Sunday, November 13, 2011

10 Steps to Moving to the Cloud

Virtualization and cloud computing increase efficiency and flexibility in providing data and applications to users, yet managing performance of applications and transactions in the cloud is neither simple nor easy. When you add another layer, particularly one that is highly dynamic in nature, assuring a high quality user experience gets trickier when applications misbehave. It’s harder to determine where an application or transaction was working when the failure or slowdown occurred, since virtual machines are provisioned and decommissioned continually according to business priority and demand. You can no longer monitor an application in the context of its server.

1. Think End-to-end
The traditional server-centric monitoring approach is no longer relevant. Focus on applications and transactions instead.

2. Fix First
Application problems don't go away in the cloud; address them before making the move.

3. Prioritize
Map out your business priorities by application so you can focus on infrastructure and monitoring.

4. Establish Baselines
Set performance baselines before migration, so IT can accurately characterize user issues in the cloud.

5. Define Metrics
Establish core metrics for the cloud, such as response time for critical transactions.

6. Monitor QoS.
Watch for degradation of quality of service during and after migration.

7. Watch for Contention
Resource contention on virtual machines is a common problem that IT should monitor.

8. Balance Java Clusters
Beware that adding nodes/capacity to an unbalanced cluster has detrimental effects.

9. Weigh Performance
Compare the performance history of your app in the cloud to the performance history while the app was "on iron".

10. Optimize Staff
Deploy IT staff according to business priority so you don't under-staff a critical application.


10 Best Global Companies to Work For


What makes for a great workplace? Quality of life, access to senior managers, and clear career paths were among the attributes cited by workers in a “World’s Best Multinational Workplaces” survey from consultancy Great Place to Work. To be considered, companies must employ at least 5,000 people worldwide, with no less than 40% of them working outside of the home country. These are organizations that demonstrate a focus on improving the work and life experiences for the rank-and-file, and finding innovative ways to make good things happen. "This list recognizes global companies that have demonstrated a truly serious commitment to creating workplaces that foster trust, pride and camaraderie amongst their employees," said Jose Tolovi Jr., global CEO of Great Place to Work. The research is based on surveys in which more than 2.5 million workers took part. The top 25 can be found here; this slideshow includes the top ten companies, along with some perks from their global locations.

1. Family Affair

Microsoft invites its Norwegian employees on maternity and paternity leave—and their kids—to a quarterly “Junior Lunch.”

2. Business Education

SAS community-based education programs are used by more than 50,000 U.S. teachers at no cost.

3. Gracious Gesture

Vice Chairman Tom Mendoza averages 30 “thank you” calls to employees a week.

4. Time to Innovate

Engineers spend one-fifth of their time on projects of their own choosing, leading to innovations like Gmail, Google News and AdSense.

5. Career Opportunities

FedEx Express
European employees use the company’s Career Hub to manage careers and find new opportunities from within.

6. Front and Center

CEO John Chambers invites workers for informal, candid group Q&A sessions that are held closely to their birthdays.

7. Accommodating Arrangement

New hires in Mexico get to stay at a location for a night to experience its customer service first-hand.

8. Reaching Out

McDonald’s UK works closely with the government and partners to provide jobs for the long-time unemployed, disabled, disadvantaged and military veterans.

9. Maternal Instinct

The company celebrates Mother’s Day with a catered breakfast or lunch for all moms in the company.

10. No Meeting Time Zone

SC Johnson
In Italy, directors/managers cannot call meetings before 9:30 a.m.