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Hyperic CloudStatus peers into Amazon's cloud

Hoping to allay IT managers' fears about cloud computing, Hyperic has released the CloudStatus service, which provides data on the performance and availability of Amazon's cloud.

Following the wave of interest in cloud computing, Web infrastructure management software provider Hyperic Inc. has launched a free service that reports on the health and performance of cloud computing environments, starting with the family of Amazon Web Services, or AWS; including Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2; and Simple Storage Service, or S3.

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Increasingly users have turned to cloud computing -- made possible though distributed, large-scale cluster computing, often in concert with server virtualization software -- to meet their needs for supercomputer-level power or variable infrastructure. Recently, advocates like Amazon, Google Inc. and made the case for the benefits of the cloud. But despite growing use of cloud computing, users remain wary of potentially compromised security and reliability. Hyperic's management tool is designed to address some of that skepticism.

"About six months ago, we saw that our customers were starting to operate in the cloud, and were looking for management infrastructure," said Stacey Schneider, senior director of marketing at the San Francisco-based Hyperic. "The problem with the cloud is that you can't see the infrastructure, and that disconnect causes a lot of confusion."

Monitoring the cloud
Hyperic's CloudStatus is a hosted monitoring service that itself runs in the cloud. From there, CloudStatus provides real-time visibility into the cloud's actual performance. "We are benchmarking the performance of the cloud – inside and outside the cloud, across the cloud, from different geographies – and tallying up response averages for our customers," Schneider said.

The initial CloudStatus service is free, but over the coming months, Hyperic will also offer personalized feeds to individual Hyperic HQ customers based on their specific cloud-resident applications.

The approach has given Hyperic knowledge about the status of Amazon's EC2 that others lack. In early June, for example, Amazon's EC2 suffered from an outage, which manifested as the entire Amazon website going down. But thanks to its own Hyperic instances running on Amazon and reporting back to Hyperic, "we knew for certain that it was just the website, not the cloud itself," said Schneider.

Providing visibility into the cloud should alleviate potential customers' concerns about hosting applications there. "People like the idea of getting scalable performance from a trusted provider like Amazon or Google [App Engine]," she said, but need better visibility into it. "They say, 'I'm not going to go there if I can't see why it isn't working.' "

Over the coming summer months, Hyperic hopes to add management into other clouds such as, Google App Engine, and Mosso, which already uses Hyperic internally.

Let us know what you think about the story; email: Alex Barrett, News Director. And check out our Server Virtualization blog .

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