One of the advantages that the cloud offers to IT is the ability to offload some of its work to a third party provider. By migrating the responsibility for managing server deployments, software installation, patch management and other more mundane tasks to a cloud provider, IT can focus on higher value added tasks that can create competitive or other advantages. However, while IT can offload some of its tasks to specialist third party providers by migrating to the cloud, it cannot offload the blame when cloud-based systems go down. When cloud-based email goes down, for example, the first to be notified by users will undoubtedly be the IT department, not the cloud provider.
Exoprise is a startup company that seeks to address this issue by providing more intelligence about cloud service performance. The company’s CloudReady Monitor monitors cloud-based services (only Office 365 so far) to provide a much more thorough analysis of service performance than can be offered by a cloud provider’s status page or a search of Twitter.
CloudReady Monitor uses a distributed network of sensors to simulate actual transactions that users might generate, such as logging into a cloud service, sending emails, etc. These sensors allow the system to measure end-to-end transaction times from any location in which users might be accessing the cloud service so that a real-world view of system performance can be determined. This not only allows problems to be detected rapidly and relayed to in-house IT personnel so that remediation can begin as soon as possible, but it also helps IT to determine where the problems might be occurring: at the cloud provider’s data center, with an ISP, or perhaps somewhere in the in-house network. Moreover, the system permits a comparison of customers’ sensor data with the aggregated data from other Exoprise customers in order to determine if a problem is isolated or widespread, a much more formalized variant of what many do today when checking Twitter for problem reports. CloudReady Monitor also provides reporting capabilities to help decision makers determine if their promised service levels are being met.
While CloudReady Monitor is useful as a means of gauging cloud service performance, it’s ability to monitor on-premise system performance is useful to help organizations optimize their users’ cloud experience as they evaluate cloud services. Obviously the system will be more useful when services in addition to Office 365 are added to the offerings from Exoprise, but their solution is solid foray into the cloud monitoring space and is worth a close look.