How Will You Manage the Cloud?


Are you considering a move to the cloud? Are you planning to use Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) as the backend for your new website or application? Do you depend on cloud services being fast, cost-effective, secure, and available 24×7? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, be forewarned:

While the features and scalability of offerings from public cloud vendors are truly game-changing, the tools for monitoring and managing the cloud have not kept pace. New cloud users—particularly those who are accustomed to the mature management solutions available in dedicated infrastructure environments—should plan accordingly.

Over the past several months, our team has interviewed dozens of people who build and run applications in the public cloud. We ask them about their experience trying to manage their cloud environments. Five trends have emerged thus far:

1. Engineering and operations teams need more tools to manage their environments than they anticipated. It is not uncommon to have 6 or more separate systems dedicated to monitoring and analysis for an environment—not to mention all of the tools that are used for other tasks (such as deploying and configuring the services).

2. Companies follow a predictable pattern in terms of the tools that they use to manage their environments. They start with nothing and gradually add disparate components (with minimal integration) as their operations scale and become more complex.

3. The monitoring portfolio for most companies incorporates packaged software, open source software, SaaS services, and custom/home-grown products.

4. Engineering and operations teams spend a considerable amount of time and effort integrating, customizing, and managing their monitoring systems.

5. Engineering and operations teams are generally lukewarm about the solutions that they have in place.

This graphic highlights the most popular monitoring tools among the companies with whom we have met:

This is neither an exhaustive list of tools nor an authoritative view on the landscape for any category (talk to Gartner for that). We have included any tools that two or more of our interviewees report using to monitor their environments. Our sample includes about 30 companies that … Next Page »

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Dan Belcher is the co-founder of Stackdriver, a cloud infrastructure management startup in Boston. Follow @stackdriver

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