Windows Azure customers and developers now have a free tool to help them better gauge the performance of their cloud apps. Microsoft announced March 5 that it had acquired MetricsHub, a Bellevue, Wash.-based provider of cloud application monitoring services.
MetricsHub participated in the Microsoft Accelerator BizSpark program that provides startups with $20,000, software development kits and resources, and traditional business incubator perks like office space, training and mentorship opportunities.
MetricsHub Active Cloud Monitoring, which customers previously had to pay for, is currently being offered as a free prerelease product, said MetricsHub in a blog post. Current paying customers will be transitioned to the free product.
"We will also be converting all paying customers to this no-charge version of the service, and MetricsHub technology will continue to keep your cloud applications running," informed the company via its blog.
MetricsHub provides a Web-based dashboard, enabling customers to gather and analyze performance information pertaining to their Azure instance. Users can monitor metrics like storage capacity, uptime, response times, number of requests and projected costs. When issues arise, the dashboard displays color-coded alerts. Alternately, MetricsHub can be configured to deliver alerts via email, text and or the PagerDuty IT support platform.
Robust and visually rich reporting features are only part of the story. Bob Kelly, corporate vice president of strategy and business development for Windows Azure, revealed that Microsoft was compelled to snap up MetricsHub for another in-demand capability: automated optimization.
People charged with delivering software as a service (SaaS) are drawn to cloud computing providers for the scaling and cost benefits but are running into problems managing their applications to meet demand, according to Kelly.
"Cloud solutions are compelling for a variety of reasons—scale, flexibility and value—particularly for companies looking to do more with less. However, it's difficult to understand, monitor and correlate all the application data points that tell you how and when you need to scale your application," he blogged.
To remove that stumbling block for Azure customers, Microsoft is embracing MetricsHub and its tech.
"Then, to get real value out of those data points, you need to automate how your application and cloud platform intelligently respond," stated Kelly. "Their approach to automating performance optimization, with little effort on the part of customers, addresses these issues. It also ensures customers are only paying for what they need and maximizing the services they're using," he added.
Microsoft has steadily been piling on the features in order to set its services apart from competitors like Amazon Web Services (AWS).
In an effort to lure mobile developers, the company announced new, self-serve educational Azure resources in January. Microsoft also made Windows Azure Media Services official by announcing its general availability. Windows Azure Media Services is positioned as an easy-to-implement and manage way of streaming high-definition content to PCs, mobile devices and smart TVs.
The companies are keeping mum on integration possibilities or future products, if any. But plans are afoot, Kelly said. "We hope you enjoy this prerelease version and look forward to sharing more about our plans in the future," he wrote.