The Importance of Transaction Monitoring in the Cloud

Arthur Cole

Arthur Cole spoke with Chris Neal, CEO, BlueStripe Software.

Conventional wisdom holds that management in the cloud shifts from infrastructure to the application layer, at least for the enterprise. While that may be true enough, it's important not to take your eyes off the actual transactions that the application is responsible for. And in that regard, it does make sense to keep any eye on infrastructure. As BlueStripe Software CEO Chris Neal points out, transaction monitoring allows both the application development team and the infrastructure team to know what's going on out there

Cole: Loss of control is one of the driving factors hampering cloud deployments these days. What can enterprises do to ensure their applications and data are truly safe and readily available once it leaves the data center?

Neal: First, I think it’s important to look at whether a business application is suited for cloud deployment on an individual basis. What’s good for one app may not work for another. With that said, if an application is slated for cloud deployment, whether a private cloud, public cloud or a hybrid solution, the application owners should implement transaction performance monitoring.  A good transaction monitoring solution will be able to show when performance or availability problems occur, whether the problem is in the cloud or out, and where that transaction got stuck.  Transaction performance monitoring may not give app owners true control over the environment, but transaction visibility is the only way to know how the app and the cloud are working together.

Cole: In what ways can traditional application management performance platforms be tailored to the cloud? Or do we need to think about entirely new APM stacks?

Neal: Application deployments in the cloud exacerbate the biggest issue with APM tools — the need to have expert developers or architects available to configure the tool, maintain the monitoring and interpret the resulting metrics. When an app is put into the cloud, the team running the cloud and the app developers don’t work together. So how can both sides get what they need? Fortunately, new transaction-centric tools don’t require developers to get involved for ops teams to understand where transactions go, where they get stuck and why. With a transaction monitoring solution in place, both sides get information they need to maintain high performance and availability.

Cole: Is it true, then, that enterprises don't need to worry about infrastructure on the cloud? As long as apps perform correctly, does it matter where and how they are being hosted?

Neal: Unfortunately, there will never be a complete disconnect between applications, transactions and the infrastructure itself. There are simply too many dependencies for them to be ignored. While a properly running application doesn’t need much attention at all, if a problem were to occur, how the infrastructure and application work together must be known. In fact, to be able to solve any problem, the operations team running the cloud must know how transactions, applications and the infrastructure are performing — together. Without this information, a cloud environment has the potential to be the next big finger-pointing exercise.

Because of this risk, it is vital that enterprises do two things with cloud deployments: Analyze the cloud-worthiness of each application and never give up complete control over performance management.

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