A Window on the Cloud

Outsourcing compute power is wonderful — until something goes wrong. Unfortunately, when an Amazon Web Service goes down it’s hard to know why, and it’s even harder to know how well a particular cloud is performing in the first place. To make the cloud more transparent, open source cloud management software vendor Hyperic has launched www.CloudStatus.com, a web site that lets a user peek in on the various compute clouds to see how things are running.

CloudStatus measures service availability, latency and throughput for cloud-based infrastructure and application services. The initial release provides metrics for Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, Simple Storage Service, SimpleDB, Simple Queue Service and Flexible Payment Service.

Hyperic sends a software agent to make requests against various cloud services, and according to CEO Javier Soltero, it racks up quite a large bill doing do. The web site views are free, but Soltero says Hyperic also plans to launch a line of services for paying customers. It’s a decent idea, but my worry is that Amazon or another cloud provider could shut the service down, either by offering their own status service or by stopping the Hyperic agent. Given the rush to provide dashboards, application-testing products and other services on top of established computing services, I’m eager to see how startups keep their footing in the clouds.