Why Is Cloud Monitoring Important?
Over time, most businesses have seen a major shift in their paradigm. Prior to the Big Data era, hosting and monitoring data in-house was common. Companies had to invest huge amounts of money in the development and maintenance of robust infrastructures to store their data.
Because of scalability, cost, and capacity of on-premises data centers, most companies are shifting to cloud-based data centers. While the cloud is more flexible, accessible, and cost-effective, it requires continuous monitoring to ensure maximal performance of all cloud-based applications, servers, and websites.
For instance, to speed up application deployment, many companies are shifting to containerized applications. To get the most out of such applications, you need to monitor their operation, functionality, resource consumption, etc. These insights allow businesses to grow and make informed decisions. Cloud monitoring provides key metrics such as average response time, error rates, request rate, and downtime to measure the performance of cloud-hosted platforms.
Cloud monitoring also enables effective troubleshooting, so businesses can run smoothly. It’s easier to scale applications when information about usage, capacity, and other key metrics is available.
Cloud monitoring is essential to ensure a smooth workflow within IT paradigms, and the following section will address what cloud monitoring entails, its capabilities, and key features.
What Is Cloud Monitoring?
The IT-end of your organization, which includes data centers, servers, storage systems, and network hardware, is hosted and managed within a virtual cloud-based infrastructure (provided by third-party service providers). This virtual environment provides all the necessary resources for hosting your company’s software applications, web applications, or websites.
Cloud monitoring is the practice of observing, reviewing, evaluating, and monitoring your entire virtual cloud-based infrastructure. Effective and continuous monitoring provides insights into the performance, resource usage, response time, and speed of your cloud-based applications. This information is useful for predicting and preparing your company for problems like server issues, application downtime, cyberthreats, and so on.
Cloud monitoring also involves integrating various tools and services, such as cloud monitoring applications, across different cloud service providers. This enables a strong and safe flow of data across distributed locations.
The virtual IT infrastructure is a world of its own. It is vast, has several components, and can host endless software applications. Because of this array of features, it’s best to categorize cloud monitoring into different types. The next section dives into some of the categories and what they entail.
Types of Cloud Monitoring
To ensure a harmonious workflow of every moving part, cloud monitoring entails different monitoring paradigms for different parts.
Websites are a crucial part of any business. For instance, a commercial website or an e-commerce website cannot afford to have a slow response time. Similarly, platforms such as Facebook and Instagram must always be able to handle and maintain high amounts of user traffic. Website monitoring helps ensure optimum flow of traffic and uptime by tracking and maintaining the health of the website, which entails measuring resource utilization, traffic, users, uptime, network connectivity, and response time.
Virtual Machine Monitoring
Virtual machines (VMs) are systems for hosting virtual computers (with software and virtual infrastructure) within your physical computer system. VM monitoring entails monitoring the creation and proper functioning of the VMs, as well as performance assessment, namely, checking whether the VMs are up and running, evaluating the processes running inside, and ensuring resource availability and security.
Cloud Storage Monitoring
Your organization’s cloud can contain multiple databases, websites, applications, and VMs, all of which require storage systems. Cloud storage monitoring records and manages storage provisioning to all the cloud-based services in your organization. It also tracks key metrics to monitor performance, resource availability, databases, and users.
Distributed Systems Monitoring
The cloud supports the integration of services spread over different networks. This means the cloud is decentralized and contains services and applications designed to communicate across distributed networks. While the many services can be physically separated from each other, they are connected and communicate via the internet. It’s crucial to monitor a distributed system because, should a component of the network fail to function, the other components must still run smoothly.
Distributed systems monitoring entails collecting performance metrics from different points within the system. To ensure the network runs flawlessly, this type of monitoring accesses each component (or service) within the network to pinpoint the source of the problem.
As mentioned earlier, many organizations are adopting containerized services and applications. Each container can have multiple images running numerous instances, but these dynamic components need to be monitored frequently. On failing to do so, a few minor problems can make their way out of the container and spread to the rest of the network. Because it’s easy to rapidly create and destroy containers, they may cause problems in highly complex pipelines. It’s essential to monitor containers at each segment of the pipeline.
Let’s assume you’re running an e-commerce business that delivers digital products and services to its customers. To attract customers, increase engagement, and successfully deliver your service, you must make sure your system can quickly identify problems and solve them.
Cloud monitoring can do this by protecting your company and customer data from external threats. It also assesses and tracks the performance of your applications, hosts, containers, website, and database. In doing so, cloud monitoring provides key performance metrics to help ensure your website is optimal and enable your business to grow.
Cloud monitoring can help you identify errors or critical issues that can slow down or break down your website. If you don’t fix such problems, you won’t be able to retain your customers or acquire new ones.
As an online business, you need to monitor your cloud platform. To keep track of your infrastructure and all your applications, you must have a single platform that delivers insightful real-time metrics, manages errors, and alerts you when something is wrong.
To get the most out of your cloud monitoring service, you can follow these best practices:
- Focus on key metrics for your business. While there are many different aspects to be monitored, it’s essential for your organization to curate a list of key metrics they consider important for performance analysis. This way you can save up on additional service costs because not all metrics are crucial to you.
- Unify your monitoring in one platform. To get a coherent overview of your systems, information gathered from all applications must be merged and delivered onto a single platform. This is necessary for distributed systems because a lot of applications across different networks can complicate the process of monitoring. Having a single platform to display all information is crucial.
- Automate, automate, automate. The process of cloud monitoring involves continuous, repetitive tasks, such as deriving key information from all applications and making sense of these insights. Such processes are easy to automate and must be done. They make everyone’s lives easier.
- Drive the business with data. Using the right cloud monitoring software is key to effectively optimizing your business. The software should be customized to monitor your business.
The importance of cloud monitoring is growing by the day. An organization must be capable of safeguarding its cloud data and providing agility by quickly solving problems. Cloud monitoring plays a key role in effectively delivering services to end users and growing businesses. I hope this blog has given you insight into the process of cloud monitoring and how an organization can make the best use of its services.
This post was written by Zulaikha Greer. Zulaikha is a tech enthusiast with expertise in various domains such as data science, machine learning (ML), and statistics. She enjoys researching cognitive science, marketing, and design. She’s a cat lover by nature who loves to read—you can often find her with a book, enjoying Beethoven’s, Mozart’s, or Vivaldi’s legendary pieces.