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Posts Tagged ‘SaaS application performance

What do you need to move to the Cloud?Today, many organizations are contemplating how to harness the power of Cloud Computing in order to streamline their IT processes and make their daily computing lives easier — but how many organizations are actually ready to make the switch from the desktop to the Cloud?

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The many benefits of cloud computing include: the ability to access your data wherever you are; no need for bulky physical storage devices; easy scalability based on the organizations’ size; lower demands on in-house IT professionals’ time. Disadvantages to consider when moving to the cloud are limited, but may include reliance on a third party to ensure information is kept secure and confidential, and concern that when the cloud goes down access to data may also be lost. Despite these points, the positives far outweigh the negatives when it comes to moving an organization over to the cloud.

The future of the cloud is promising; in fact it looks positively fantastic. Predictions and forecasts suggest that the estimated cloud computing market value for 2015 is approximately $121.1billion. Even more interestingly, the U.S. government has shown that they are willing to invest in cloud computing, and by 2014 the U.S. IT budget is expected to have dedicated $1 billion exclusively to cloud computing. The predictions for the United Kingdom are similarly impressive – in 2011 the cloud computing market in the UK is estimated to be at around $2.4 billion, and by 2014 the predictions suggest it will reach a massive $6.1 billion.

With so many clear benefits, organizations of all sizes are considering transitioning their IT services to the cloud, but many don’t realize that network performance is a critical component to successfully deploying cloud services; there is still a long way to go before many organizations can handle these changes to their network infrastructure.

It is becoming more and more apparent that the future of computing is in the cloud. For this reason, there’s never been a better time to assess your network’s performance in order to assure that your organization is ready to successfully make the big switch.

There’s no question that the healthcare sector is rapidly embracing cloud computing. Recent studies by IDC and CDW both show that one-third of healthcare organizations are already implementing or maintaining cloud-based systems – ranking third among sectors polled, just behind large enterprises and higher education.

Healthcare IT organizations estimate spending  21% of their budgets on cloud computing over the next two years, with videoconferencing, e-mail storage and online learning solutions leading the charge. Virtualization and IT-as-a-service are two other popular routes to the cloud for healthcare firms.

Several factors are driving this industry-wide IT transformation:

  • Pressures to reduce total cost of IT ownership and accelerate time-to-value on IT investments
  • A growing demand for secure, anytime/anywhere access to critical clinical applications (e.g., patient health information) for improvement of patient care
  • The need to streamline compliance in the face of mounting regulatory complexity

By leveraging the cloud, healthcare organizations – especially small hospitals, clinics and physician practices -can focus less on managing IT and more on delivery of high-quality patient care. Reduced demands on internal IT staff coupled with cost-efficient, pay-as-you-go fee structures are especially enticing for these smaller care providers.

But as healthcare organizations move key services like e-mail, data storage and clinical records to the cloud, these mission-critical applications become remote applications. Every user becomes a remote user and every office and site becomes a remote site. Network health becomes paramount because every cloud-based transaction is “remote” and thus entirely dependent on network performance.

The transition to cloud-based services makes network performance management one of IT’s most vital functions. Any healthcare provider’s ability to derive business value from cloud computing, and mitigate associated business risk, depends entirely on its ability to guarantee service levels from the user’s perspective.

To manage network performance in the cloud, you need to:

  • Continuously monitor network performance end-to-end from the cloud environment (whether it’s private, public or hybrid) to your users and back – even over networks you don’t control.
  • Quickly identify where and why performance is degrading – even within the virtualized cloud infrastructure itself.
  • Verify that cloud providers are meeting service level commitments.

How can you achieve these capabilities? With AppNeta’s cloud-based, instant-value PathView Cloud service. This affordable, proven, network performance management solution lets you guarantee application performance across all cloud, data center, remote office and mobile environments.

To learn more about how AppNeta technology enables healthcare organizations to maximize cloud-based application performance and minimize business risk, join us at iiBIG’s “Cloud Computing in Healthcare Conference & Expo” on June 21-22, 2011. Or visit www.appneta.com.

Managing Network Performance for the Mobile Enterprise

enterprise_mobility_01Burgeoning growth in the use of mobile devices is surely among the most significant trends impacting enterprise communications. Much of this growth is uncontrolled, as droves of employees increasingly make use of their personal mobile devices over company networks, as they’re accustomed to doing at home.

How can you get a handle on what your mobile users are up to, let alone make the best business use of the enormous potential that mobility presents? For starters, you absolutely need to understand and manage the performance impact of mobile devices on your network infrastructure.  If you don’t, all your business-critical, IP-based communications services – including VoIP and video conferencing – are at risk. As you know, pretty much all of today’s IP-based applications totally depend on acceptable network performance. More mobile devices mean less network capacity for other services. The greater the volume of mobile traffic converging on your network alongside everything else, the greater the chances of service quality problems like dropped calls, disrupted videoconferences and frozen virtual desktops.

To manage mobile communications effectively, you need to know how much of your network bandwidth is being utilized by mobile devices at all times, and how your network is performing as a result – both at the home office and at remote sites. This entails:

  • Visibility into what applications (mobile and otherwise) arerunning on the network
  • Insight into the real-time, local experience of users consuming your IP-based Unified Communications services
  • The ability to notify network administrators in real-time about network performance degradation and spikes in bandwidth utilization

Traditional network management solutions aren’t designed to measure the quality of network-dependent, IP-based services from the viewpoint of your distributed users. They also aren’t very good at pinpointing the cause of traffic-induced performance degradation. So-called “netflow analysis” tools and services are helpful, but are notoriously expensive and require heavy-duty network hardware.

An affordable, cloud-based solution that delivers instant value through actionable insight into the impact of mobility on your network is AppNeta’s PathView Cloud service. AppNeta is a sponsor of tomorrow’s  Virtual Enterprise Connect virtual trade show on “The Future of the Mobile Enterprise.” The event takes place on June 8, 2011 and you can register here to join us at our virtual booth or visit www.appneta.com.

The stampede to cloud computing is rapidly altering the design and delivery of IT services. From lower startup costs to lower total cost of ownership to scalability on demand, cloud-based deployments are increasingly considered the most cost- and time-effective approach to rolling out new IT services.

But the move to the cloud is not without its challenges, particularly from the standpoint of the network. When your business services are in the cloud, every user is a remote user and every office – including data centers and the corporate headquarters – is a remote office.

By definition, every cloud-based application is a network-dependent, remote application. So is any other IP-based service, from VoIP to virtual desktops to virtual storage. Therefore, to reap the benefits of cloud computing you need be able to predictably and efficiently manage network performance.

As Debra Curtis, IT Operations Management Analyst at Gartner, Inc. noted: “The transition to cloud-based services is raising the importance of network performance management. Today, it is imperative to monitor the end-to-end network performance from the business user’s perspective, as well as have visibility into whether cloud providers are satisfying their service level commitments.”

Your ability to conduct business from the cloud depends entirely on whether you can guarantee acceptable levels of application performance and uptime from the perspective of all those “new” remote users. In order to do this well, you need to:

  • Continuously ensure the real-time, end-to-end performance of the delivery path from the cloud service environment (whether it’s managed by you or a third party) to your users and back – even over networks you don’t own.
  • Rapidly pinpoint the exact location and cause of performance degradation — even within the virtualized cloud infrastructure itself.
  • Verify that a cloud service provider is meeting service level commitments, and/or compare performance at your location(s) across multiple cloud providers to determine where to host your critical applications.

Are you considering deploying cloud services? If so, join AppNeta on June 9th for the “How to Ensure Your Network Can Handle Cloud Services” webinar, or contact us directly for a live demo to talk more about this transition

To learn more about how AppNeta technology can deliver instant value and immediate insight into your network and readiness for cloud deployment, visit http://www.appneta.com/Cloud-Services/.

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We wanted to share the following blog post from Life as a Healthcare CIO by John Halamka, CIO of Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston. Today’s post names PathView Cloud as the Cool Technology of the Week. Read the complete blog post here:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cool Technology of the Week

How many times have you heard the complaint “the application is slow” but lack data about server, network, or desktop performance to facilitate diagnosis and resolution?

In a cloud environment, debugging application issues becomes ever more challenging.

As we all rollout EHRs to small provider offices, often with challenging internet connections, remote monitoring of cloud network performance becomes even more critical.

AppNeta’s PathView microAppliance provides an easy to deploy zero administration network monitoring tool. It’s about the same size as a cell phone and can be placed at remote business locations, requiring only power and an ethernet connection.

You place one of their devices in the locationyou want to monitor network activity.   When you plug it into the wall and an ethernet connection,  it uploads network performance data to AppNeta cloud servers.  You can also place two or more devices in separate locations, and monitor the traffic between those locations.   For EHR cloud providers, it’s simple to configure the device, send it via UPS to a provider practice with instructions to plug into the wall, and gather performance data without complicated onsite network sniffing setups and configuration.

Currently we have deployed these devices at our central EHR private cloud site and two of major remote practices  The level of detail and depth of available metrics and reports is amazing.

A low cost, zero administration, cloud-based, network sniffer that is truly plug and play.  That’s cool!

In today’s business climate, organizations are risk averse and looking for rapid payback on their IT investments. These are key reasons why cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) deployments have become so popular so quickly – and why time-to-value is now a focal criteria in evaluating IT solutions.

Time-to-value is fundamentally a measure of customer experience. How high are the time, effort, planning and training hurdles an organization has to jump before it experiences tangible business value from an investment? Offering much lower cost of entry and a pay-as-you-go utilization model, cloud-based deployments offer time-to-value equations no on-premise solution can hope to match.

PathView microAppliances enable zero-administration, cloud-based deployment of network performance management capabilities.

So why does on-premise software still exist? One reason is that some on-premise solutions may still offer greater long-term business value than SaaS alternatives, by supporting integrations and customizations that push the limits of today’s SaaS models. Another reason is that businesses are looking to get maximum leverage from the investments they’ve already made in on-premise IT.

The ideal, “grand slam” IT investment is one that combines rapid time-to-value with massive long-term value plus the ability to squeeze more value from what you already own

So how are we defining value? How do you know you are investing in technology that will deliver network performance management quickly and effectively?

  • It’s easy to buy. Today, cloud-based technology offers all the advantages of SaaS. Low-cost, easily configurable, plug-and-play bundles that give any size organization everything it needs for one predictable monthly price.
  • It delivers huge business value. When managing your network, it is critical to have affordable, real-time, end-to-end insight into the performance of your network-dependent applications like unified communications, cloud/SaaS applications and virtual services.
  • It comes with everything you need. Integrated performance management services include active bandwidth monitoring, active application performance monitoring, remote flow generation and analysis and remote packet capture – all in one.
  • It works with what you have. You need a solution that can be cost-effectively deployed across any IP infrastructure. And can measure performance end-to-end from wherever a service originates to wherever it’s consumed, even over networks you don’t own.
  • The technology is proven. Achieving value can only come from a tried and true technology that is proven to deliver exceptional performance and predictable service levels across data center, remote office, mobile and cloud/SaaS environments.

AppNeta’s instant-value, cloud-based network performance management service is that kind of game-changing play for network performance management and networked application delivery. To learn more about how your organization can begin deriving immediate, lasting business value and competitive advantage from PathView Cloud technology, visit  www.appneta.com.

One of my concerns about the use of public cloud computing services is the tradeoff that IT organizations typically have had to make. On the positive side of the tradeoff, by using a public cloud service companies lower their cost and gain access to functionality that they normally would not have access to. Those are both compelling reasons to use public cloud services. However, on the negative side of the tradeoff, IT organizations typically lose all visibility into the availability and performance of the service that they get from a public cloud provider. I shiver when industry pundits show graphs and charts of some of the major cloud providers to demonstrate that they usually have high availability and totally gloss over the issue of performance. This line of reasoning reminds me of the refrain in that old song that went “don’t worry, be happy.”

I don’t dispute the fact that a best effort approach is totally appropriate for many applications and workloads. That said, I strongly believe that there is a large and growing set of applications and workloads for which a best effort level of support is not appropriate. The successful support of these applications and workloads requires that IT organizations have detailed management insight into their availability and performance.

IT organizations are beginning to demand better management insight from cloud computing service providers (CCSPs). Fortunately, many CCSPs are scrambling to find ways to differentiate themselves in the market. One clear way that CCSPs can differentiate themselves is by offering a performance-based SLA and by making it easier for their customers to monitor the end-to-end availability and performance of the services that they provide. Given that, there is reason to hope that CCSPs will begin to provide more management insight.

One company that is addressing this challenge is AppNeta. AppNeta was recently launched by the team and technology of Apparent Networks. AppNeta’s PathView Cloud Network Performance Management solutions performs non-invasive, end-to-end performance monitoring of bandwidth utilization, delay, jitter, QoS and packet loss on a hop-by-hop basis. AppNeta is supplementing that active network monitoring capability with the capability to perform active performance analysis of applications such as VoIP, video, IP storage and VDI. AppNeta also offers the capabilities to perform packet and traffic capture at remote sites using the PathView appliances, a zero-administration device.

One of the things that I find most appealing about the AppNeta solutions is that they are cloud based and hence bring to the market all of the benefits of cloud based services. This means that whether you want to manage the performance of a cloud based service or of a more traditional service, you can turn on that functionality virtually instantaneously, start getting detailed management data immediately and do all that without a capital expenditure. A big step forward.

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Read Jim Metzler’s recent brief: Cloud Management: Achieving Value of Cloud Services with Cloud Services
Learn more about AppNeta!


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