researchHQ’s Key Takeaways:
- Cloud monitoring is the practice of observing enterprise cloud environments and applications to ensure a certain performance level.
- Multi-cloud monitoring helps businesses avoid service disruptions, boost performance, make better decisions, predict future issues and overhaul manual work through automation.
- Different monitoring types vary based on what is being monitored and how it is being monitored.
- To ensure the security of their cloud environments, enterprises require a scalable monitoring solution that enables instant and constant monitoring.
This is an introduction to cloud monitoring: If you work as a cloud operator or developer or you want to learn about cloud monitoring – this blog post is for you!
In this post you will learn:
- What cloud monitoring is
- How it helps you secure business success
- How monitoring and alerting connect
- About different types of monitoring
- How Prometheus and cAdvisor work
Let’s get started with the basics!
Cloud Monitoring: Definition and Challenges
Monitoring helps you understand the behavior of your cloud environments and applications.
Technically speaking, in IT, monitoring refers to observing and checking the state of hardware or software systems. Essentially to ensure the system is functioning as intended on a specific level of performance.
Monitoring in cloud environments can be a challenging task. Since there is no control over all layers of the infrastructure, monitoring becomes limited to upper layers depending on the cloud service model. Besides, cloud consumers frequently use containerized applications. Containers are intended to have short lives, even if they did last for long, we don’t rely on them e.g. for storing data. Since their nature is dynamic monitoring them is challenging. Tools such as Prometheus with cAdvisor take care of this challenge. More on that in the two bonus sections at the end of this blog post.
Five reasons how cloud monitoring helps business success
Here are five reasons how good monitoring helps you secure business success:
- Increase system availability: Don’t let users take the place of proper monitoring and alerting. When an issue occurs on a system that is not being monitored, it will most certainly be reported by the users of that system. Detect problems early to mitigate them, before a user is disrupted by them.
- Boost performance: Monitoring systems leads to a more detailed understanding. Flaws become visible and Developers can gain detailed access and fix problems for better performance.
- Make better decisions: Detailed insight into the current state of a system allows more accurate decision-making based on actual data analysis.
- Predict the future: Predicting what might happen in the future by analyzing historical data is very powerful. An example is so-called pre-emptive maintenance; performing maintenance on parts of the system that have a high probability of failing soon, given the historical data provided.
- Automate, automate, automate: Monitoring highly reduces manual work. There is no need to manually check system components when there is a monitoring system doing the checks instead.
Monitoring and Alerting
Monitoring is usually linked to alerting. While monitoring introduces automation by pulling data from running processes, alerting adds even more automation by alerting developers when a problem occurs.
For example: Alerting if a critical process stops running.
Another important reason to monitor is conforming to Service Level Agreements (SLA). Violating the SLA could lead to damage to the business and monitoring helps to keep track of the agreements set in the SLA.
The Different Types of Monitoring
To classify types of monitoring we can ask two questions:
What is being monitored?
How is it being monitored?
To the first question there are many answers:
- Uptime monitoring: As its name suggests, this is important to monitor service uptime.
- Infrastructure monitoring: In the cloud world, infrastructure varies from traditional infrastructure in that resources are software-based; i.e. virtual machines and containers. And it is important to monitor these resources since they are the base of running processes and services.
- Security monitoring: Security monitoring is concerned with SSL certificate expiry, intrusion detection, or penetration testing.
- Disaster recovery monitoring: Also, taking backups for stored data is always an important and necessary practice. Monitoring the backup process is important to ensure it was done properly at its intended timeframe.
Now to the second question: How it is being monitored?
This lets us differentiate between Whitebox and Blackbox monitoring:
Whitebox monitoring: This type refers to monitoring the internals of a system. When monitoring applications, the running process also exposes information about itself which makes it visible to the outside world. Exposed information can be in a form of metrics, logs, or traces.