How to Choose the Best IT Monitoring Solution for Cloud Infrastructures

Outsourcing, software as a service, virtualization and cloud computing are ushering in an era in which enterprises distribute increasingly critical IT assets and applications across multiple service providers and platforms. These changes are rendering legacy monitoring tools virtually useless. Here, Knowledge Center contributor Gary Read provides a list of seven criteria enterprises should consider when evaluating IT monitoring solutions that will enable them to extend monitoring from their data center to the cloud.

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Economic pressures, scalability demands, advances in innovation, and the need to squeeze every bit of value available out of IT resources are all driving an enterprise computing paradigm shift. This shift centers around cloud computing and its promise to provide organizations with the ability to expand their IT infrastructures and increase their computing power without having to invest in costly data center improvements or additional IT staff.

Media, analysts and various pundit communities are paying special attention to the cloud; however, interested companies are approaching it with caution. Prior to making cloud investments, they are asking whether or not there are actual economic and efficiency advantages available, if security and compliance is adequate, and if it's possible to manage, monitor and control cloud-based business applications and services.

The answer to these questions is a resounding yes. As early as December 2009, it was reported that vendors providing technologies enabling comprehensive monitoring and management of cloud-based IT resources have emerged. Cloud providers are producing tangible ROI case studies. And in March 2010, at the RSA Conference, many companies announced security advancements supporting the fact that the cloud is secure and compliant.

While there are many resources addressing cloud security, compliance and efficiency concerns, there are relatively few that can provide a how-to guide to monitoring and management. In this article, I'll discuss the challenges inherent in legacy monitoring technologies. I'll also discuss the distinct advantages that today's leading-edge monitoring solutions provide and offer a how-to guide for choosing a monitoring solution.