I’ve spent the last 10 years of my career really getting to grips with effectively monitoring complex computing environments. This has become even more challenging as virtualization has made such inroads in datacenters and with cloud computing looming on the horizon. Last week I spent some time with Javier Soltero who is the co-founder and CEO of Hyperic. Hyperic has been really breaking new ground in the space and also being very disruptive with their opensource approach. You can read the full interview along with the next chapter of the “Datacenter of the Future: Monitoring, Management and Service Frameworks” in the Datacenter Journal newsletter.
Jon. Monitoring is typically seen as the last step of any deployment, often not considered during the development. Do you see customers embracing a tighter coupling of the entire software lifecycle with engineering IT Service Management Solutions?
Javier. Absolutely. It’s a very encouraging trend especially among SaaS companies and other business that are heavily dependent on their application performance. The really successful ones spend time building a vision for how they want to manage the service. That vision then helps them select which technologies they use and how they use them. Companies that build instrumentation into their apps have an easier time managing their application performance and will resolve issues faster.
Jon. Customers are really embracing IT Service Monitoring as a key element to not only understand performance but also ROI for IT investments, what challenges do you see for customers to adopt these technologies?
Javier. The biggest challenge we see is the customer’s ability to extract the right insight from the vast amount of data available. The usability of these products also tends to make the task of figuring out things like ROI and other business metrics difficult. Oftentimes a tool that can successfully collect and manage the massive amounts of data required to dig deep into performance metrics lacks an analytics engine capable of displaying the data in an insightful way. And vice versa.
Jon. End user monitoring has typically been delivered with synthetic transactions, this has certainly been a valuable tool. How do you see this technology evolving?
Javier. The technology for external monitoring of this type will continue to evolve as the clients involved for these applications get more and more sophisticated. For example, a user might interact with a single application that includes components from many other external applications and services. The ability for these tools to properly simulate all types of end-user interactions is one of the many challenges. More important is the connection of the external transaction metrics to the internal ones.
Jon. Monitoring is one part of the equation, mapping availability and performance makes this data useful. With virtualization playing such a big part of datacenters today, how do you see tools adapt to meet the challenges of portable and dynamic workloads?
Javier. The most important element of monitoring in these types of environments is visibility into all layers of the infrastructure and the ability to correlate information. Driving efficiency in dynamic workload scenarios like on-premise virtualization or infrastructure services like Amazon EC2 requires information about the performance and state of the various layers of the application. Providing that level of visibility has been a big design objective of Hyperic HQ from the beginning and it’s helped our customers do very cool things with their infrastructure.
Jon. How do you see monitoring and IT service management evolve as cloud computing becomes more pervasive?
Javier. Cloud computing changes the monitoring and service management world in two significant ways. First, the end user of cloud environments is primarily a developer who is now directly responsible for building, deploying, and managing his or her application. This might change over time, but I’m pretty sure that regardless of the outcome, Web and IT operations roles will be changed dramatically by this platform. Second, this new “owner” of the cloud application is trapped between two SLAs: an SLA he provides to his end user and an SLA that is provided by the cloud to him. Cloudstatus.com is designed to help people address this problem.
Jon. Do you see SaaS model reemerging for the delivery of monitoring tools themselves, where customers will use hosted monitoring solutions?
Javier. Yes, but it will be significantly different from the types of SaaS based management solutions that were built in the past. The architecture of the cloud is the primary enabler for a monitoring solution that, like the platform that powers it, is consumed as a service.