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Successfully migrating and monitoring your apps in the cloud

Level 12

With the federal government’s Cloud First Policy nearly four years old, most agencies already have a clear understanding of the promised values of cloud computing.

That said, there is still plenty of uncertainty and concerns about moving to a cloud environment. How will you secure your data and monitor your applications? Will a cloud environment make your job obsolete? How will your agency manage the changes?

In reality, however, moving to the cloud can have less of an impact than one might imagine. Data will continue to be secure, applications will continue to perform and job security will not change.  You don’t have to lose control.

Today’s environment

Today, you’re encrypting your data, using performance monitoring tools, tracking resource usage and evolving requirements (memory, CPU, etc.), tracking service-level agreements (SLAs) and much more – all considered best practices.

The key is to understand the differences between application requirements and deployment practices.

Protecting data in the cloud simply entails knowing what requirements you must meet, and learning how to do that in the cloud. So the more clarity you have on how your applications work today, the easier your migration will be.

If you understand your application resource contentions, you will know how much memory and CPU your database has been using, but you also need a clear understanding of the source of bottlenecks. This knowledge will ensure you get the capacity you need while meeting your performance requirements.

Your cloud environment

Your cloud environment might actually look quite similar to your data center-hosted environment.

From a security perspective, there are many options available in the cloud. Remember, meeting strict federally mandated security requirements is a cloud provider's bread and butter. All cloud providers that are compliant with the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) meet FISMA-moderate requirements.

It is likely you will end up in a hybrid environment, so you should find a set of monitoring tools that allow you to monitor applications both in the cloud and in your own data center. The key metrics you already track – application performance, memory usage, CPU utilization – should continue to be tracked in the cloud.

Look for tools that allow you to see both sides through a single pane of glass, providing complete visibility across the entire environment. These types of tools provide stability throughout the transition and ease migration.

As for job security, remember that most of the work you do today will continue. You will still be responsible for application performance optimization, for example, but the applications will simply be in a different location. You’ll be tracking performance metrics relate directly to potential cost savings for your agency. Tuning, enhancing efficiency, optimizing resources (cost) and evaluating current practices may also become a larger part of many federal IT jobs.

Focus on data security and optimizing performance, and continue to track resource usage, evolving requirements and SLAs. And remember, the more rigorously you monitor and manage your applications today, the easier – and more cost effective – your migration will be.

Find the full article on Government Computer News.

9 Comments
MVP
MVP

Still not sold on the cloud.

It is really just someones elses computer as someone on here eloquently put it.

If there is a service outage at the cloud providers level...how will it impact your organization ?  Are the SLA's to return the service to use reasonable ?

Latency especially with MPLS and such can be a factor too...their pipe into their data center is only so big...is it big enough for all the customers using their full allotment at the same time ?

Likely it will never happen...but Murphy like to test you fro time to time.

Who of you Cloud users are actually " . . . encrypting your data, using performance monitoring tools, tracking resource usage and evolving requirements (memory, CPU, etc.), tracking service-level agreements?"

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Level 21

As I have mentioned before, Cloud options are just another set of tools in our tool belts; it's not the silver bullet solution for everything like many think it is.  Cloud solves some problems and creates others, at the end of the day it's still managing systems and/or compute resources in much the same way we always have.

Level 20

perhaps some workloads could be moved to the cloud but some industries it just won't happen much...

Level 14

From where I sit, the government is trying to consolidate services.  However, I have yet to see any real effort to move to the cloud.

Are we disseminating between Public and Private Clouds here? I played a lead role when my company migrated to our Private Cloud.

"The key metrics you already track – application performance, memory usage, CPU utilization – should continue to be tracked in the cloud."

We don't have a business need to encrypt data but everything else we do (to varying degrees). From where we were to where we are it is an absolute no-brainer. No more hardware limitations, no more hardware failures, no more physical space & power constraints, etc.

As for the remaining points in this blog, you are preaching to the choir!

Level 13

I'm not sold on public cloud offerings yet...I have too much sensitive data...

I'd love to read your comments on the difference between contracting services to ASP's versus hosting them internally.  Your organization has (probably?!) already done this and determined it makes better sense for you to use ASP's. 

I realize the financial details aren't for the public, but could you give a general idea in percentages of cost analysis differences?  Did you find that offering your services internally involved changes to staffing and internal hardware and power and cooling, etc., that cost twice as much as doing this with ASP's?  Three times? More?

Level 12

There is no cloud, its just other people's computers

About the Author
Joseph is a software executive with a track record of successfully running strategic and execution-focused organizations with multi-million dollar budgets and globally distributed teams. He has demonstrated the ability to bring together disparate organizations through his leadership, vision and technical expertise to deliver on common business objectives. As an expert in process and technology standards and various industry verticals, Joseph brings a unique 360-degree perspective to help the business create successful strategies and connect the “Big Picture” to execution. Currently, Joseph services as the EVP, Engineering and Global CTO for SolarWinds and is responsible for the technology strategy, direction and execution for SolarWinds products and systems. Working directly for the CEO and partnering across the executive staff in product strategy, marketing and sales, he and his team is tasked to provide overall technology strategy, product architecture, platform advancement and engineering execution for Core IT, Cloud and MSP business units. Joseph is also responsible for leading the internal business application and information technology activities to ensure that all SolarWinds functions, such as HR, Marketing, Finance, Sales, Product, Support, Renewals, etc. are aligned from a systems perspective; and that we use the company's products to continuously improve their functionality and performance, which ensures success and expansion for both SolarWinds and customers.