Aggregating all the clouds

Xervmon tracks and projects multiple cloud providers

One of the biggest problems with cloud computing for small businesses is having little to no clue how much working with a cloud-based infrastructure is really going to cost. A new Linux-based service in its nascent stage will be working to solve that problem, helping IT managers with monitoring existing cloud computing costs, and projecting costs for new cloud providers to find out which one is best for your wallet.

You might be thinking, how hard could it be to track my cloud computing costs? You've signed up with Amazon EC2, spun up your instances in the closest region, and you have a fixed monthly cost, right?

Turns out? Not so much.

The problem with managing clouds is twofold. First, even if you're using a single cloud provider service, there's the very real issue of spiking. An application's load on a cloud can be steady, until there's an unexpected use case that suddenly sticks you with a bigger monthly bill for which you had originally budgeted. And it might not even be a useful cost... Improperly managed instances can keep right on spinning, racking up the monthly charges like leaving the lights on in a room 24/7.

And, as cloud computing becomes more pervasive, a company's cloud environment can become more heterogeneous, as some cloud services will serve some applications and tasks better than others, which leads to a diverse set of cloud providers to manage for one IT department.

This is the pain point that Xervmon is working to solve. The service was formed after the staff at Hooduku spent years integrating systems for clients and working with apps that ran in datacenters. As time went on, their client base increasingly had the interest to shift to the cloud, but didn't know how to cost such a migration out. It's not just the cost of the cloud instances; bandwidth information for data moving to and from the cloud also has to be factored in.

This, according to Sudhendra Seshachala, is what Xervmon figures out.

"What is the cost benefit for moving to the cloud? Xervmon figures out the impact analysis before they move," Seshachala explained.

What makes Xervmon interesting, besides its development on Linux, is the way it monitors multiple cloud providers - Amazon, HP Cloud, Rackspace, and Windows Azure can all be tracked, as well as network providers like Comcast and Time Warner. It can even monitor datacenter provider services like those from Softlayer.

Since all of this information on usage and cost is aggregated into one place, current cloud and datacenter users can manage their costs and perform detailed analysis on what's coming down the road. It's a unified analysis packages that is much needed in an increasingly heterogeneous cloud provider environment, and ultimately should help users have more choice in picking and choosing the cloud provider that works best for them.

Read more of Brian Proffitt's Open for Discussion blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Drop Brian a line or follow Brian on Twitter at @TheTechScribe. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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