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Cloud Monitoring

What is Cloud Monitoring?

Cloud monitoring is a security and monitoring-focused process in cloud computing that reviews, observes, and manages controls in a cloud-based workflow. Manual or automated tools and techniques are used in cloud monitoring to verify elements within the cloud type –private, public, multitenant, or hybrid—are operational.
Cloud monitoring tools also continuously evaluate server response times and resource levels and offer cybersecurity components.

Why Do You Need Cloud Monitoring?

Cloud monitoring tools are necessary in maintaining a proactive, clear view of your entire cloud-based IT infrastructure so you can see what’s performing well and what isn’t. It also enables organizations to analyze individual assets, spot potential security risks, understand and optimize costs, meet compliance requirements, and gain insights into performance and availability.

How Does Cloud Monitoring Work?

The way cloud monitoring works in a technical sense depends on the tool, and whether it’s provided by the cloud provider or delivered by an independent software as a service (SaaS) provider.

  • Tools from a cloud provider: Cloud monitoring is included as a part of the services offered by most, if not all, cloud providers. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides cloud monitoring within their product. They also offer integration capabilities for compatible third-party monitoring tools, if needed.
  • Tools from a SaaS provider: Depending on the circumstances, cloud monitoring tools may be either integrated by the SaaS provider or purchased, set-up, and managed internally.

In general, however, cloud monitoring tools work by routinely scanning infrastructure, looking for security risks and other issues that could inhibit businesses from delivering services to customers or general users.

The top four ways in which cloud monitoring works are by:

Data Sources

As time progresses, cybercrime is only expected to rise.

Cloud monitoring allows IT teams to continuously monitor cloud environments for emerging vulnerabilities and detect breaches. If a soft spot or breach is discovered, IT teams can act fast to isolate the issue and resolve the problem before, if any, detrimental damage ensues. Additionally, cloud monitoring security measures can protect data and prevent data loss by scanning and evaluating data and files before being downloaded to prevent malware attacks.

Elevating Performance

Efficient monitoring allows IT teams to maximize systems performance for user and customer experiences. With enhanced visibility into server response times, resource usage, speed, application functionality, and overall infrastructure performance, leaders can detect errors faster and optimize accordingly. As a result of making these necessary adjustments to improve functionality and user experience, organizations tend to see a boost in customer retention alongside sales and end-user growth

Cost Optimization

Cloud monitoring can help organizations gain visibility into the usage of their cloud resources, track cost trends, and identify underutilized resources. By setting up alerts and monitoring resource usage, IT leaders can take proactive steps to scale down or terminate resources that are not needed, thereby reducing costs. Cloud monitoring tools can also help optimize reserved instances and identify opportunities for cost savings through automation and intelligent resource allocation. By leveraging the insights provided by these tools and services, businesses can make informed decisions about their cloud resources and align them with their budget, ultimately achieving cost savings and maximizing the ROI of cloud investments.

Improving Agility

Instantaneous insight into the health of the entire network allows IT teams to become more agile, pinpoint problems, and troubleshoot in real-time. With cloud monitoring, IT decision-makers are empowered to make insight-driven decisions and problem-solve more quickly to lessen friction, resolve poor performance, and decrease potential downtime.

How to Choose the Best Cloud Monitoring Service

There are many SaaS tools and providers out there that offer cloud monitoring, which can make it complicated to decide which is the right solution. Certain cloud monitoring services may only offer minimum aspects or fit a specific use case while others provide a robust range of monitoring capabilities along with a detailed dashboard tracking company-aligned metrics and KPIs.

While researching the best services or tools, be on the lookout for the following capabilities:

Full Visibility

Offering comprehensive visibility across cloud infrastructure is the most critical function of a tool. Otherwise, you’ll be unable to have a holistic perspective on how your cloud is performing, which is the main challenge cloud monitoring should solve.

Metrics Dashboards

As with comprehensive visibility, it’s equally as important to have access to a unique real-time reporting dashboard. The right tool should be able to track defined infrastructure, cost, and security metrics. By having this data presented in a user-friendly, easy-to-analyze format, IT teams can spot optimization opportunities and issues quickly.

Cloud-Native Integrations

When choosing a cloud monitoring service, it’s important to ensure the solution supports native cloud integrations. Additionally, it’s helpful if the service provider can define an integration strategy that includes considerations like microservices, containers, continuous integration, etc.

Examples of Cloud Monitoring Tools

While there are numerous cloud monitoring tools, such as Datadog, on the market, here are two popular native versions by AWS and Azure.

Cloud Monitoring in AWS

CloudWatch is a native cloud monitoring tool offered by AWS. CloudWatch collects and tracks data to give you better insights into resources and applications so users can optimize resources and services as needed.

Cloud Monitoring in Azure

Microsoft Azure offers Azure Monitor as a cloud monitoring service. This tool collects and analyzes data from on-premises resources, Azure VMs, and Azure services and provides insights into the health and performance of users’ applications and infrastructure.

Benefits of Cloud Monitoring

Cloud monitoring provides countless benefits for public, private, and hybrid clouds alike. In addition to providing a holistic snapshot of usage and general health of the infrastructure, cloud monitoring tools:

  • Can easily scale as organizations grow
  • Improves data security and intrusion monitoring for applications and networks
  • Proactively works to discover and resolve issues that could contribute to poor functionality and decreased performance for customers
  • Are disaster-proof which decreases the risk of service interruptions, downtime, and errors
  • Help achieve and maintain cloud-native application performance goals
  • Can reduce cloud cost leaks and unnecessary expenditures
  • Manages and monitors assets
  • Provide accurate reports

Typically, cloud monitoring tools are also preconfigured to run updates automatically on a set schedule so IT teams don’t have to worry about performing updates manually.

5 Types of Cloud Monitoring

Just like there are numerous types of cloud-based applications and types of environments, there are also different types of cloud monitoring functions depending on the use case.

Database Monitoring

Database monitoring is one of the most crucial functions of a cloud monitoring service. This function primarily consists of tracking, scanning, and reviewing queries, processes, cloud-based resource consumption, availability, and data integrity.

Website Monitoring

From a bird’s eye view, cloud monitoring for websites zeroes in on resources, availability, and user experience. On a more granular level, website monitoring tracks valuable data like resource usage, traffic, time spent on page, and processes.

Cloud Storage Monitoring

Cloud storage monitoring is an essential need for hosted infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and SaaS solutions. In addition to keeping track of available storage, it monitors processes, actions of users, and processes, among others.

Virtual Machine Monitoring

Typically used within an IaaS model, virtual machine (VM) monitoring documents and analyses users and traffic, as well as the infrastructure of the VM. This type of cloud monitoring primarily assists in ensuring remote IT infrastructure, i.e., for virtual desktops, is running properly.

Virtual Network Monitoring

Lastly, virtual network monitoring charts critical network components, like routers, firewalls, load balancers, and resources. This function has the capability to create and analyze virtual versions of the elements within each individual virtual network in real time.

How TierPoint’s Cloud Managed Services Can Help Monitor Your Cloud Applications

One of the benefits of using a cloud managed serviced provider (MSP) like TierPoint is the effective monitoring of cloud-based applications. At TierPoint, our experts leverage advanced cloud monitoring techniques and tools to:

  • Detect current issues
  • Identify potential issues down the road
  • Improve performance
  • Gain insights cost optimization opportunities
  • Increase scalability
  • And more

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