Best Practices for Cloud Enabling Apps, Part Three

Published on in Marketing by Nick Davies

Independent Software Vendors [ISVs] offering on-premise configurations for their Line of Business [LOB] applications are exploring ways of ‘cloud enabling’ their products.

 

In our last blog on cloud enabling your applications, we looked at preparing your application for registration, management and billing, and creating application templates; in this, the final part, we look at:

  • Performance and Scaling
  • IT Service Analytics
  • Data Backups

 

Monitoring Performance and Scaling Environments
The servers you provision to deliver your applications must manage any workload; reassessing the resources assigned to applications requires ongoing performance monitoring and the ability to scale quickly and seamlessly when necessary. Choosing a cloud platform that offers a range of performance monitors will keep you in the picture of a server’s health at any time; many CSPs will provide this within a service agreement.

Using an online monitoring tool, SaaS administrators can view displays for individual Web servers and, for example, override and change workload thresholds where necessary and proactively alert nominated personnel. Administrators should also be able to view reports that track usage and compare against pre-set thresholds.

If SaaS administrators observe sustained spikes in usage, an expansion of your application’s footprint may be required; this can be achieved by:

  • Scaling horizontally by adding new servers, via typical provisioning processes or utilising cloud orchestration functions.
  • Scaling the server vertically by expanding available resources; with many operating systems, this can be done without taking the server offline.

 

IT Service Analytics & Monitoring
The challenge in the modern IT environment (with multiple layers from various vendors and service providers combining to deliver the ultimate service or solution), is in the measurement of service performance & delivery. Most importantly swift fault resolution. The last thing an end customer needs to hear when experiencing a fault or service issue is a lack of understanding of where in fact the issue resides within the various service layers, having no clear sight of a time for resolution.

The ISV and Cloud Service Provider will clearly want to deliver the best customer experience, with support, infrastructure and development departments working collectivel to identify, isolate and fix any issues that arise, without an adversarial approach that can often damage new business relationships. This is in part down to cultural fit between partnerships, but can be clearly overcome by having the necessary Analytical tools and monitoring systems in place to turn a reactive, remedial activity into a proactive, preventive activity.

IT Analytics helps your own internal development, delivery and support departments connect to each other and with customers and of course your Cloud Service Providers, in order to communicate and collaborate to achieve their major goals and to improve endpoint security, ITSM operations and support, and transformation projects. ITSA&M provides essential visibility and insight for IT governance, risk management and compliance including the ability to measure the effectiveness of your own and your CSP partners IT operations, support and security from the perspective of the end-user (worker).

ITSM solution helps the ISV in many different ways:

  • SLA Metrics on your CSP – Manage your relationship with your CSP more effectively
  • Increase end customer satisfaction
  • Find root cause faster before the impact spreads
  • Find root cause from the end-user perspective
  • Reduce incidents by 35%
  • SLA metrics from your business end-user’s perspective
  • Understand the impact on business end-users
  • Close issues 60% faster

 

Perform Data Backups
Aside from ongoing performance and reliability, by far, the main anxiety of any application owner is suffering a crash with the permanent loss of critical data. For each of your customers that have their own environment comprehensive backup strategies are essential. Your CSP partner should, as a matter of course, provide a service, whereby they perform daily backups, ensuring that they contain the server’s full state and data.

For many modern Web applications, the applications servers themselves don’t maintain any state and can be added and taken offline with little impact. The data repository is the backbone of any application; customers can manually log-in and back up database servers but this is laborious and costly, so your CSP should support custom database back-ups for you. Hosted backups even provide data-centre (DC) redundant replication to ensure that our cloud clients have total peace of mind. Data is backed up, verified and stored at the DC, and is replicated to an offsite silo. This means that data is easily recoverable and hosted backup clients can expect to be up and running again within 2 hours of a request.

Conclusion

Cloud-enabling your application involves far more than simply pushing existing code onto a number of cloud servers. Over the past few weeks we have looked at how your application will follow a journey and talked about the importance of the architecture and the automation, management and support of your code for increasing its’ efficiency and value.

Each of the best practices we’ve described is essential for cloud enabling your applications and for successfully entering new, profitable markets.

If you’re an ISV that is looking to take advantage of cloud opportunities, why not book a place at our forthcoming event: Developing the Cloud: Enabling ISVs to Maximise Cloud Market Opportunities.

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