AppFirst, a company that provides detailed monitoring and management of computing resources running in cloud environments, has introduced a new version of its solution that integrates with the systems of major cloud providers. The company announced this week that its AppFirst system--which constantly, rather than intermittently, monitors performance-- works with cloud providers such as Amazon EC2, Rackspace, SoftLayer and GoGrid, and will support additional cloud providers in the near future.
David Roth, president and CEO of AppFirst, says that the company's solution differs from other performance monitoring services because it constantly monitors system performance. Many others, in contrast, monitor only by "polling," meaning that they check system performance only occasionally. "If your monitoring asks a SQL database for specific information, you're going to get that information, but if the something that is going wrong is right above or below that information, it's not going to look for it. It was programmed to only ask that specific question," Roth says.
AppFirst Basic is a free monitoring service for monitoring, adding, removing and otherwise managing cloud server instances. AppFirst Professional is a paid product with more robust features, according to Roth. The company also offers customized monitoring and management solutions.
Cloud service provider Rackspace announced its acquisition of Cloudkick, a comprehensive cloud monitoring company, on Dec. 16. It is a move that Roth says validates the cloud management and monitoring space that AppFirst is in. Bernd Harzog, an independent industry analyst, refers to this category of application as monitoring as a service (MaaS).
"If cloud vendors want to attract more than the most tactical/development-oriented workloads, they need to offer two levels of performance assurance that they do not, for the most part, offer today," Harzog wrote in a blog post Tuesday. Cloud vendors need to monitor and manage both infrastructure performance and application performance in order to best serve their customers.