The Dangers of Misunderstanding IOPS: How to Effectively Monitor Them in Your Cloud

Knowing the ins and outs of your cloud environment is an instrumental part of how well it works for you and your end users. While it seems from the outside that this is the standard measurement for storage capacity among cloud users, it is much more elusive. The exact definition of IOPS does not include specific parameters of what constitutes a single operation, and this can vary from one environment to another. IOPS are considered for many to be the standard unit of measurement within a cloud environment, but what are the implications of its importance? This blog lays out reasons service providers should care about IOPS loads in their cloud environment and how too many IOPS can be devastating to performance.

One of the reasons service providers have problems comparing IOPS to others in the same industry is that there are different types of IOPS traffic. For example, one read from a static web address is much smaller than a read from a high-use email server. This size difference prohibits service providers from comparing only the number of IOPS as a valid measurement of traffic for end users.

IOPS are important in your cloud environment, regardless of the difficulty service providers have measuring and comparing their levels. Too many IOPS can weigh down your environment, causing extreme latency that is noticeable by your customers. In a severe case, the entire cloud can stop functioning all together.

You can mitigate data overload with regard to IOPS in your cloud environment by strategically monitoring traffic within your cloud. Technical staff can do this manually or your business can employ cloud automation software to assist with this process. In any case, your technical staff needs to benchmark IOPS within your cloud to see how much it can handle at absolute maximum. Once this number has been determined, you can set thresholds within your environment to alert staff members of the potential problem, often times before it causes any noticeable issues for end users.

Cloud automation software can assist your tech team by monitoring individual virtual machines and the holistic cloud environment through algorithms your staff can create or purchase from your cloud service provider. Creating these algorithms is difficult, but it can be done. Alternatively, purchasing them from a credible cloud provider can drastically speed your time to market and allow you to get a solution that comes with support. Utilizing cloud automation in your environment helps you monitor it by keeping track of individual virtual machines as well as your holistic cloud environment. This can be an incredible sap of your company’s time and resources, so employing cloud automation will simplify this process and free your technical staff to work on other mission-critical issues.

The next step after establishing a monitoring strategy is to set capacity thresholds within your environment to alert your technical team about potential issues. Once the IOPS have reached this level, your staff can take all necessary precautions to prevent a melt down within your cloud. Once again, cloud automation can help your staff identify potential issues by setting data caps on individual environments to limit the number of IOPS.

Understanding and monitoring IOPS in your cloud is one of the most important things you can do to optimize it. While IOPS have the capability to destroy your cloud environment if left unchecked, they are a necessary component that needs to be considered. Knowing how to effectively limit and manage them is a key to operating your environment at its highest capacity and as efficiently as possible.