"If an engineer is deploying a new feature, I want them to be looking at performance and make sure that it is not adversely affecting performance elsewhere," Parnell says. "We continue to tune and refine everything within the system to be sure it as fast as possible. If a big sports story breaks, we can have a big spike in traffic. Everything needs to scale, and we need to be able to handle that."
Know what you're getting -- and what to monitor
To get the performance your company really needs, you have to lay out your specific requirements to your cloud vendors, says analyst James Staten of Forrester Research.
"One of the first things that is important is transparency, which is 'What exactly is the performance that they are delivering to you?' " he says. That includes asking about what levels of monitoring they allow you to do directly and what logs will they send to you so you can see what's happening.
"If they aren't providing it, ask them for it," he says.
A huge part of your relationship with your cloud vendor is managing your expectations, Staten says. Any performance monitoring that you want to do is your responsibility, not your vendor's, he notes.
If you're not up for doing this kind of monitoring yourself, there are plenty of companies that you can hire to do it for you, Staten says, including HyperStratus, Keynote Systems, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Accenture and others.
"A lot of people think their SLAs cover them for performance monitoring, and they don't," he says. "SLAs cover availability, but that's it."
At the same time, not all applications and services that your company runs on cloud networks will be mission-critical, he added, so you might not have to monitor the performance of everything on the cloud. "You have to figure out what those [critical] applications are," Staten says.
End-to-end cloud management still a ways off
One final thing to consider, IDC's Turner says, is that the cloud performance-monitoring marketplace is still very immature.
There are many vendors "that will talk to you about that from a road map point of view, but there's very little there yet" in complete packages. "This year is still going to be strongly around automating the provisioning pieces" that will allow true end-to-end cloud monitoring, she says. "I think we'll see more sophistication as the year goes by."
As more companies begin transitioning to production environments in the cloud, the need for monitoring will become even more acute, she says. "I think this is going to be a priority investment area for many organizations this year," Turner predicts. "It will probably take another year or two out to get there due to the sophistication that's needed."
Of course, there's a catch-22 to all of the monitoring needs, Staten says. By the time you pay for monitoring to help ensure that you're getting the performance you've contracted for, it's also possible that you can erode the cost savings that got your company into the cloud in the first place, he says.
"If you are spending a lot of money to deal with latency issues," Staten says, "then should you even be in the cloud?"
Todd R. Weiss is a former freelance writer and a newly minted senior writer at CIO.com, a sister site to Computerworld. Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.