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Everybody loves the cloud…provided it’s up and running!

The cloud is not just a trendy tech term. It’s a source of revenue growth. It’s a driver to change in business models for carriers. It’s an opportunity for a myriad of new applications. It’s also a new source of headaches for carriers, because customers of cloud-based services are very demanding when it comes to quality of service (QoS).

Whose problem is the cloud anyway?

While cloud providers manage the cloud’s data centers and servers, and carriers manage the interconnections between the user and the cloud data centers, the applications running on a particular cloud may be owned and managed by the cloud consumer or the cloud provider.

This means that the high QoS demanded by consumers is not controlled by just one company; both the cloud provider and the carrier are held to high standards. In a typical chain of events, cloud carriers offer service-level-agreement (SLA) guarantees to cloud providers, who in turn offer SLAs to cloud consumers. One depends on the other.

The key to ensuring high QoS? Test, Test, Test.

Many key performance indicators (KPIs) are relevant to the cloud, including processor utilization, storage, switch utilization and other resources that cloud providers can control, not to mention consumer-based QoS KPIs such as web download times, service availability, and data delivery times, which are influenced by many factors that could be outside of the cloud provider’s control.

Be there or be square: availability comes first

Regardless of how good the cloud application is, it is of little use if unavailable to users. With the need for 100% availability comes the challenges of distributed architecture. Solutions to this technical problem generally require high-quality, high-performance connections between the cloud data centers.

Ultimately, the cloud consumer owns the application and therefore cares about users’ QoS. Together, the cloud provider and carrier determine how well those expectations are met. If the network is slow, data centers are offline or the servers are overloaded, access to the application will be hampered and users will be affected.

Go further: read all about it!

Read our “Testing the Cloud” white paper to learn all about the potential and service-assurance challenges associated with this high-growth opportunity.