Cloud Computing Management and Monitoring: 7 Emerging Vendors

Tuesday Jun 28th 2011 by Jeff Vance
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If your company doesn't have visibility into its network, it's vulnerable to any number of problems.

If you don’t have visibility into your network, you’re vulnerable. If you don’t know what devices are on the network, and which users have what privileges, you’re vulnerable.

Today, that means most organizations are vulnerable.

The state of IT today is one of limited visibility. Like an airliner flying through heavy clouds using only outdated, untrustworthy instruments, lack of insight and information can be catastrophic.

The cloud complicates this. As applications and infrastructure move beyond enterprise perimeters, it’s more and more difficult to know what’s running where, and if those resources are being used efficiently.

IT operations managers need a consolidated, unified view into all of this. Relying on legacy tools will only give limited snapshots, and in the cloud, this means taking service providers at their word.

Besides not having a good handle on risks, this status quo also means that enterprises constantly over-provisioning. The cost of over-provisioning is cheaper in the cloud compared to your own data center, but it’s definitely not ideal.

The following 7 emerging cloud management and monitoring vendors promise to help IT understand, monitor and manage their extended infrastructures, apps and users.

 

1. AppNeta

What problem do they solve? Cloud services and distributed networked applications (VoIP, video conferencing, apps delivered as services) are essential to business operations across a range of industries, but monitoring those applications can be burdensome, expensive and often ineffective. With a limited view of network performance, issues like slow connectivity, dropped calls, and stalled screens can bring day-to-day business to a screeching halt.

What they do: AppNeta’s cloud-based network performance management is a zero-administration solution that provides insight into internal networks and beyond to third-party networks from the perspective of a remote office, rather than the data center.

AppNeta provides real-time oversight of the network and individual applications – gathering insight into bandwidth use, application performance, and assisting in troubleshooting and identifying and preventing potential failures. The interface is easy to understand, and displays metrics and data in a variety of views, so that end-users don’t have to learn additional programs, software, or syntax.

Why they’re an up-and-comer: AppNeta recently secured $6.2 million in VC funding from Bain Capital, Egan Managed Capital, JMI Equity and BDBC. In their first year of service, AppNeta has grown to more than 1,000 customers worldwide, comprised of enterprise network managers and managed service providers.

AppNeta is headed by CEO Jim Melvin, who previously served as VP of marketing and security solutions at RSA, the security division of EMC.

 

2. FieldView Solutions

What problem do they solve? Pretty much every industry of every size is constrained by tight budgets these days. The cost of running a dedicated data center not only cuts into finances, but also requires space, IT operations management teams, and support resources. And with an increased focus on sustainability, more businesses are looking for Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) that won’t risk their LEED certification status. Those managing the infrastructure need to know how to plan for space, cooling, and energy capacity in addition to traditional IT operations management duties.

What they do: FieldView’s DCIM creates a dynamic representation of the infrastructure – both physical and logical assets – in order to monitor and analyze performance and energy use. FieldView’s dashboards feature built-in screens and metrics that help data mangers better utilize their space and their existing and future assets (regardless of vendor), all while efficiently consolidating servers.

FieldView’s DCIM tools also incorporate functionalities of Building Management Systems and Electrical Power Monitor Systems – all of which can help users plan and maintain compliance with energy standards while securing the entire workspace.

Why they’re an up-and-comer: According to FieldView, over the past decade, data center electric consumption has grown by over 10% per year, and today accounts for 3% of the total electric production of the United States.

With energy costs ever increasing, companies are concerned about the environmental impact and carbon footprint of data centers. Meanwhile, ever more complicated and stringent industry standards and possible new government regulations make managing data-center energy a necessity. Data center operators need a solution to not only manage day-to-day operations, but also to achieve long-term sustainability goals.

Last year Gartner predicted a 60 percent market penetration of DCIM by 2014, driven by increased power and heat density, data center consolidation, virtualization and cloud computing.

FieldView hopes to cash in on that DCIM market. The company is backed by SJF Ventures, Osage Partners and Milestone Venture partners, which funded a $2 million Series A round in 2009.

 

3. Gigamon

What problem do they solve? An increase in the volume and complexity of data makes it increasingly difficult for network operators to maintain data visibility for network monitoring and security tools. Without a comprehensive monitoring of these networks, enterprises are vulnerable to data breaches, failures in compliance, and compromised reliability for end-users.

All of these factors can put IT in the stressful position of reacting to threat after threat instead of proactively monitoring and anticipating potential problem areas.

What they do: Gigamon’s GigaVUE-HD8 appliance is a high-density intelligent data access switch, which provides network visibility and data access in high-density environments. Network traffic is replicated and filtered to monitoring and security tools, at full line-rate speeds. The data filtering architecture alleviates the burden on other tools and resources.

This helps customers gain insight into how their networks are functioning under normal conditions, and helps businesses adopt a proactive stance to managing and monitoring their network performance.

Why they’re an up-and-comer: In 2010, Gigamon received $22.8 million in Series A funding from Highland Capital Partners. High-profile customers include MasterCard, Comcast, Intel and Cisco. According to the company, Gigamon has been profitable since 2006 and continues to expand roughly 50% each year.

 

4. Network Instruments

What problem do they solve? How does a company maintain the visibility into applications that were once housed entirely on-site? And how does any organization assure customers that performance will rival previous service? If issues arise, how do you pinpoint the origin of the problem? Not knowing can leave organizations of all sizes with a gap in confidence and a lack of performance assurance for clients.

What they do: Network Instruments provides a network and application monitoring platform that fully integrates views of performance so that administrators can see comparative views of applications, networks, and the entire infrastructure to find pain points or indications of potential problems. Network Instruments measures performance from the end-user on through to the cloud provider.

Network Instrument’s performance management platform allows IT operations managers to isolate issues as soon as they arise, investigating and remedying the cause before critical losses occur. IT teams can track performance and availability in real time or retrospectively, and they can also compare the performance of internally hosted services to those from service providers.

Fully customizable online reports help IT pros provide proof of issues to vendors, ISPs, or cloud providers for smoother remediation. Their system also allows IT teams to run network tests and input synthetic transactions to test the network or its components.

Why they’re an up-and-comer: Well, they’re not. Network Instruments has been around since 1994. Recently, though, the company realized that they had to roll the cloud into their monitoring and management solutions or they would risk being obsolete soon.

This explains why they’re in this roundup. Incumbents giving lip service to today’s major trends – virtualization, cloud, mobile – risk being passed by newer, hungrier, more up-to-date competitors. Incumbents who aggressively move into these new spaces, and roll new services into existing products, however, are well positioned to not just survive but thrive.

For Network Instruments, the shift is paying off. The fact that they can help cloud consumers enforce SLAs helps CIOs justify moving critical assets to the cloud, since they know they can ensure acceptable performance levels.

Seventy of the Global Fortune 100 Companies use Network Instruments’ products. Customers include leading names in Aerospace, Automotive, Banking, Communications, Computing, Education, Government, Retail and more.

 

5. ScienceLogic

What problem do they solve? Whether an IT service is deployed in the data center, a public cloud, or in a hybrid cloud, IT operations should be actively aware of service availability and performance. However, this is difficult to accomplish using traditional management tools. Some managers may piece together various proprietary tools to attempt to get a holistic view of infrastructures, but those views can often leave critical gaps, overlooking critical inefficiencies that can impact performance.

What they do: ScienceLogic EM7 brings performance monitoring, fault detection, availability, asset management, service desk functions, automation and event management under one cohesive platform that not only gives visibility into, but that can also help manage all applications and components regardless of their location on the network. Deployed via an appliance model with a centralized data repository, unified code base, and a dynamic discovery process, ScienceLogic’s EM7 is designed to work immediately out of the box, instead of taking months or longer to reach full operational value.

To support multi-tenancy, ScienceLogic provides high-level granular data, such as service levels and availability, performance levels, ticket queues and bandwidth usage for billing and analysis. Service providers can efficiently add services across virtual and cloud resources, and customize and brand them – without integrating multiple management tools. Finally, an intelligent service-level view allows tracking and analyzing resources as they are reallocated, reassessing each component as it relates to overall service delivery.

Why they’re an up-and-comer: Last year venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates invested $15 million in ScienceLogic specifically to accelerate the company’s growth in cloud management. More than 150 organizations, including Cisco, Hughes Networks, Navy Knowledge Online, Department of Treasury and Fasthosts, use ScienceLogic EM7.

 

6. Zeus Technology

What problem do they solve? A recent Zeus-commissioned survey by Vanson Bourne revealed that 82% of U.S. businesses struggle to manage web performance due to increasingly complex data center environments.

The possibility of suffering downtime while migrating from a physical infrastructure to the cloud can be especially daunting for companies whose revenue depends on the web or online services. With latency, let alone downtime, a company risks its reputation, its revenue and its ability to generate revenue.

What they do: The Zeus Extensible Traffic Manager (ZXTM) is a pure-software application delivery platform that accelerates web-based applications and websites by offloading CPU-intensive work.

Since working in the cloud requires more flexibility, the ZXTM auto-scales to adjust virtual and cloud capacity based on peaks in demand, enabling companies to divert capacity to the cloud when physical data center servers become overloaded, and automatically scale back when the need decreases, eliminating over-provisioning costs. In addition to maximizing speed and availability, the ZXTM also works to ensure acceptable levels of security, performance, and fault management, so that customers have consistently high quality interactions on the web.

Why they’re an up-and-comer: Website latency is a killer for e-commerce. In fact, for a large site like Amazon, every 100 ms of latency costs Amazon 1 percent in sales, according to Greg Linden, a former Amazon.com software engineer.

Similarly, Aberdeen Group recently reported that a one-second delay in page load time equates to a 16 percent decrease in customer satisfaction and an 11 percent decrease in overall page views. Aberdeen also found that such decreases in page views negatively impacts revenues by an average of $117 million annually.

Without traffic management technology, it’s clear that companies risk a lot when it comes to downtime and latency. Zeus is well positioned to take advantage of this problem and has an impressive client roster that includes Whitepages.com, Gilt Groupe, Domino's Pizza and the BBC. Moreover, a number of cloud providers, including Amazon, Rackspace and Joyent, all use Zeus and also offer Zeus Traffic Manager as value-added service for their customers.

 

7. Zenoss

What problem do they solve? Having visibility into the inner workings of the cloud not only helps organizations gain the trust of customers, but it also helps prevent costly downtime by pinpointing bottlenecks and assisting in the allocation of future resources. The problem is that the complexity of cloud infrastructure has been abstracted into new layers that need to be monitored and managed within a larger dynamic infrastructure, regardless of who owns the physical assets themselves.

What they do: Built for the cloud, Zenoss is an IT monitoring platform that uses a dynamic model to monitor and maintain dependencies across physical, virtual, and storage devices, providing visual representations of infrastructures that is actionable and up to date.

Customers see the current state of their dynamic environments and are able to rapidly determine when an event may impact services. The monitoring platform also offers event correlation and root cause analysis, infrastructure visualization, operational reporting, and advanced analytics.

Why they’re an up-and-comer: In 2010, Zenoss received a new round of $4.8 million in VC funding. Customers include Rackspace, VMware, LinkedIn, Deutsche Bank, Motorola and others.

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