What Is Cloud Monitoring and How Does It Work?

Cloud monitoring helps organizations know if applications are accessible and running in the most cost-effective, compliant way.

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What is Cloud Monitoring and How Does it Work?

Cloud computing is one of the IT industry’s highest revenue segments, generating more than US$400 billionevery year.

The growth of cloud computing shows no signs of slowing down; in 2021, 53% of medium-sized companies used the cloud for data processing, up from 46% the year prior.

Despite the benefits that come with working in the cloud, enterprises face difficulties managing the cost and performance of this approach. They also experience challengesmanaging the multicloud environment.

In addition to the many cloud industry experts helping organizations improve and optimize their cloud environments, enterprises have a variety of tools to ensuretheir cloud is efficient. One of the most important is cloud monitoring.

How Does Cloud Monitoring Work?

Enterprises can monitor their clouds totrack and verify the organization’s assets are working as designed. For example, imagine an enterprise application running on the cloud. Ensuring all users can access it without excessive latency or other issues would be impossible to do manually, requiring continuous testing and oversight. In this instance, you can use cloud monitoring and automate the process to check uptime, speed, and access.

Cloud monitoring encompasses a large (and growing) suite of tools offered by cloud vendors. They are designed to help manage cost, performance, and availability, along with privacy and security to reduce cyberattack risks. Additionally, enterprises can choose from a large pool of SaaS cloud management and monitoring offerings.

Why Is Cloud Monitoring Important?

Cost and efficiency are at the heart of cloud computing initiatives. Whether internal or external facing, public, private, or multicloud, cloud applications now impact nearly every aspect of business. With such a high reliance on the cloud, it is not hard to imagine the implications of an application going down. Issues related to external-facing apps can result in lost sales and disgruntled customers. With internal applications, sudden downtime can put the brakes on an entire department’s productivity.

Even when things are working swimmingly, high or unexpected usage can disrupt anticipated cloud spend. Cloud computing carries the unfortunate reputation for less-than-transparent pricing. The right monitoring tools can tip the balance back in favor of the user.

And with security and cyber threats on every IT department’s top priorities list, cloud monitoring can provide much-needed, real-time insight.

The bottom line: cloud monitoring tools play a key role in ensuring uptime, security, and cost transparency.

Types of Cloud Monitoring

Just as there are different types of cloud solutions, there are various cloud monitoring options.

Some organizations may use the cloud to store emails, some rely on it to run internet of things (IoT) apps, and others have it to support AI platforms. Each of these scenarios requires unique and specialized monitoring tools.Cloud monitoring is therefore classified based on the difference between the types of tools.

Database Monitoring

Many applications such as customer relationship management (CRM) and service desk solutions use databases to function. Their health is important to ensure availability, service delivery, and performance. Slow or corrupt databases can affect productivity for enterprise users. And it can negatively affect the customer experience. When applications slow down or become inaccessible, the database is often the first place to look for issues.

Database monitoring systems track usage, analyze performance, and query details, user sessions, security and more. These systems help detect issues early and automatically fix them.

Website Monitoring

Websites are the foundation for most businesses and the economy. They form the public face of nearly every company, and for many are the primary (or only) source of revenue.

Organizations spend immense resources to ensure their sites are up and functioning, optimized and secure. In this instance, cloud monitoring tools are crucial to check load times, functionality, and connection speeds, and guard against cyberattacks.

Virtual Network Monitoring

Virtual networks are important to deliver functions such as directory services, create firewalls, and allow employees to access an organization’s data securely from anywhere in the world. Just like a traditional data center network, the virtual network gives users control over their cloud networking environment. This includes assigning private IP address spaces, creating subnets and route tables, and configuring firewalls … all of which makes the cloud infrastructure—and the data it holds—more secure.

If the virtual networks are down, under attack, or simply have too much latency, it can affect organizational productivity and result in lost money and/or data.

Cloud tools perform important functions by monitoring parameters such as packets dropped, packets forwarded, network latency, and more, as well as monitoring and defending against external threats and bad actors.

Cloud Storage Monitoring

Data storage is one of the most popular uses for the cloud. If it is not consistently and effectively tracked, it can result in storage and optimization issues. Many vendors provide a dashboard that can display metrics, giving important insight into the business and ways to improve certain factors.

Virtual Machine Monitoring

Virtual machines can offer a more efficient allocation of computing resources at a lower cost. They are often available as infrastructure-as-a-service, and benefit greatly from cloud monitoring tools to promote peak performance.

Tools can help monitor parameters like the number of users, traffic, CPU usage by individual machines, and more. Efficient monitoring helps maintain maximum uptime and detect issues early. As a bonus, many solutions collect data from the hardware that is supporting the virtual machines since hardware health knowledge is crucial to improving uptime.

Best Practices for Cloud Monitoring

Cloud monitoring can be complicated since organizations use a multitude of cloud services in a combination of private and public clouds. Here are some best practices developed over years to help you maximize your cloud monitoring efforts.

Identify Your Business Goals

Cloud monitoring tools differ significantly and measure different metrics and data points. It can be confusing to figure out which to use and which are most irrelevant. Rather than focus on what gets measured, start from the other end—figure out what your business goals are. Enterprises often make the mistake of picking the metrics that “look good,” like the number of virtual machines, which may not be aligned with the organization’s business goals. If uptime is most important to you, focus on tools that best support metrics like total downtime and time to restore.

Once you define what you hope to achieve with cloud monitoring, you can choose the tools that track the metrics associated with the goals.

Develop a Hybrid or Multicloud

Both public and private clouds have their own drawbacks. Public clouds are less secure and prone to vendor lock-in. Private clouds tend to be more expensive and less reliable. A hybrid or multicloud environment provides the best of both worlds. With multicloud you can use a private cloud for assets that require higher levels of security, and a public cloud for other business needs, making the overall set up more cost-effective.

Work with Cloud-Native Applications When Possible

Traditional apps not designed specifically for the cloud will limit how effective your monitoring efforts are. For cloud infrastructure, ensure applications are cloud native, which means they are optimized for the distributed, scalable nature of the cloud. It is important that they function well in public, private, or hybrid environments.

Work with Internationally Compliant Providers

Each industry has its own rules and regulations. Particularly if you are handling customer data, you’ll have to comply with different regional data protection policies. You also must make sure your vendors are compliant with regulations.

If your cloud-monitoring vendor is compliant with international industry regulations and data protection rules it will be easier for you to scale your business. For example, Seagate Lyve™ Cloud is compliant with the rules and regulations regarding data protection across the world. Since it is difficult to migrate to other vendors, compliance (or lack thereof) may be a roadblock when you attempt to scale. Solutions like Lyve Cloud ensure compliance is baked in.

Automate Data Collection and Backup

When working on cloud systems, automation is the name of the game. Once, it was easy enough for administrators to monitor cloud systems manually and troubleshoot them as needed. But with today’s scale of operation, manual is impossible.

The same goes for collecting and backing up relevant data. There are plenty of automation tools available for cloud operations. Use them to ensure you are able to see the complete picture of the current state of your data.

Bring All Data into One Easy Interface

When monitoring your cloud systems, you need to be able to get the big picture to optimize the systems. You should be able to find the relations between different data points and make adjustments as necessary. To execute this successfully, you need effective ways to visualize the data into one easy-to-use interface.

If your team is looking to improve the organization’s cloud monitoring by setting up the right monitoring parameters, incorporating the best monitoring tools, and adopting effective dashboards, it’s time to talk to an expert who can help.