In today’s increasingly mobile workplace, organizations need to consider productivity, operational efficiency, and business continuity when migrating their employees, data centers and critical applications to the cloud.
As new collaboration technologies make productive, remote teamwork possible, businesses can expect their roster of off-site employees to continue to grow. Along with employees working remotely, companies today are often supporting a remote infrastructure that includes any employees away from the main data center location, whether they’re at doctors’ offices, campuses, retail stores, or hotels.
With benefits to both employees and businesses, this work-from-anywhere trend isn’t showing any signs of slowing down — and it’s bringing a slew of new challenges for IT teams when it comes to cloud computing and critical application performance.
Top Challenges in Supporting Remote Infrastructure
When you move any app or service from an in-house data center to the cloud, you add more distance — and thus more latency — to the equation. Your SaaS or cloud provider’s location will add another layer of complexity. In the cloud, performance monitoring is more complicated as businesses no longer own their application delivery infrastructure — but that infrastructure has a much greater impact on critical application performance and end-user experience.
In addition to wrestling with network and application transparency issues at the remote level, IT teams are faced with:
The need to move away from legacy networks that are no longer compatible with the needs of remote workers. With business-critical applications and important documents locked behind firewalls and accessible only in the physical office or to a select few employees, employees are left without important company resources when they’re on the go.
Implementing and maintaining a remote-friendly network with the performance of a wired infrastructure. These days, end-users expect the same app performance regardless of their location or device. There are a lot of network choices today and emerging technologies like SD-WAN to meet modern needs.
Demand for a seamless application experience at remote offices. For off-site or branch office workers, productivity and morale suffer when application and network performance are sub-par. Understanding what users see in their application use is important.
Pick the Right Metrics for Remote Application Usage and Performance
For businesses, migrating to the cloud can usher in a new era of progress and productivity. Previously unattainable technology becomes more accessible, more cutting-edge and more beneficial to the bottom line. For IT teams, measuring remote applications and network performance in cloud environments brings a whole host of new challenges. With respect to end-user experience and metrics, the KPIs might be the same—but IT now has less control and reduced insight into the process.
Keep these metrics in mind when evaluating application end-user experience and network performance over remote networks like a WAN:
Latency. It’s important to identify whether performance issues are arising due to latency and if so, to pinpoint exactly where the latency is occurring. Use the process of elimination to see whether it’s happening only for a particular user, location, or application.
Capacity. When monitoring apps running in the cloud, an effective metrics report should include capacity. This ensures all service-level agreements (SLAs) are being adhered to and that performance issues aren’t due to your provider’s network speeds.
Packet loss. When compounded, packet loss can lead to network congestion, sub-par productivity, and unhappy end users. On the open internet, packet loss is much more difficult to find and resolve.
Jitter. If this is an issue, your app’s audio and video quality plummets — sometimes rendering it completely unusable for end-users. When infrastructure is moved to the cloud, effective performance monitoring means having insight into the entire app delivery path.
Quality of service. Business-critical apps depend on QoS. If routing priorities aren’t in line with business needs, important applications can get demoted.
With comprehensive monitoring of a remote infrastructure, IT teams have access to performance data regardless of location: from remote sites, in the cloud and on-premises. While remote offices may be at a distance, they don’t have to be invisible.