Cloud monitoring describes a reviewing, monitoring, and managing series that controls a cloud workflow. Cloud monitoring can use manual and/or automated monitoring services or tools to verify a cloud is operational.
This security- and management-based process has become crucial for businesses that rely on cloud technology. It can be implemented as automated software that gives cloud administrators complete insight into the health and performance of the cloud.
Cloud monitoring can perform the following capabilities:
- Monitoring cloud data across distributed locations
- Eliminating potential breaches by providing visibility into files, applications, and users
- Continually monitoring the cloud to ensure real-time file scans
- Regular auditing and reporting to ensure security standards
- Merging monitoring tools with different cloud providers
Cloud services you should monitor
While many organizations choose cloud monitoring to support and manage public clouds like AWS or Azure, there are different cloud services that can also benefit from monitoring. And while the following services can be monitored through application monitoring tools and services, cloud monitoring provides deeper insights and protection.
Below is a list of cloud services to include in a cloud monitoring checklist:
- SaaS solutions like Microsoft Office and Salesforce.
- PaaS solutions like Microsoft SQL.
- IaaS servers hosted by public cloud providers.
- FaaS serverless apps.
- App hosting for services like Heroku.
How does cloud monitoring work?
To understand how cloud monitoring works, we must first examine the tools it uses. The first and most commonly used tools are in-house, delivered by the cloud provider. Many companies choose this option since it’s already packaged up with the cloud service, so no installation is required and integration can be done easily.
The other option is using independent tools delivered by a SaaS provider. This is also a viable option since SaaS providers are experts in managing the performance and cost consumption of a cloud architecture, but this can occasionally present integration issues and higher costs.
Regardless of the choice of cloud monitoring tools, both types perform the same function: they scan for problems in the cloud that might impede the business from delivering a service or product to the customer. To achieve that, the tools offer data on the following behaviors:
- Cybersecurity: As the number of cyber attacks rise, it’s important for cloud monitoring services to detect possible breaches, identify security gaps, and secure the network well before an attack happens.
- Errors: Whether human- or machine-made, a cloud monitoring service should detect errors and fix them to maintain performance standards. As a result, these errors don’t become visible to the end user, and businesses can enjoy improved sales and customer retention.
- Agility: Instantaneous troubleshooting and speedy product delivery are expected in today’s fast-paced market. To optimize a business’s website and applications, cloud monitoring delivers valuable metrics and data regarding cloud speed.
How cloud monitoring works with different cloud types?
While a cloud monitoring services is important for all varieties of cloud architectures, the way it performs its duty differs from one to the other.
By far, private clouds are the simplest architectures to monitor. Thanks to the control and visibility of an on-premises infrastructure, businesses maintain access to the systems and software. However, while there is better control with this model, cloud monitoring serves an important function by monitoring workload and network performance, providing cloud architects the information they need to configure or change cloud processes.
Public clouds offer far less visibility, so cloud monitoring is a non-negotiable necessity. And while the monitoring process may not be as effortless, cloud monitoring can still provide critical data on cloud resource consumption, the end-user experience, and providing better visibility and control over key metrics, logs, and flows. This is especially important because public clouds are more likely to produce surprise fees as a result of poor visibility.
Finally, there are unique struggles a hybrid cloud architecture provides that a cloud monitoring tool can reduce. Because cloud data doesn’t reside in a single architecture, security and compliance issues can arise when users try to access data from either the public or private cloud. In this case, cloud monitoring can help administrators determine which data to store in which cloud, which data to asynchronously update, and portion data into smaller, manageable pieces.
Benefits of cloud monitoring
There are innumerable benefits cloud monitoring provides. Even businesses that solely rely on a private cloud architecture can enjoy key cloud monitoring deliverables, including:
- Improving the security of cloud applications and networks
- Simplifying the implementation of continuity plans, enabling proactive (rather than reactive) risk remediation
- Achieving and maintaining ideal application performance
- Optimizing service availability thanks to rapid issue reporting and rapid resolutions
- Reduction of surprise cloud cost leaks thanks to complete architecture visibility
- Simple scaling in the event cloud activity increases
- Usability on multiple devices, ensuring cloud awareness at all times
Cloud monitoring best practices
As you implement a cloud monitoring service, keep the following best practices in mind to ensure you experience the full benefits.
- Decide which activity(ies) need to be monitored. Choose the metrics that matter the most to your bottom line.
- Consolidate report data onto a single platform to eliminate confusion and complexity that arises from juggling multiple cloud services and infrastructures. Your solution should report data from various sources and present them in one platform, enabling you to calculate metrics comprehensively.
- Keep track of subscription and service fees. The more you use your cloud monitoring service, the more pricey it will be to use. Choosing a more advanced service can track how much activity is occurring on the cloud and determine costs from there.
- Be aware of which users are using which cloud applications to track accountability. You’ll also need to know what these users see when they’re using certain applications, and you’ll want to monitor response time, frequency of use, and other metrics overall.
- Automate rules with the appropriate data to account for activities that go over or below your thresholds, ensuring you’re able to add or remove servers to maintain consistent performance.
- Separate your monitoring data from your applications and services, and centralize this information to ensure your stakeholders have easy access.
- Always test your cloud monitoring tools at a regular cadence. While a service may seem operational, an outage or breach will truly put it to the test, so test your tools to ensure there are no surprises.