Many Perspectives on the Cloud
If the Cloud means something different to everyone, does it mean anything to anybody? To some, the Cloud is limited infrastructure and platform-as-a-service, like Google and Amazon. To others, the Cloud is on-demand services like Dropbox and Evernote. Are SaaS services, like Salesforce.com and NetSuite, considered Cloud, or are they applications delivered using the Web?
Reasonable, informed people differ on what the Cloud is, but this lack of consensus has not stopped start-ups and enterprises alike from utilizing Cloud services to deliver products and services that could not be created without it. It seems as though it is more important to understand these successes than define a taxonomy to classify them.
Many Opinions, Few Specifics
If everything is Cloud, without formal definitions or specifics, how can we sort the wheat from the chaff? Compuware is in a unique position to answer this question because we build technologies that enable us to see the entire Cloud, from the Internet to the enterprise. Using our standard commercial products as a starting point, we built a tool that collected performance metrics from infrastructure and platform-as-a-service Cloud providers. We found the results so interesting that last April we made the tool available as a free community offering at CloudSleuth.net.
Over the last six months, we have asked hundreds of technologists for their impressions of CloudSleuth. The reaction has been universal: “Wow, you can do this? Is this real data?” It is. And real data, specific and focused, shifts the conversation from what Cloud is to what Cloud can do.
Having this extraordinary visibility into the Cloud enables us to see it differently. Where others see web applications, we see a web application delivery chain made up of services that only come together at users’ browsers. Enterprise data centers and service providers are increasingly relying on Cloud services. The resulting application delivery chain more closely resembles a supply chain than a traditional enterprise application. We call these “borderless applications,” to highlight their distinguishing characteristic: They are composed of geographically and organizationally diverse third-party services.
Borderless applications present IT professionals with some unique challenges, not the least of which is that performance management is synonymous with supplier management. New tools and best practices are needed. The conversation needs to be framed by real data rather than opinion.
The CloudSleuth Community
Why CloudSleuth? Because we are passionate about the Cloud. We believe that the Cloud is and will continue to be diverse in perspective and approach. Users need a way to make sense of that diversity. Cloud service providers need to represent their differentiated value proposition. So, we are building a community of Cloud service providers and users to promote adoption of the Cloud.
Not just any community. Our unique visibility from the Internet to the enterprise has shown us that enterprises are increasingly deploying applications that are made up of opaque and shared third-party services. Service management is increasingly becoming a critical skill for application owners. To demonstrate our passion for the Cloud, and because visibility is so critical to the management of the application delivery chain, we are making our tools available to the community.
Here is what we learned from the beta release of CloudSleuth: If you give users the ability to experience the Cloud first-hand, the discussion shifts from “Is it real?” to “Here’s what you can do with it.” Don’t just tell them -- show them. Use CloudSleuth to show potential customers how they can increase availability by using your service; or, how they can increase response times for a globally diverse user community.
That is exactly what we are doing in our newest CloudSleuth community application, the Cloud Performance Analyzer. This application uses real-time data collected from our worldwide performance network to show the impact of edge-caching services on user response times. CloudSleuth users love it because it gives them information they can really use. The edge cache service providers will use it as a proof point of their services. And we love it because it shows the importance of visibility into the shared, opaque Cloud services.
Now it’s your turn. Join the CloudSleuth community at CloudSleuth.net. Express your opinions. Show your stuff!