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Availability and reachability in the cloud

Martin Ryan, VP and MD Asia Pacific, Dyn | Nov. 11, 2015
The challenges of performance issues for availability and reachability can be just as corrosive to brand reputation and loyalty as lost speed or security breaches.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The cloud can be a mysterious place for business owners or IT executives intent on transitioning their networks to one of the top cloud providers or diversifying their partners. A study conducted by Frost & Sullivan has found increasing focus on cloud computing in Asia Pacific, with 58.6 percent of organisation decision-makers identifying it as their number one priority in the next 12 months.

While the advantages are obvious, such as low capital investment and fast and flexible scaling, the options to factor into the decision process are many. One must select hosting services, weigh the pros and cons of various cloud providers, determine the best CDNs and ensure these services all work together as one concurrent network. Then there are performance issues to consider: speed, security, availability and reachability.

Speed and security are measurable by many tools and methods today — they are known commodities. However, availability and reachability are equally important factors to consider when judging cloud performance, but are often overlooked. All the speed and security in the world won't do much good if you can't connect your customers to your web assets across the Internet.

Monitoring availability lets you know whether or not your services are available to your customers for use. It is a performance metric that most IT folks know and understand. But reachability is a concept that is less familiar. To connect to your cloud-based services to your customers, cloud providers partner with network companies to provide a path across the Internet to get to your customers' home ISP. Half the path comes from the cloud company and half comes from the ISP. Measuring how well your services run across these virtual paths (reachability) is a real challenge — and opportunity.

Uptime and availability
Having a global business means that the end-user experience should be equal no matter where or when a customer accesses your website, app or content. Impact from availability issues can be significant. In July this year, hackers breached motor dealer Eurokars Group's Mazda website and placed its logo and a message on the site. The estimated cost to businesses is high — anything from US$140,000 to US$540,000 per hour. Customer confidence and business reputation are also put on the line.

There are some important questions to ask to determine availability. Is my service available for use by my customers? Are my partners able to connect with my services? What does my global coverage look like among cloud providers and CDNs?

In the event of an outage, smart availability and reachability strategies will give your business an edge over competitors that are down, providing the end-user experience that your customers expect, driving sales and building brand loyalty.


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