Cloud monitoring Made Simple: What You Need to Know

by Douglas Bernardini

Cloud monitoring works in real time alongside its on-premises and hybrid counterparts. This helps improve visibility across the entire environment, including storage, networks, and apps. Key capabilities of cloud monitoring tools include tracking the consumption and traffic of cloud-hosted resources.

Also included, and critical to cloud monitoring, are the ability to measure and visualize application and network-layer performance between hybrid cloud, private cloud, and public cloud services. These tools are important for unifying large volumes of data across distributed locations, identifying anomalies and their root causes, and predicting potential risks or production outages.

How do I benefit from cloud monitoring?

Holistic: Cloud monitoring goes beyond basic infrastructure health. It optimizes application performance all the way down to transaction and code-level metrics. Cloud monitoring provides insights into how the applications interact and perform across the network.

  • Scalable: Cloud-monitoring tools should grow with your infrastructure. The on-demand provisioning of licenses enables you to add new workstations or servers on a self-serve basis. It is not necessary to engineer for peak loads.
  • Cost-effective: Cloud monitoring is generally subscription-based, which means you pay only for the systems you want to monitor. You should be up and running within minutes with no upfront costs or infrastructural changes to your network.
  • Proactive: Gone are the days of manual checks. Automated monitoring finds patterns in cloud health and performance to predict vulnerabilities before they arise. The faster and more data-driven reporting leads to faster resolution, and by discovering the root cause of these issues, you can better plan for the future.
  • Remote: Cloud monitoring takes a 360-degree snapshot of your environment. It is independent of your own systems, whether or not it is on the corporate network. Most solutions also offer web-based dashboards you can view from any device.
  • Dynamic: A cloud-monitoring platform should be able to measure and alert IT about performance even if or when workloads move. This results in identifying any changes in location that may impact performance expectations.
  • Secure: The security and privacy of all customer data should be a solution’s number 1 priority. With that taken care of, you can focus on creating superior customer experiences.

Why is cloud monitoring important?

The proliferation of modular application architectures has resulted in a complex matrix of interservice communication across infrastructures and networks that enterprises do not own or control. Much of this communication traverses the internet, which has evolved into a mission-critical transport for enterprises. A lack of visibility into connectivity between users’ communication across a cloud environment puts enterprises at risk of delivering poor digital experiences that adversely impact revenue, brand reputation, and employee productivity.

What are cloud monitoring tools?

The cloud has many moving parts. A variety of automated tools track different areas of performance. Some tools are built right into cloud services; others are offered by third-party platforms. Either way, the best cloud-monitoring solutions include custom metrics. You should be able to monitor specific areas of the cloud stack as well as the environment as a whole.

Types of cloud monitoring

Application performance management (APM)

Use APM to monitor distributed cloud-based apps end to end in a single pane of glass. Beyond basic infrastructure health metrics, APM drills down to the business transaction and code level. That way, you can understand the business impact of your applications and more quickly diagnose problems.

Database monitoring

More than half of application-performance bottlenecks originate in the database. Using database-performance management, you can monitor the queries, availability, usage, and data integrity of the databases your cloud applications rely on. These metrics show the precise moment a database goes down so you are equipped to speed up resolution.

Virtual infrastructure monitoring

Virtual machines (VMs) are often scaled out in IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) solutions. Through integrations with platforms like OpenStack, a monitoring solution can track real-time metrics on users, traffic, and determine whether to add virtual capacity. Think of it as traditional infrastructure monitoring with the added benefit of managing cloud apps.

Cloud-server monitoring

Use this tool to correlate infrastructure performance to application performance, ideally in the context of business transactions. With contextual visibility, you can troubleshoot and diagnose the root cause of server performance issues faster in live production environments. Server monitoring is also designed to introduce little overhead.

End-user experience monitoring (EUM)

Building cloud services capable of supporting millions of requests is no small feat. EUM helps by capturing critical web and mobile app performance metrics like crashes, page-load details, and rate-of-network requests. The ideal EUM tool aggregates metrics across all transactions and automatically scales up or down to handle load changes. In addition, it should also be able to present the real-time visibility into the end user’s experience of SaaS and internally hosted applications. It should also include the dependent components that comprise the service delivery chain.

Unified monitoring

More of a strategy than a type of product, unified monitoring provides complete visibility into your entire IT infrastructure, including components running in the cloud. This one-stop, vendor-neutral toolkit distills your IT infrastructure into a common view, which ops teams can use to triage issues faster.