What is cloud monitoring?
Many organizations have embraced multicloud environments. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure infrastructure is available, high-performing, and secure. That's where cloud monitoring comes in.
The move to multicloud environments has continued en masse for today’s organizations. In fact, according to a Dynatrace global survey of 1,300 CIOs, 99% of enterprises utilize a multicloud environment and seven cloud monitoring solutions on average. With more organizations taking the multicloud plunge, monitoring cloud infrastructure is critical to ensure all components of the cloud computing stack are available, high-performing, and secure.
As cloud and big data complexity scales beyond the ability of traditional monitoring tools to handle, next-generation cloud monitoring and observability are becoming necessities for IT teams.
What is cloud monitoring?
Cloud monitoring is a set of solutions and practices used to observe, measure, analyze, and manage the health of cloud-based IT infrastructure. Continuous cloud monitoring with automation provides clear visibility into the performance and availability of websites, files, applications, servers, and network resources. With this visibility, an organization can identify and remediate problems in real time before they negatively affect a customer’s digital experience. So, how does cloud monitoring work?
Cloud monitoring tools unify data from applications and dependent resources across distributed channels to achieve the following:
- better detect anomalies;
- perform root-cause analysis; and
- predict and prevent security breaches and outages.
These next-generation cloud monitoring tools present reports — including metrics, performance, and incident detection — visually via dashboards.
Cloud monitoring types and how they work
Organizations can set up cloud monitoring as an agent or agentless service. With agent monitoring, third-party software collects data and reports from the component that’s attached to the agent. Agentless monitoring, on the other hand, communicates directly with application programming interfaces (APIs).
Regardless of how an IT team or network-as-a-service, infrastructure-as-a-service, or platform-as-a-service provider sets up cloud monitoring, there are several types of monitoring available:
- Application performance monitoring (APM). APM provides real-time visibility into the status and performance of applications.
- Database monitoring. This ensures the database queries are performant, while also identifying host problems. For example, uptime detection can identify database instability and help to improve mean time to restoration.
- Website monitoring. Website monitoring examines a cloud-hosted website’s processes, traffic, availability, and resource use.
- Cloud-server monitoring. This type of monitoring tracks metrics and insights on server CPU, memory, and network health, as well as hosts, containers, and serverless functions.
- Cloud storage monitoring. Teams can keep track of storage resources and processes that are provisioned to virtual machines, services, databases, and applications.
- Virtual machine (VM) monitoring. VM monitoring ensures that resource usage and VM performance support applications.
- End-user experience monitoring. This tracks and measures customer satisfaction with a company’s products and services.
- Unified monitoring. An integrated platform monitors physical, virtual, and cloud infrastructure.
Tackling hybrid and multicloud environments
While hybrid and multicloud environments are often lumped together, they are not the same. Hybrid cloud combines an on-premises or private data center with public cloud infrastructure. Multicloud architectures, on the other hand, blend services from two or more private or public clouds — or from a combination of public, private, and edge clouds.
According to the Dynatrace “2022 Global CIO Report,” 79% of large organizations use multicloud infrastructure with no on-premises computing, while 20% use a hybrid cloud to develop and deploy applications and services. Regardless of the cloud environment, advanced cloud monitoring requires visibility into every layer of the cloud computing stack for adequate security to prevent weak points and critical service failure.
The benefits of cloud monitoring for organizations of any size
Cloud monitoring features myriad benefits that help organizations ensure their IT stack reaches its potential. For starters, IT infrastructure monitoring improves the security of cloud applications and networks. Additionally, it optimizes applications’ availability and performance with fast mean time to detect and mean time to repair. It also provides a baseline assessment, or snapshot, of a known-good IT infrastructure configuration as a reference point for future cloud resource utilization and performance.
Another benefit of cloud monitoring is it enables proactive IT service continuity plans that not only improve an organization’s ability to respond to outages, but also boost their capacity to detect, predict, and prevent incidents from occurring.
Best practices to consider
An effective IT infrastructure monitoring strategy includes the following best practices:
- Determine the best cloud tooling and services for your specific cloud environment.
- Define goals with a clear path to success.
- Identify key performance metrics specific to an organization.
Other best practices include the following:
- Provide a complete picture of the health of the entire cloud infrastructure.
- Measure cloud resource consumption to ensure resources are scalable and keep up with business requirements.
- Establish a baseline to track metrics and patterns over time.
- Predict demand for resources and scale as needed.
- Monitor the flow of user sessions for response times.
- Track users to identify suspicious activity.
- Normalize data from a data center and cloud into a single integrated view.
- Implement automated alerts to identify and remediate issues in real time.
- Identify when service-level objectives have not been met.
Intelligent, full-stack observability for cloud monitoring success
Today’s dynamic, distributed multicloud environments require a new approach to monitoring. Continuous automation, AIOps, and end-to-end observability are necessary to measure and visualize application and network-layer performance between public, private, and hybrid cloud services.