Cloud computing has no shortage of benefits: giving users access to massive amounts of compute power and storage wherever they may be, without them having to purchase and maintain physical on-premises computing infrastructure in order to do it. In doing so, the cloud is a superior option for many — not least because it means no longer having to take responsibility for expensive and inflexible on-prem hardware.
But giving up that level of control can come with problems as well. For those who are used to having all their computers under one roof (literally), the cloud can be a major shift in terms of how they think about computer resources. When it comes to on-prem deployment, all resources are deployed within an organization’s existing IT infrastructure, taking place entirely in-house. That means that the organization has to be responsible for proper maintenance of the solution and its processes. This also means that they are responsible for whatever ongoing costs are associated with server hardware, space, and power consumption.
There are similar issues when it comes to cost, security, and compliance. In all cases, on-prem puts the user in full control — for better or worse. They are in full control of everything from expenditure to what happens to data under the control of the organization.
In theory, lack of control over infrastructure — made possible by the cloud — sounds like a bad thing. In fact, it can result in everything from cost-savings to easier remote access to systems to scalable storage and processing capabilities that can adjust both up and downward depending on the amount required or consumed at that moment. Just so long as you incorporate tools like cloud-based performance testing as part of your solution.
Shock of the new
The cloud is a major step in the right direction for many. But aside from the “shock of the new” of having to think about computer resources in a new way, it can pose its own challenges. One key illustration of this is visibility in the cloud.
This can be the case even in settings in which there’s only one cloud environment being used. However, in multi- or hybrid cloud settings, organizations may be stuck having to view the workload of each cloud environment separately; essentially giving them a piecemeal view of the cloud setup in its totality. This can result in blind spots regarding security, management and performance monitoring. It can leave users reliant on their cloud provider for tools to achieve visibility and monitor cloud environments.
Cloud performance testing to the rescue
Visibility isn’t a problem when everything is working. But in scenarios in which cloud-based applications or environments start running slowly this opacity can be a massive challenge. Fortunately, help is at hand. Cloud performance testing can assist with measuring the level of responsiveness and stability of a software application as it copes with different cloud workloads.
Cloud performance testing works by simulating real-world usage of apps by users as a way to measure, verify, and validate the app’s responsiveness, stability, scalability, and speed. There are multiple tests that this can include — such as load testing or stress testing to look at how it performs under average and higher-than-average loads; browser tests to validate how cloud apps perform in different web browsers; latency tests to measure how long it will take to move data packets between points in a network; capacity tests to see how many users can access an application before it runs into problems, and more.
This should form a significant part of your cloud strategy. First begin by defining the scope and criteria of your cloud apps by identifying the parameters of the software, hardware, and network configurations for testing. After this, plan out tests according to the specific metrics you need to collect. After this, prepare whichever performance-testing tools and tests will be needed, before finally performing the performance tests and collecting — and then analyzing — the data.
Of course, identifying cloud performance issues is important, but not enough on its own. It would be like visiting a physician to diagnose a problem, but then failing to seek advice or take medication that could make that problem go away. However, cloud assessment technologies don’t stop at spotting problems; they can help fix them as well.
Top providers can assist enterprise customers to supercharge their performance in the cloud. One such solution involves a virtualized layer that’s designed to sit between application stack and cloud infrastructure in order to optimize data workloads and increase cloud performance.
Utilizing these solutions should be a “must” for the growing number of organizations that rely on the cloud on a daily basis. Latency can be a killer for cloud applications that can undo many of the benefits that would ordinarily accompany a switch to the cloud. But by making the right decisions, and adopting the correct workflows and technologies, organizations can ensure that this does not become a problem. That should be a priority for all involved.