, the ability to correlate data from different monitoring tools remains vital for efficient troubleshooting.

In addition to the right tools, the right processes and people are needed to complement the cloud APM strategy. The integration of the application performance monitoring tools within a company’s IT Service Management environment will enable IT teams to quickly react to performance issues, minimizing business impact.

Our Application Performance Management Consulting practice is focused on helping customers overcome cloud application performance visibility challenges. We provide support in the selection, implementation and customization of the right monitoring tools, and together with the Service Management practice we help our customers define the processes needed to keep cloud applications under control.

We also work with customers prior to cloud migration projects, for example to help them measure end user experience before and after the migration during pilot phases or identify which servers to move to a new IaaS data center as being part of an application. 

Discover how Orange helps companies of all types make cloud migration as smooth as possible using Application Performance Management.

Sonia Gameiro

Sonia is Head of the Application Performance Management Consulting at Orange Business Global Solutions for Business in Europe. She manages a team of consultants who specialize in solutions which help customers better monitor and improve their application performance. Prior to this position, she was a Consultant in the same team for 9 years.