One of the primary issues that IT organizations have with cloud computing is relying on third-party services that provide differing levels of transparency into their operations.
Not every cloud computing provider is overly excited about providing that transparency, and even when it is provided, there still will be issues about how to measure and audit the delivery of cloud computing services.
Three recent events, however, suggest progress is being made to provide the transparency that IT organizations will require in the cloud.
Compuware this week officially launched CloudSleuth, which measures the performance of applications that Compuware has deployed across a federated set of cloud computing providers. This free service is meant to highlight the borderless application nature of anything to do with cloud computing while introducing customers to Compuware's application performance-management software, said Doug Willoughby, Compuware director of cloud computing.
And Apparent Networks has updated its Cloud Performance Center service. The update provides minute-to-minute network-performance statistics on a range of cloud computing service providers serving 10 U.S. cities. The information helps give customers insight into what many consider the weakest link in any cloud computing offering.
And finally, the Cloud Security Alliance has created the Cloud Audit project for developing a common API and namespace for sharing audit information with customers. According to CSA founder Jim Reavis, the basic idea is that as cloud computing separates the people who own the data from the people who process it, an audit of services provided will become a major requirement for compliance. That audit requirement, he said, will therefore become an important element to verifying data security in the cloud.
We're a long way from full transparency into the cloud. Slowly but surely, however, the mists surrounding cloud computing are starting to lift to reveal another tier of computing that can be measured and managed just like any other set of IT services.