This post is part 4 in a 4-part series on how companies use the hybrid cloud to solve real-world problems. Part 1 covers using hybrid clouds to add data center capacity; Part 2 addresses leveraging hybrid clouds to incorporate cloud-based functionality; and Part 3 discusses using the hybrid cloud for app migration.

As enterprises increasingly move to the cloud, they are discovering a wide variety of routes to get there. In a recent series of blog posts, I’ve addressed

In fact, many companies undertake multiple, simultaneous cloud migrations, each one using a different approach—or combination of approaches—and affecting different applications and different business units with particular needs and goals. Not surprisingly, that multifaceted combination has important implications for monitoring and managing the performance of all those applications.

Cloud migration priorities

A company typically will have multiple applications, some of them in the cloud, some of them in traditional data centers, and some of them various hybrids. This kind of multi-variant hybrid cloud environment enables the company to handle the needs of all these cases.

But that doesn’t mean they all happen the same way at the same time. Often, companies prioritize moving applications to the cloud based on the type of the application:

  1. Move experimental or test/validation environments.
  2. Move “internal” applications, including internal tooling and intranet capabilities.
  3. Move large “web applications” with large web-based customer footprints.

Number 4 would be large, legacy, business-critical applications. These may be moved to the cloud, or may never be moved to the cloud.

Monitoring complex hybrid cloud environments

hybrid cloud iconThe biggest issue in monitoring complex hybrid cloud environments? Consistency.

You need a monitoring strategy that works across your entire organization and handles all of your organization’s needs in the same way. This includes on-premise legacy applications, newly created cloud-only applications, mobile apps, and naturally hybrid applications. Using a single monitoring vendor helps you provide a consistent monitoring story companywide, reducing administration complexity and the chance that important data will be lost or underutilized.

When you have some of your infrastructure in the cloud and some in your data center, you obviously want your tooling and management to work, as much as possible, in a consistent way across both areas. This is why technologies like OpenStack are so popular. They attempt to make private data centers look as much like the public cloud as possible.

One tool to rule them all

The same goal applies to your monitoring solution. The worst scenario is to use one set of monitoring tools in your data center, and another set of monitoring tools in the cloud. You want one set to monitor everything.

Diagnosing problems is much harder if you have to keep switching tools. And even small delays resolving a crisis could cost you money and customers. In addition, using multiple tools places an additional cognitive load on your engineering, operations, and support staff. The more tools they need to use to do their jobs, the harder it is for them to do a good job.

Don’t forget, it takes a certain amount of tweaking and adjusting to get your monitoring tools to work exactly the way you want them to and show exactly the information you want to see. Doing this in multiple tooling sets is inherently more difficult, and potentially problematic.

Consider setting alert thresholds. Having to set up alert and problem notifications identically in two different systems increases the chances of making a mistake. Again, mistakes in this area can mean lost revenue and unhappy customers.

Finally, consider the role of monitoring during the actual application migration process. When moving an app from a private data center to the cloud, the first step is to monitor that application in the data center, and get a baseline understanding of how the application is performing. Then, during and after the migration, you can refer to that baseline to determine if the migration has introduced any problems into the system. Of course, that works best if you’re using the same monitoring system before, during, and after the migration.

Read the other post in this series: 
Using Hybrid Clouds: Adding Data Center Capacity
Using Hybrid Clouds: Adding Cloud-Based Capabilities
Using Hybrid Clouds: App Migration

Be sure to also read our informative ebook: The Many Paths to the Hybrid Cloud

Want the opportunity to learn more about the hybrid cloud? Be sure to check out this recording of Lee’s super-informative webinar on Monitoring the Hybrid Cloud: How do you measure and make decisions across on-premises data centers, dynamic clouds, and hybrid clouds?


Cloud image courtesy of 

Lee Atchison is the Senior Director, Cloud Architecture at New Relic. For the last eight years he has helped design and build a solid service-based product architecture that scaled from startup to high traffic public enterprise. Lee has 32 years of industry experience, including seven years as a Senior Manager at, and has consulted with leading organizations on how to modernize their application architectures and transform their organizations at scale. He is the author of the O’Reilly book Architecting for Scale and author of the blog Lee@Scale. View posts by .

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