Private cloud computing is set to significantly transform enterprise IT, and promises to deliver cost savings, greater agility and improved scalability. However, there is a dark side to private clouds – they significantly distort the visibility into the flow of services in the cloud. Whether they offer database as a cloud service, use a “cloud database”, or utilize hybrid models, database teams are about to lose critical information to match end users and business services with information stored in the database. They will lose critical information they need to do capacity planning based on business needs. And they will be relegated to a utility-based computing and data management service that does not add value to the business.

Let’s consider a scenario in the cloud – a DBA thinks everything is running smoothly and at peak performance, only to get The Call. A particular business transaction won’t go through or there has been an application outage. One reason this happens is that DBAs have only limited visibility, such as the performance of SQL queries, stored procedures and other database metrics that are not directly tied to business activity and business transaction flow. With these limited views, it is impossible to know which activity in their database is directly linked to a specific business activity type (such as a payment vs. a search vs. a back office update in banking, for instance) or a business transaction instance itself, such as a particular person’s statement request.

Many times performance of business transactions suffers and when technical teams look for the root cause, they find it hard to isolate problems. In order to improve one’s business, it’s essential for DBA’s to also have context of business activity and business transactions from the database perspective. The visibility into business services in the cloud is called Business Transaction Management (BTM).

Take, for example, problem resolution. Without a business transactional perspective, database sessions are all identical and anonymous.  They all come from the same shared app servers in the cloud, with the same user IDs (the app server user ID), same IP address (the app server’s IP), and so on.  When a DBA spots a problematic database session (e.g., a long-running query, or a query consuming lots of resources), he/she has no way of knowing the business context of the query and therefore can’t predict the business impact of killing or de-prioritizing the session.  The results can sometimes be disastrous to the business.  With BTM, the DBA can trace the problematic session back to a specific business transaction associated with a specific business user, and make an informed decision on how to handle the issue.

The founder of FedEx was famously quoted as saying, “The information about the package is just as important as the package itself.” The visibility into the information about packages in transit was essential in incorporating package delivery into critical business processes. Private cloud computing is about to hide from view the crucial information about the flow of business transactions that is critical for managing data from a business perspective. We need to achieve this visibility in order to ensure that cloud computing delivers on the goals to the business.

Source: EbizQ

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