Head in the Clouds: SaaS, PaaS, and Cloud Strategy

Jul 23 2012   3:03PM GMT

New application performance management tools eye SaaS, Cloud usage, other metrics

Adam Riglian Profile: Adam Riglian

The cloud applications tide has been rising for some time and it’s beginning to raise the boats in a spinoff IT sector – cloud application performance management.

A slew of vendors are popping up offering services to monitor EC2 spending, bandwidth, network performance, application performance and other advanced metrics. AppNeta, a Boston-based company located in the city’s growing “Innovation District,” is one of those vendors. Today, it released AppView Web, an addition to its PathView Cloud platform that will monitor app performance on the public cloud and offer insight into an apps performance over a network.

CEO Jim Melvin sees AppNeta as a way for users to increase the reliability of public cloud applications. He describes a common occurrence in IT departments – Salesforce.com is running slow in the office, IT calls Salesforce to ask why and they tell them that everything is running normally in the Salesforce data center. Melvin says this constitutes a typical call to AppNeta, which issues automated responses to IT through alerts, dashboards and reports that explain when the problem is on their side of the fence.

“If companies are looking to move towards public web applications, like Salesforce, like Google Docs, like a backup system like a mail system, they cannot take the plunge without some level of assurance, and that’s what we offer,” Melvin said.

Public clouds do have failures, as evidenced by recent outages in Amazon and Salesforce, but Melvin said that downtime in the office is often caused by network glitches or by inefficient use of resources. He describes two common examples – quality of service errors and BYOD.

Quality of service describes the way applications get prioritized on the network. Melvin says it is relatively common for a router to go down and be brought back up without anyone noticing, but that when new routers come online, they aren’t wired to respect quality of service, which creates a logjam.

The BYOD era adds an extra layer of confusion to the process. Anyone firing up their iPad in the office may inadvertently begin synching all their applications, from work-related apps to iTunes, soaking up a huge amount of bandwidth that takes away from apps in the cloud.

When asked what percentage of problems AppNeta respond to are caused by human error, Melvin estimated close to 90%.

“IT infrastructures are just incredibly resilient, they almost never completely fail because they are so dynamic,” Melvin said.

The market for performance management appears to be growing based on all the product news that has come out on an almost daily basis. Riverbed Technology announced a product upgrade that adds capabilities around quality of service today.

For more on application performance management (APM), check out contributor Crystal Bedell’s story on SearchSoftwareQuality.com.

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