Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Ravi Rajamiyer, Ed Featherston

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security, @BigDataExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Leveraging the Voice of the Crowd in the Cloud

The goal of every IT shop is to keep their application users online and happy

As the significant benefits of SaaS and hybrid cloud services become more evident, it's no surprise that organizations are moving more mission-critical applications - e.g., email, VoIP, online meetings, document storage/collaboration, etc., - to the cloud. This is different than CRM apps, which have been in the cloud for many years. If Salesforce.com is unavailable, the sales team is certainly impacted, but if email, IP, and/or VoIP communications are unavailable, the entire organization takes a productivity hit.

Moving your mission-critical apps to the cloud doesn't absolve IT of responsibility for the quality of service though. If users can't access email, they are not going to call Microsoft or Google or Amazon. They are going to call the IT help desk and the IT team will be expected to fix whatever problem exists.

That's a problem though. With SaaS applications, IT does not have direct access to the servers running the services. They may have access to a status dashboard, but those often do not provide anything close to real time information. Nor do they provide any information on the health and availability of the various networks (the customers, the ISPs, the regional backbone, etc.) connecting the users to the service.

To effectively monitor and manage mission-critical SaaS applications, IT needs end-to end visibility of the service delivery chain, from their own premise-based infrastructure, through their network service providers, to the application service provider. But how?

Bring on the Crowd
SaaS applications are by definition shared by a global community of customers. So it stands to reason that monitoring these services could and should be done in a shared manner as well. For example, if a service provider could aggregate data across a broader set of customers around the globe, organizations could get a global view of availability and performance metrics. They could quickly compare local performance measurements and alerts with data collected from other apps, locations, customers, and relevant service provider notifications.

This would not only enable IT to quickly determine the location (local, ISP, or SaaS provider) of any service impacting issues, but also provide a rich dataset from which to determine whether their own service delivery chain is optimally configured.

There are certainly examples of this "crowd-effect" already happening in informal ways through Twitter. It's not uncommon for users to check Twitter when they are having problems with the service. It sort of acts as an impromptu global network of monitors, watching the service from hundreds of thousands of access points. The problem with Twitter though is that it is primarily anecdotal and qualitative information and generally does not give you the fidelity needed to fix issues impacting your users.

Despite its limitations, there is a lot to be said for the "power of the crowd" that is so fundamental to Twitter. What if IT could take that same model and use it to proactively monitor SaaS applications? First, it would require some type of active monitoring behind your firewall at the locations where users access their SaaS applications. These "sensors" could act like Twitter users, constantly running transactions against the service and collecting data on transaction and network node performance. They would also allow you to proactively detect and notify an IT admin of any outages or performance anomalies before they impact users.

Then, what if we could collect and share real-time performance data from those sensors in a global database maintained as part of a cloud service. IT would then have visibility into the health of the complete service delivery chain between their organization and the SaaS provider. For example:

  • Current status, alerts, network statistics, and performance trends for one or more access points to determine if there are service issues affecting a particular location or subnet.
  • Comparative performance data with the rest of the "crowd" to determine whether service issues are systemic to the application provider or the result of downstream internet service provider problems. IT may not be able to fix these directly, but with this information they would know which service provider to call and help them speed time to resolution
  • Detailed service level reports

For example, an IT admin might see where logon time in its own organization is significantly worse than the average of the crowd. If IT is getting reports of sluggish performance from its own users, this data tells them that the problem is probably not with the service. Likewise by comparing trend data from multiple sensors IT would be able to see whether the problem is more likely in the local network or at the network service provider. This could significantly reduce the time it takes to get the issue resolved.

The goal of every IT shop is to keep their application users online and happy. But with SaaS, that's more difficult to do because administrators don't have the same visibility that they do with on-premise applications. We, as a community, need to change that. Finding new ways to leverage the crowd seems like a great place to start.

More Stories By Patrick Carey

Patrick Carey is vice president of product management and marketing for Exoprise, a provider of cloud-based monitoring and enablement solutions for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. He spends his free time thinking about how companies can get to the cloud faster and stay there longer.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in compute, storage and networking technologies, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
In order to meet the rapidly changing demands of today’s customers, companies are continually forced to redefine their business strategies in order to meet these needs, stay relevant and continue to see profitable growth. IoT deployment and development is integral in this transformation, and today businesses are increasingly seeing the value of investing their resources into IoT deployments. These technologies are able increase ROI through projects such as connecting supply chains or enabling sm...
In his opening keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Michael Maximilien, Research Scientist, Architect, and Engineer at IBM, will motivate why realizing the full potential of the cloud and social data requires artificial intelligence. By mixing Cloud Foundry and the rich set of Watson services, IBM's Bluemix is the best cloud operating system for enterprises today, providing rapid development and deployment of applications that can take advantage of the rich catalog of Watson services to help drive insigh...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that EARP Integration will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EARP Integration is a passionate software house. Since its inception in 2009 the company successfully delivers smart solutions for cities and factories that start their digital transformation. EARP provides bespoke solutions like, for example, advanced enterprise portals, business intelligence systems an...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale, a global pure play Infrastructure as a Service provider and strategic partner of Dassault Systèmes, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2010, Outscale simplifies infrastructure complexities and boosts the business agility of its customers. Outscale delivers a secure, reliable and industrial strength solution for its customers, which in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs oft...
As cloud adoption continues to transform business, today's global enterprises are challenged with managing a growing amount of information living outside of the data center. The rapid adoption of IoT and increasingly mobile workforce are exacerbating the problem. Ensuring secure data sharing and efficient backup poses capacity and bandwidth considerations as well as policy and regulatory compliance issues.
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 21st International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
Existing Big Data solutions are mainly focused on the discovery and analysis of data. The solutions are scalable and highly available but tedious when swapping in and swapping out occurs in disarray and thrashing takes place. The resolution for thrashing through machine learning algorithms and support nomenclature is through simple techniques. Organizations that have been collecting large customer data are increasingly seeing the need to use the data for swapping in and out and thrashing occurs ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that DivvyCloud will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DivvyCloud software enables organizations to achieve their cloud computing goals by simplifying and automating security, compliance and cost optimization of public and private cloud infrastructure. Using DivvyCloud, customers can leverage programmatic Bots to identify and remediate common cloud problems in rea...
Amazon started as an online bookseller 20 years ago. Since then, it has evolved into a technology juggernaut that has disrupted multiple markets and industries and touches many aspects of our lives. It is a relentless technology and business model innovator driving disruption throughout numerous ecosystems. Amazon’s AWS revenues alone are approaching $16B a year making it one of the largest IT companies in the world. With dominant offerings in Cloud, IoT, eCommerce, Big Data, AI, Digital Assis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that delaPlex will exhibit at SYS-CON's @CloudExpo, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. delaPlex pioneered Software Development as a Service (SDaaS), which provides scalable resources to build, test, and deploy software. It’s a fast and more reliable way to develop a new product or expand your in-house team.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudistics, an on-premises cloud computing company, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Cloudistics delivers a complete public cloud experience with composable on-premises infrastructures to medium and large enterprises. Its software-defined technology natively converges network, storage, compute, virtualization, and management into a ...