As organizations adopt cloud technologies in their cloud journey, most focus on the immediate economics of running workloads in the cloud, whether all-in or working in a hybrid environment. Operating their cloud environments and the security of those environments are not typically seen as first-class citizens of the migration, as they should be.

 

The security and operations of the cloud environment can have as much impact on ROI as the cost of the applications running in the cloud. Having proper operations gives you control and insight into your environment which affects the overall cost of running in a pubic cloud.

 

From a security perspective, when things go wrong, they go very wrong, quickly. When your production environment is not running at its best, you aren’t delivering value to your customers, and we all know where that leads.

 

Cloud operations and cloud security aren’t just about process and procedures, they’re also about insight, knowing your environments are running properly, and getting early warnings when they aren’t.

 

Typically, alerts go off when failures start occurring, which could be too late. What’s really needed is an early warning system that alerts before it gets bad. For example, AWS CloudWatch will send alerts when specific static metrics are exceeded relative to CPU, memory, etc. It also has the ability to do anomaly detection based on algorithms that determine what normal baselines are. Plenty of features are available in CloudWatch and Azure Monitor and should definitely be leveraged where it makes sense.

 

However, tools like CloudWatch in a hybrid environment won’t give you the complete picture, nor does it give you insight into where the issues may be stemming from if it’s an application issue.

 

This is where Application Performance Monitors come into play. Like CloudWatch, you have customizable dashboards and insight into your cloud environment. These tools also provide insight into issues within your own application code – which application and where in the call stack you are.  Additionally, they can give you access to issues within messaging or database services. This allows your team to quickly pinpoint anomalies before serious, rather than after your customers can no longer use the application.

 

By leveraging proprietary algorithms and machine learning, APM’s create a baseline profile for your network, CPU, database, and more, such that anomalies can be detected early, even before they impact your customers.

 

Whether it’s an internal issue or external attack, visibility into where and what the issues are is key to managing a performant cloud or hybrid environment. As you move forward with application modernization or digital transformation, APM’s should be included early in the process. They give you situational awareness of your environments and applications, assuring they are performing at the highest levels.

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