Cloud providers ‘must provide more visibility into application performance’

Cloud SaaS

by Joe Curtis| 07 May 2014

Compuware wants cloud service level agreements to change.

Cloud providers do not give companies enough insight into performance and customer demand, according to Compuware.

Service level agreements (SLAs) between cloud hosts and companies require an overhaul, claimed the Detroit-based application performance monitoring firm.

It wants to see typical 99% uptime guarantees ditched in favour of bespoke SLAs that ensure a company's business critical applications hosted in the cloud will not fail.

The news comes on the back of a Compuware global survey of 740 senior IT professionals that found that eight in ten respondents believe SLAs based on uptime are too simplistic, failing to address the issue of managing applications in the cloud.

The company's cloud solutions manager, Ronald Miller, told CBR: "It's all really about the end user experience.

"At 99.9% availability it sounds really good but that can translate to almost nine hours a year of downtime. What happens during those nine hours?

"There's a financial cost attached to poor user experience and slow performance and that can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, even in the millions of dollars for an hour of downtime."

More firms are moving applications to the cloud to get the benefits of scalability and to avoid the capital expenditure typically required on-premise.

But Compuware found that three-quarters of IT professionals it surveyed fear the loss of control over applications they migrate to the cloud could lead to a reduced return on investment.

Another 62% found they lost any insight into application performance, meaning it became harder to solve any problems that arose.

Miller said: "There's very little visibility and very little control in the cloud. Your capabilities to resolve issues involves getting on the phone with [the provider]."

Back in March, virtualised backup firm Veeam attacked cloud SLAs, calling for the introduction of a tiered model in which companies could pay more for a higher level of support for business critical applications.

CEO Ratmir Timashev said: "The reliability of public clouds is the number one concern. There is little tolerance for data loss and little tolerance for downtime.

"[But] public service providers like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, they cannot guarantee a high service level agreement to every customer."

Compuware's Miller agreed, but said cloud providers must give companies granular insight into user demand for their applications, so they could determine when a higher level of support is needed.

He said: "You want to monitor the experience of every user, you don't want to focus on averages.

"It's going to be in cloud providers' interests to give as much visibility as possible in terms of SLAs, especially with the industry having a greater level of competition [now]."

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