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Heading into the cloud: Managing network performance across a unified fabric

By Yama Habibzai, vice president of marketing, SevOne, special to Network World
July 06, 2012 04:05 PM ET

Network World - This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

The adoption of virtualization and cloud-based services is accelerating, but a byproduct enterprises may not have considered is that it has never been more challenging to gain accurate and timely application performance visibility in a uniform way.

Existing virtualization tools are either not available to the operations team or lack the standard operations center functionality required to proactively assure application performance and reliability. And conventional performance management solutions designed to collect specific types of data that must be aggregated and reported on centrally, can't scale or provide immediate visibility across the enterprise's network infrastructure.

TECH DEBATE: What to look for in network fabrics

These limitations are compounded by the fact that compute, network and storage resources are shared when infrastructure is being provided as a service, making it difficult for an enterprise to assess which of its applications are being supported, how they are performing and whether they are receiving the necessary bandwidth.

Cloud's performance management challenge

Leveraging cloud-based technologies, whether private or outsourced, for delivering business-critical applications backed by solid service-level agreements (SLAs) allows IT to maximize the value of the network by enhancing internal processes and operations. This is achieved via higher server utilization rates and lower costs thanks to virtualization, automation and service management software.

The latter is particularly critical for enterprises deploying their own private cloud or leveraging cloud services because the convergence of compute, network and storage streamlines the provisioning and allocation of resources. For example, when the business specifies the application and class of service they want, IT should be able to provision the appropriate resources automatically. The ability to plan capacity, monitor resource consumption in real-time and make adjustments on-the-fly is also critical because IT must dynamically reallocate resources depending on the level or class of service required by the application and how well the application is performing.

Enterprise IT needs complete and immediate visibility if they are to meet SLAs with the business. With the company's revenues and reputation at stake, they must ensure they are meeting business expectations while optimizing their infrastructure to scale across a multitude of end users and applications.

IT organizations require highly automated and integrated system management software tools to optimize IT processes and application performance across dynamic hybrid cloud environments that combine on-premise private clouds and off-premise public clouds with traditional and virtualized IT service infrastructures. Many are opting for a phased migration using technology partners and starting with less mission-critical applications and resources, ensuring they have the people, processes and the right tools in place.

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