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Monitoring & Testing
Six Myths of Monitoring SaaS Applications
Falling for these myths can put you on a path to protracted service outages and frustrated users
By: Patrick Carey
Mar. 16, 2014 03:00 PM
There's been plenty written and predicted about the future of cloud and Software-as-a-Service, and it's hard to argue with its benefits - for both organizations and users. If our cloud-based future is to come true though, we must pay closer attention to the service levels users are getting from Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications.
Obvious? Maybe not.
As many organizations make their first big move to the cloud with services like Office 365, a few common misconceptions - grounded in the general belief that once we move to the cloud, IT no longer owns direct responsibility for service levels - threaten to put them on a path to protracted outages and frustrated users.
The fact is that if your users can't access a cloud-based service, they are not going to call the service provider. They are going to call the IT help desk (maybe you) directly and the IT team will be expected to fix whatever problem exists, ASAP. Users don't care whether or not the problem is located in infrastructure owned and operated by their IT department, the ISP, or the cloud service provider. If they aren't having a good experience, IT will take the heat.
How do you avoid this? Here are six myths that can derail your use of the cloud. Falling for them can put you on a path to protracted service outages and frustrated users. In addition, I try to shed light on what's needed to fill in some of the gaps that exist when it comes to monitoring SaaS applications.
1. "I don't need to monitor. I have a guaranteed SLA from the provider."
2. "I don't need my own monitoring tools. I use the service provider dashboard."
3. "I didn't monitor your previous hosted email service. Why monitor Office 365 now?"
4. "My existing tools monitor my cloud apps as well as my on-premise apps."
On the other end of the spectrum, web monitoring solutions often either run generic protocol tests or run from the providers' locations rather than within your own network.
None of these solutions can provide active, end-to-end monitoring of service performance and user experience from behind your firewall to the service provider and back.
5. "I don't need to monitor. My users tell you when they are having problems."
Speed to resolution is key. You want to be notified before users are impacted and when an issue is identified you want to isolate it and get it resolved as quickly as possible.
6. "Moving to the cloud means monitoring is someone else's problem, right?"
Moving to the cloud, doesn't mean monitoring goes away, but it does fundamentally change the requirements. You need to monitor these solutions, but you need to look at different approaches, ones that are designed to meet the needs of the cloud. You have to be able to monitor and troubleshoot infrastructure you cannot touch - the end-to-end service delivery chain from your premises, through the various Internet service providers, to the application provider and back. To do this you need to take a global view of the cloud service, tracking performance measurements from multiple access points. By comparing these measurements, you have the ability to quickly detect, isolate, and resolve issues affecting cloud application performance before they negatively impact your users and your organization. The more monitoring points you have the better your ability to do this. It's difficult for smaller organizations to accomplish this level of visibility on their own, but as adoption of cloud applications grows, you'll begin to see new solutions that pool resources across multiple customers, and provide this level of visibility to any SaaS consumer.
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