If you’ve worked in IT anytime over the past five years, you’ve most likely considered moving your IT applications to the Cloud, if you haven’t already migrated part or all of your infrastructure. Whether it's pressure from the C-level to reduce total cost of ownership (TCO), the increasing complexity of managing virtualized environments, or the demand from end users to be able to access applications and data from anywhere, the transition to the Cloud is happening - for good reason. Some IT administrators still fear that outsourcing critical messaging and collaboration platforms to the Cloud could put their jobs at stake, but the move is just changing the role of the administrator to that of an internal service provider. By leveraging the Cloud, you can position your IT department as a strategic services broker or manager that can lower the bottom line substantially for the entire organization.
Reasons to Move to the Cloud
- Cost savings - Moving to the Cloud reduces capital expenditures. Complex virtualized infrastructure requires a significant amount of expensive storage, which Cloud providers already have.
- Mobility and device proliferation - End users are increasingly accessing email from smart phones and tablets while on-the-go. The infrastructure to support these distributed environments is often complex, and needs to support heterogeneous virtualization platforms that Cloud service providers have the resources to do.
- Simple and scalable - The ability to scale up, down or out dynamically and allocating resources as needed with not much effort.
- Subscription pricing - Predictable pricing models.
- Reliability - Services guaranteed by strict SLAs.
- Automation - Updates and migrations can be done behind the scenes and automatically.
- Security - Automated backups under specific SLAs.
Application Performance Management Challenges
While the benefits of migrating messaging and collaboration platforms to the Cloud are clear, managing the performance and availability of these in public and hybrid Clouds requires specific monitoring tools that Cloud service providers don't always provide in standard. Sure, Cloud providers offer service levels that are guaranteed, but how do you know that you are receiving perfect service, or at least what you expected? How do you measure the users' experience, or in other words, the quality of the service from their side? The most common complaint of people during and after they migrate to the Cloud is performance issues. Monitoring the performance of your applications and end user experience is critical to protect your environment from interruption and data loss due to server overload.
Cloud service providers are most certainly monitoring their Cloud environment, but they are likely using network monitoring tools that are not monitoring application performance. That leaves you with network capabilities that won't give you an exact understanding of how your applications are performing on an hourly and daily basis. Further, application monitoring is often considered as a "nice to have" until you experience a significant service interruption, especially with mission-critical messaging and collaboration applications. Then it becomes a "must have" right away.
A reactive approach to performance disruptions still leaves workers unproductive, in the end. To avoid this, you need monitoring and analysis tools that enable you to anticipate service disruptions before they occur, especially when it comes to critical email and collaboration applications. No IT administrator looks forward to calls from company executives complaining that they cannot receive email, and that certainly doesn't make the IT department look like a strategic asset to the business as a whole. When it comes to that point, you will need to invest time and money to solve the problems - time and money that would have been saved with a proactive approach.
In all, monitoring and analytics systems are essential to ensure that your business email is always available and up and running from a server and service perspectives. And, it is just as important to monitor on-premises, public cloud and hybrid environments to make sure your users will never be impacted.