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5/1/2014
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New Cloud Survey Highlights Performance Anxieties

Respondents aren't satisfied with cloud SLAs and say providers hide problems that affect performance.



A new survey sponsored by Compuware asked 740 senior IT professionals about their cloud provider concerns, in particular whether cloud customers have sufficient visibility into and control over application performance.

According to the survey, 79% of respondents say typical SLAs based on availability are too simplistic. Of course, if you don’t like an agreement, you can push back.

Many do. According to the 2013 State of Cloud Computing survey conducted by InformationWeek, a majority of respondents using cloud services don’t sign off on a boiler-plate SLA; 60% say they review and then negotiate terms. Another 17% give a template that the provider must conform to—a number that jumped by 6% compared to 2012.

The Compuware survey also found that customers have very little trust in their providers: 73% of respondents believe that providers hide infrastructure or platform problems that affect application performance.

And if general SLAs are a blunt instrument when it comes to real performance, what might be more suitable? The Compuware survey asked respondents what metrics they’d like to see. The largest number of respondents, 25%, selected “end user response time/quality of service.” Twenty-three percent chose “availability with continuous monitoring.” Fifteen percent selected “real-time SLA monitoring.”

The Compuware survey did not ask respondents if they would be willing to pay more for granular metrics or higher-priced options that emphasize performance. In the InformationWeek survey, only 2% of respondents that actively monitor cloud application performance said they used vendor-provided advanced monitoring, such application and transaction throughput.

If you don’t use vendor tools, you need to have your own. Thirty percent of respondents using the cloud in the InformationWeek survey said they used their own advanced monitoring tools to gather data. Another 22% conducted their own basic up/down monitoring. Surprisingly, 28% have no formal monitoring in place.

You’d expect that a cloud survey sponsored by an application performance management vendor would focus on cloud performance. However, cloud performance still takes a back seat to security concerns, according to InformationWeek’s survey.

The survey asked respondents to choose three cloud computing concerns from among ten options. The top three responses were all security-related, including security defects in cloud technology and the unauthorized exposure of proprietary and customer information. Performance came in fourth, with 31% of respondents citing application and system performance as a concern.

The Compuware survey, which was conducted by Research In Action, is available for download here. The survey interviewed 740 senior IT leaders in the United States, the U.K., Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. You can download the 2013 State of Cloud Computing survey here. Registration is required for both reports.

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio

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