Monitoring the Cloud for End User Experience

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Cast your mind back to the last time you lost your house keys. I mean, really lost them. They weren’t in any of the usual places. You’ve checked about ten times. And when you did find them (in a sweaty panic and a flurry of overturned cushions because you were meant to leave the house 20 minutes ago), they were somewhere completely unexpected, like the laundry basket or in the fridge.

This scenario, so familiar to us all, is very much like monitoring application performance in the cloud. When it comes to finding problems and the underlying cause–the place you need to be looking is often very different to what you think.

Cloud adoption is standard for many businesses and is accelerating across all sectors. According to Gartner, 85% of organizations will embrace a cloud-first principle by 2025. While migrating to the cloud makes businesses more agile, resilient and able to provide a true remote/hybrid experience for employees, it also comes with its fair share of challenges.

When it comes to cloud, end user experience is the ultimate measure for success. But when organizations migrate to a cloud environment, the infrastructure on which business-critical apps run is no longer within your control, nor is it with the cloud vendor. Therefore, cloud monitoring tools play a critical role in alerting IT teams when something goes wrong.

As multi-cloud environments grow in complexity and the costs associated with app downtime grow, teams need more than an alert when there is a problem. They need insights into where the issue is, what has caused it, and how best to solve it. To deliver an optimal end user experience, cloud monitoring works best as part of a more holistic toolkit, which is where a more sophisticated jump to a unified observability platform may be a better option.

Benefits of cloud monitoring

Cloud monitoring plays an important role in making sure that service-level objectives are being met, which is essential for a consistent user experience. It offer an excellent option for growing businesses, as it allows them to scale resources up or down on demand and can track large volumes of data across different cloud locations. Yes, its core value lies in assessing system health, analyzing long-term trends and sending out alerts when things go wrong. It also provides insights into how well apps are performing and how they are being used over time.

Additionally, cloud monitoring tools offer the flexibility to be used across desktop computers, tablets, and phones, making it easy for teams to track application performance from any location. This is especially helpful for distributed teams and remote workers who need to access company data no matter where they choose to work. Monitoring also strengthens the security of applications by identifying potential risks.

As cloud infrastructure and configurations are already in place, installing a monitoring tool is relatively straightforward. It strengthens business resilience because even if local infrastructure fails, cloud-based resources will still function, ensuring continuity of operations.

What cloud monitoring can’t do

While cloud monitoring provides numerous benefits, it does have limitations. Firstly, tools in this space often only track application usage and consumption. They can provide an alert to a poor user experience but may not offer the insights into why it was sub-par. IT teams are obliged to investigate every alert without context, which often results in alert fatigue. War rooms need to be set up to deal with major outages, which are resource intensive because IT teams spend a lot of time chasing bad leads and looking in the wrong places.

To resolve problems impacting the end user experience quickly, IT teams need to ascertain both the location and cause of a problem to ensure that the problem doesn’t keep resurfacing. That is why cloud monitoring shouldn’t be used in isolation, but as part of a suite of tools that include network performance monitoring and diagnostics (NPMD), application performance monitoring (APM), infrastructure monitoring, and digital experience monitoring (DEM). This unified set of solutions tracks all moving parts in end user experience delivery, allowing IT teams to really zero in on the root cause of problems.

How unified observability fills the gap

Where monitoring tracks system performance and identifies known failures, observability goes the extra mile. If all the moving parts of delivering cloud based applications are thought of as a single system, Observability can look at the overall system with all it’s interdependencies and can identify the root cause of a problem by analyzing the data it gathers from many different sources. An observability solution not only assesses the health of that system but provides actionable insights as well. This allows IT teams to proactively address problems and resolve them faster.

Riverbed’s Alluvio Unified Observability platform overcomes siloes to capture full-fidelity data from networks, applications, servers, client devices, cloud-native environments and end user devices. AI and ML are then used to analyze data streams, automating much of the troubleshooting work that would usually be carried out by IT engineers. This allows employees at any level to help solve user experience issues quickly. Insights are filtered, contextualized and prioritized, ready for action by the IT team.

Therefore, while cloud monitoring is crucial, meeting rising expectations for the end-user experience requires a more comprehensive and sophisticated solution. With a unified observability solution, you can set IT teams up for success by not only alerting them to problems but showing them where to look and automating the bulk of the troubleshooting process. This allows issues to be resolved before they escalate to outages, improving the end-user experience.

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