Microsoft Cloud Authors: Jim Kaskade, Lori MacVittie, Andreas Grabner, Janakiram MSV, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Blog Feed Post

Filling the SLA Gap in the Cloud

Meeting user expectations of fast and available applications becomes more difficult as you relinquish more and more control…

Meeting user expectations of fast and available applications becomes more difficult as you relinquish more and more control…

User expectations with respect to performance are always a concern for IT. Whether it's monitoring performance or responding to a fire drill because an application is "slow", IT is ultimately responsible for maintaining the consistent levels of performance expected by end-users – whether internal or external.

Virtualization and cloud computing introduce a variety of challenges for operations whose primary focus is performance. From lack of visibility to lack of control, dealing with performance issues is getting more and more difficult.


The situation is one of which IT is acutely aware. A ServicePilot Technologies survey (2011) indicates virtualization, the pace of emerging technology, lack of visibility and inconsistent service models as challenges to discovering the root cause of application performance issues. Visibility, unsurprisingly, was cited as the biggest challenge, with 74% of respondents checking it off.

These challenges are not unrelated. Virtualization's tendency toward east-west traffic patterns can inhibit visibility, with few solutions available to monitor intra-virtual machines deployed on the same physical machine. Cloud computing – highly virtual in both form factor and in model – contributes to the lack of visibility as well as challenges associated with disconnected service models as enterprise and cloud computing providers rarely leverage the same monitoring systems.

Most disturbing, all these challenges contribute to an expanding gap between performance expectations (SLA) and the ability of IT to address application performance issues, especially in the cloud.


There are many "gaps" associated with virtualization and cloud computing: the gap between dev and ops, the gap between ops and the network, the gap between scalability of operations and the volatility of the network. The gap between application performance expectations and the ability to affect it is just another example of how technology designed to solve one problem can often illuminate or even create another.

Unfortunately for operations, application performance is critical. Degrading performance impacts reputation, productivity, and ultimately the bottom line. It increases IT costs as end-users phone the help desk, redirects resources from other just as important tasks toward solving the problem and ultimately delaying other projects.

This gap is not one that can be ignored or put off or dismissed with a "we'll get to that". Application performance always has been – and will continue to be – a primary focus for IT operations. An even bigger challenge than knowing there's a performance problem is what to do about it – particularly in a cloud computing environment where tweaking QoS policies just isn't an option.

What IT needs – both in the data center and in the cloud – is a single, strategic point of control at which to apply services designed to improve performance at three critical points in the delivery chain: the front, middle, and back-end.


Such a combined performance solution is known as ADO – Application Delivery Optimization – and it uses a variety of acceleration and optimization techniques to fill the gap between SLA expectations and the lack of control in cloud computing environments.

A single, strategic implementation adoand enforcement point for such policies is necessary in cloud computing (and highly volatile virtualized) environments because of the topological challenges created by the core model. Not only is the reality of application instances (virtual machines) popping up and moving around problematic, but the same occurs with virtualized network appliances and services designed to address specific pain points involving performance. The challenge of dealing with a topologically mobile architecture – particularly in public cloud computing environments – is likely to prove more trouble than it's worth. A single, unified ADO solution, however, provides a single control plane through which optimizations and enhancements can be applied across all three critical points in the delivery chain – without the topological obstacles.

By leveraging a single, strategic point of control, operations is able to leverage the power of dynamism and context to ensure that the appropriate performance-related services are applied intelligently. That means not applying compression to already compressed content (such as JPEG images) and recognizing the unique quirks of browsers when used on different devices.

ADO further enhances load balancing services by providing performance-aware algorithms and network-related optimizations that can dramatically impact the load and thus performance of applications.

What's needed to fill the gap between user-expectations and actual performance in the cloud is the ability of operations to apply appropriate services with alacrity. Operations needs a simple yet powerful means by which performance-related concerns can be addressed in an environment where visibility into the root cause is likely extremely limited. A single service solution that can simultaneously address all three delivery chain pain points is the best way to accomplish that and fill the gap between expectations and reality.

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

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
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Transparent Cloud Computing (T-Cloud) Consortium will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Transparent Cloud Computing Consortium (T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data proces...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, will discuss why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue an...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
Intelligent machines are here. Robots, self-driving cars, drones, bots and many IoT devices are becoming smarter with Machine Learning. In her session at @ThingsExpo, Sudha Jamthe, CEO of IoTDisruptions.com, will discuss the next wave of business disruption at the junction of IoT and AI, impacting many industries and set to change our lives, work and world as we know it.
Established in 1998, Calsoft is a leading software product engineering Services Company specializing in Storage, Networking, Virtualization and Cloud business verticals. Calsoft provides End-to-End Product Development, Quality Assurance Sustenance, Solution Engineering and Professional Services expertise to assist customers in achieving their product development and business goals. The company's deep domain knowledge of Storage, Virtualization, Networking and Cloud verticals helps in delivering ...
The Internet of Things (IoT), in all its myriad manifestations, has great potential. Much of that potential comes from the evolving data management and analytic (DMA) technologies and processes that allow us to gain insight from all of the IoT data that can be generated and gathered. This potential may never be met as those data sets are tied to specific industry verticals and single markets, with no clear way to use IoT data and sensor analytics to fulfill the hype being given the IoT today.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Hitrons Solutions will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Hitrons Solutions Inc. is distributor in the North American market for unique products and services of small and medium-size businesses, including cloud services and solutions, SEO marketing platforms, and mobile applications.
OnProcess Technology has announced it will be a featured speaker at @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1 - 3, 2016, in Santa Clara, California. Dan Gettens, OnProcess’ Chief Analytics Officer, will discuss how Internet of Things (IoT) data can be leveraged to predict product failures, improve uptime and slash costly inventory stock. @ThingsExpo is an annual gathering of IoT and cloud developers, practitioners and thought-leaders who exchange ideas and insights on topics ranging from Big Data in...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to focus on the core of their online busine...
The explosion of new web/cloud/IoT-based applications and the data they generate are transforming our world right before our eyes. In this rush to adopt these new technologies, organizations are often ignoring fundamental questions concerning who owns the data and failing to ask for permission to conduct invasive surveillance of their customers. Organizations that are not transparent about how their systems gather data telemetry without offering shared data ownership risk product rejection, regu...
The Open Connectivity Foundation (OCF), sponsor of the IoTivity open source project, and AllSeen Alliance, which provides the AllJoyn® open source IoT framework, today announced that the two organizations’ boards have approved a merger under the OCF name and bylaws. This merger will advance interoperability between connected devices from both groups, enabling the full operating potential of IoT and representing a significant step towards a connected ecosystem.
November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Penta Security is a leading vendor for data security solutions, including its encryption solution, D’Amo. By using FPE technology, D’Amo allows for the implementation of encryption technology to sensitive data fields without modification to schema in the database environment. With businesses having their data become increasingly more complicated in their mission-critical applications (such as ERP, CRM, HRM), continued ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Embotics, the cloud automation company, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Embotics is the cloud automation company for IT organizations and service providers that need to improve provisioning or enable self-service capabilities. With a relentless focus on delivering a premier user experience and unmatched customer support, Embotics is the fas...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloudbric, a leading website security provider, will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloudbric is an elite full service website protection solution specifically designed for IT novices, entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses. First launched in 2015, Cloudbric is based on the enterprise level Web Application Firewall by Penta Security Sys...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MathFreeOn will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MathFreeOn is Software as a Service (SaaS) used in Engineering and Math education. Write scripts and solve math problems online. MathFreeOn provides online courses for beginners or amateurs who have difficulties in writing scripts. In accordance with various mathematical topics, there are more tha...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, will draw together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established ...
The best way to leverage your Cloud Expo presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at Cloud Expo. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audiences.