Network monitoring company Nimsoft has extended the reach of its software to monitor cloud services.

The company has introduced probes to monitor the performance and availability of the likes of Google Apps for Business, Rackspace Cloud, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and EC2, Salesforce and other similar services.

Mark Rivington, vice president for technical services at Nimsoft said that the introduction of such a feature was vital in today's climate. "Because companies no longer operate with a single data centre, there's a need to have a unified view across the enterprise."

He said that it was important to offer different probes for the different providers as they needed to be monitored in different ways. He said that this could be in the way that the companies handle the metrics for their own performance. "For example," he said, "Salesforce has a trust website - they publish their performance - other providers don't have that." He did add however that the differences between the likes of Amazon and Rackspace were minimal. "They're not very different, they have to modified a bit but 90 percent of them is the same."

The company has also introduced a set of probes for virtualisation platforms, including Citrix, Microsoft HyperV, IBM Power-V, VMware, and Sun. The company said that these would enable users to monitor the performance applications running on virtual servers.

Rivington said that the probes were just a start; the company has extended monitoring further. "We've published a set of APIs to extend monitoring out of the box. For example, you may have a proprietary system that you wish to monitor; by using our APIs you could find a third-party to help develop that application.

The growing use of the cloud will mean that monitoring software will grow in importance said Rivington. "The nature of the cloud market will change and customers will want to choose between good and bad providers. We're near the take-off point now - and trust will be an important element of that acceptance.

In addition to the probes, Nimsoft has launched Unified Reporter which allows users to create their own performance and capacity planning reports. Information from these reports can be used to make decisions on where to redistribute workloads, to benchmark performance metrics, and to monitor SLAs.

Rivington said that one of the key features of the product was its ease of use. "You don't need a PhD to interpret the results - we've always been very strong on making the dashboard easy to understand, that's one of the things that people most like about us." He said that this ease of use stood it in good stead against the competition.

"We've been competing against the likes of HP, CA, IBM and BMC , they do things in the ‘old generation' way. By old generation, I mean that their business is based around supplying professional services. Our business is software, only about 5 percent is professional services," he said.

The products are available now although the company can't yet reveal details of UK pricing, "it's yet to be finalised," said Rivington.