One of cloud’s most important benefits is the ability to add capacity on demand, or even to scale automatically. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean cloud users will never experience performance problems.
Sources of Performance Problems in the Cloud
Performance problems in the cloud can arise from several different sources:
- Limited computing resources. Inadequate memory and CPU power impacts cloud applications the same way it impacts applications in the data center.
- Network latency. Cloud applications often don’t sit near to their users. In addition, cloud applications use a microservices-oriented architecture, and if the servers providing the services aren’t closely located, performance may suffer.
- Architectural misfit. Applications that are migrated to the cloud using the lift and shift approach aren’t architected to take advantage of cloud features such as automatic scaling. In addition, many legacy applications and databases simply are poorly designed. The problems inherent in their designs don’t disappear when they are transitioned to cloud.
Addressing Performance Problems in the Cloud
Solving cloud performance problems should always start by understanding the business’s performance requirements. Once the goal is known, the next important step is reviewing metrics to identify where the problems are occurring and discover the root cause. All cloud providers offer logging and monitoring, along with reporting that highlights trends. Depending on your cloud provider, there may be analytics and advice on steps to take to address any problems.
After the metrics are analyzed, performance problems can be addressed by one of the following changes, choosing the one most appropriate for the source of the problem:
- Better instance and memory choice. Upgrade instances to have more memory and more powerful CPUs. Having more computing power available can solve many issues. In addition, some cloud providers may offer the option of a private server. By not sharing the physical hardware, your workloads are protected from any impact caused by other cloud users.
- Better network connection. Most cloud providers offer the option of a direct link to the cloud. This offers a stable level of performance and isolates your communications from load issues of the public internet.
- Better location strategy. Placing services closer to the users who access them can deliver better performance, so consider deploying to different regions. It can also be helpful to locate workloads close to any services they leverage.
- Better applications. You may need to rearchitect applications to leverage cloud’s scaling capabilities. In addition, older applications may have nonideal database structures, and revisiting those can also lead to performance improvements.