October 25, 2011
ServiceMesh is today announcing the release of the latest version of its cloud governance and management offering. The new release, dubbed Agility Platform 7.3, looks to build out the SLA and reporting aspects of hybrid cloud management – two areas that are of growing importance as organizations attempt to balance heterogeneous infrastructure both on, and off, premise. Specific areas of new or extended functinality include;
- Advanced SLA management to mitigate risks. SLAs can be established using custom thresholds and compound rules, enabling workloads to dynamically respond to changes in demand with high levels of control
- Customizable reporting metrics and monitoring thresholds. Business and IT users can define customized reporting metrics and thresholds to monitor their cloud workloads, and select different alerting mechanisms
- Improved security capabilities with support for external key stores. In addition to Agility Platform’s internal cryptographic key store, customers can now chose from a wide range of external key stores and certificate authorities to manage their encryption keys
All in all the changes are natural adjuncts to the core management platform and answer enterprise demands for more certainty. One area of concern I had is that in focusing heavily on the SLA aspects of the offering, ServiceMesh are going down something of a rabbit hole in relation to ensuring continuity. My perspective is that organizations are focusing more heavily on planning for failure as a way to deliver continuity of service, rather than relying on the exceptionally blunt instrument that an SLA is. Interestingly, Dave Roberts, VP at ServiceMesh said that;
One of the biggest concerns enterprises have with cloud computing is how applications will perform as they are moved to the new environment. The SLA management and custom reporting capabilities in Agility Platform 7.3 provide users with the enterprise grade tools required to ensure successful cloud deployments, whether in public or private clouds.
The issue I have with this statement is that SLA management doesn’t ensure successful cloud deployments at all – rather they’re the tool that gets used once the horse has already bolted. Recent high profile outages, and a laser-like focus on those who managed to remain in service during them, has reminded us all that an SLA is very often worth less than the paper it’s written on. Rather an approach that sees operations people focus on planning for expected (and unexpected) outages, pays dividends. Servicemesh remains adamant that the new SLA functionality doesn’t take anything away from enterprises ability to focus on this planning for failure, witness the increased reporting and monitoring thresholds that will help enterprises increase visibility over failure and near failure areas.
That said, hybrid cloud management is clearly an important area and parts of this release – in particular the key store and reporting aspects – will deliver much needed functionality to enterprises.