What is still missing here is any kind of an end-to-end view of infrastructure latency that is also real time, deterministic and comprehensive. The marrying of the SAN point of view with the IP network point of view is the obvious combination. The hard issue here will be the identification of the applications so that these view of infrastructure performance can be surfaced on a per application basis. In summary, we have a long way to go here, and this just might be why so many of those virtualization projects for business critical and performance critical applications are having so much trouble getting traction.
In Applications Performance Equals Response Time, not Resource Utilization, we took the position that while for the majority of the applications deployed on physical hardware the general practice was to infer their performance by looking at normal vs. abnormal resource utilization statistics, once you virtualize an application, it becomes necessary to directly measure its response time in order to ensure adequate service to business constituents and end users.
The right approach to monitoring a virtual or cloud based environment is to start with a clean sheet of paper, determine your requirements, and assemble a horizontally layered solution out of best of class vendor solutions that address each layer. Vendors should be evaluated on their mastery of one or more layers, their ability to keep up with the change in that layer, and their ability to integrate with adjacent layers.
If synthetic transactions are dead as an approach for determining availability and performance from the perspective of the end users of an application then something has to take their place. The two candidates are approaches that analyse data on the IP network, and client side agents. Both will likely rise in prominence as more applications become more dynamic.
There are some applications that are “never” going to go into a public cloud and the monitoring of those applications is not going to be done on a MaaS basis either. However, the ease with which these solutions can be purchased, initially deployed and then managed on an ongoing basis means that for applications that fit into a public cloud deployment scenario (you can live with the security and performance issues of the public cloud), MaaS is a very viable option for the monitoring of these applications and may represent the future of monitoring just as Cloud Computing may represent the future of computing.
I had the opportunity to present on Applications Performance Management for Cloud Hosted Applications at the Cloud Connect Conference in Santa Clara CA on March 15, 2010. It was an eventful presentation as I was part of panel assembled by Hon Won (former founder of NetIQ and now EVP of Business Development at Coradiant). The panels included users of business critical applications in the cloud, cloud vendors, and vendors of performance management applications for cloud hosted applications.