In an age where almost every application has or will migrate to the cloud, it’s important to find effective ways to manage your cloud performance. Putting the right optimization strategies into effect can help avoid myriad problems and business inefficiencies.
Here are some winning considerations to help IT managers optimize and manage cloud performance more efficiently:
1. Consider Multi-Cloud and Hybrid Cloud Approaches
A multi-cloud approach is essentially the use of varied cloud vendors for a particular business, which may include both private and public cloud platforms. This enables businesses to isolate workloads and separate them based on the specific needs of the business.
While “multi-cloud” initially referred to the mixed use of public and private cloud-based platforms like OpenStack, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Services, it is often used interchangeably with “hybrid cloud.” While hybrid clouds usually imply a seamless integration between each environment, the strategies are increasingly used to meet a shared set of goals, including cost efficiency and performance optimization.
A multi-cloud strategy can work effectively from both a flexibility and affordability viewpoint because it allows you to expand your network and reduce your dependency on any single cloud vendor (although it comes with its own set of compromises). Not only do businesses benefit from the best features of different cloud vendors, but they are also granted some flexibility to reduce long-term costs by shifting workloads to more cost-effective platforms, or by offloading local backups to an offsite archival system. In practice, in order to achieve this kind of mobility, your IT infrastructure must be able to universally support cloud-native and/or containerized applications — this kind of shift won’t happen overnight.
2. Cloud Performance Monitoring & Testing
For many, coupling a multi-cloud approach with proactive performance monitoring will help establish the optimal platform for each VM, workload, or container. For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you have the right tools and technologies to manage cloud network performance for your business.
Make sure you set up a proactive cloud monitoring system that uses service agents and other tools to check your cloud infrastructure regularly. With proactive monitoring, you’ll have greater visibility into how each cloud network stacks up against the other — allowing you to make decisions to migrate between different platforms whether private or public. Some monitoring tools include Amazon Cloudwatch, AppDynamics, New Relic, and Redgate.
In combination with monitoring, your team should establish a testing plan that will enable your team to spot irregularities more easily. Start by creating a testing baseline that averages performance over a period of time — this will help account for any irregularities that occur on third party hardware. Regularly test and compare against these metrics.
A solid testing plan will include tests on both the macro and micro levels. Be sure to track the effectiveness and responsiveness of each workload in addition to overall throughput or performance.
Your company likely performs stress tests, load tests, functional tests, and more as part of its regular swath of cloud check-ups. You should take steps to ensure that these ongoing checks test for less-common issues including security vulnerabilities and risks. Testing efforts should be both diagnostic and preventative.
3. Make Switches Between Cloud Platforms & Storage
The cloud industry is growing and evolving rapidly, causing cloud migrations to simultaneously grow in both complexity and urgency. Even best practices that are commonly accepted today could quickly be surpassed by the latest innovations by next year.
IT managers need to stay flexible and must prepare to make quick switches between platforms without over-committing to one vendor or tool. That’s no small feat in today’s world of vendor-specific file formats and licensing restrictions. To make your life easier, look for opportunities to consolidate vendors or choose solutions with open formats that reduce friction down the line.
Of course, you’ll need to factor in data transfer and storage costs when deciding which platform is optimal for the workloads you need to store. There are many well-known benefits to cloud storage: dynamic resource provisioning, high availability, high scalability, and, of course, cost effectiveness. Despite these advantages, cloud storage can make modifying existing objects inefficient and unwieldy, often relegating it to housing only static data.
At the end of the day, managing cloud performance is becoming more and more important because of how vital it is becoming to the way businesses run. Every IT manager should consider these factors to make cloud performance more efficient in the long-run.