An exponential increase in the generation of data led to the rise of the Big Data era. Among other factors, the cost of scaling up businesses to accommodate so much data prompted many businesses to switch to virtual cloud platforms. The cloud can store, organize, and manage all the data and applications for a company in a virtual environment. Monitoring this environment is crucial, because it’s susceptible to cyberthreats, like data breaches. Moreover, to ensure that your business runs optimally, you must follow a robust cloud monitoring strategy. This post discusses best practices for cloud monitoring. Here’s what we’ll discuss:
- Brief intro to the types of cloud services
- Types of cloud monitoring
- Best practices
Brief Intro to the Types of Cloud Services
Rather than building an on-premise data center that houses all a company’s data, most businesses chose to subscribe to a third-party cloud service provider. These providers can offer three types of services, namely, infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), platform-as-a-service (PaaS), and software-as-a-service (SaaS). The type(s) of service you choose can have a major impact on the success of your business.
Furthermore, each type of service requires its own set of cloud monitoring practices. Nevertheless, there are few practices which can be game changers for your business irrespective of your cloud service type. More on this later. Let’s first start off by getting acquainted with the types of cloud services you can choose from.
As the name suggests, IaaS comprises using the hardware of your cloud service provider to house your applications. Infrastructure includes fundamental resources such as servers, data centers, and networks. This type of cloud service gives you the flexibility to install and manage your own software or applications on the rented infrastructure. IaaS is cost effective and saves you from the complexities involved in building your own infrastructure. Furthermore, scaling up your business becomes much easier.
PaaS offers the infrastructure along with a software platform that includes an operating system, application development tools, database management systems, and so on. It’s an end-to-end service that allows you to build, test, deploy, and manage your applications without worrying about compatibility within the environment. Moreover, it includes the cost of software licenses and provides accessibility to middleware for creating web applications.
SaaS hosts applications and provide a mobile/web app that your users can connect to via the internet. For instance, email applications on your laptop are SaaS. In this case the service provider builds and manages the hardware and software and lends it out for a subscription fee while securing the app (and your data) based on a written contract.
Once you’ve chosen the type of cloud service that best fits your needs, it’s crucial to consider how to monitor your cloud based applications and resources. To fully understand which parts of your business are driving growth and which are slowing it down, you must know how to monitor different cloud components. The following section briefly introduces different types of cloud monitoring.
Types of Cloud Monitoring
The cloud is a virtual environment with several components. Here are a few important types of cloud monitoring that you should consider:
This entails real-time managing and tracking access requests and queries made to a database in real time. Moreover, it involves keeping an eye on performance metrics, such as responsiveness (i.e. response time to a query), storage capacity, and resource utilization. Since all the gold lies in the data, monitoring your database must be a priority.
This one is crucial to all businesses, especially those that rely on their website as a major source of customer acquisition. E-commerce businesses perform extensive website monitoring to improve user experience. Metrics such as availability, traffic flow, and resource consumption can give insights into the health of your website.
Cloud Storage Monitoring
Cloud storage monitoring entails monitoring how storage is allocated and used by different applications. Keeping track of cloud storage utilized by each application and its underlying processes provides information about other performance metrics, as well as information about your users and your database.
Monitoring each component of the cloud is crucial to orchestrate the entire cloud service. This ensures that your business runs seamlessly. To further ensure business growth, you need to implement a few cloud monitoring best practices. The remainder of the post will dive into these best practices.
Cloud Monitoring Best Practices
Despite using cloud platforms as a foundation, most businesses do not fully understand the value that can be derived from effectively monitoring their cloud components and infrastructure. It’s imperative to follow certain practices to gain insights about the current performance of your company’s services. These insights are crucial to building strategies that will improve your business.
Identify What You Want to Monitor and Why
If your business is centered on selling products online, then you must prioritize monitoring your website. Moreover, you must also pay attention to securing any customer financial information housed in your database. Based on what type of business you have, compose a list of key metrics crucial to running your business.
Once you have a list, monitor the metrics to derive insights about the current health of your business and about how and where within the pipeline things can be improved. For instance, if you notice that the number of users accessing your landing page declines, look through metrics such as response time and latency of your website and database.
Think of how you can simplify decision making. It’s easier to assess and make informed decisions when you have all the crucial information in one place. Businesses often use a distributed network or a hybridized cloud infrastructure. It can be convoluted and time consuming to gather performance metrics from multiple sources. If there are too many moving parts to track, you might also miss out on some crucial information. For these reasons, it’s much better to have all data on a unified dashboard so you have an overview of your business, its weak points, and its strong points.
Automate, Automate, Automate
In this day and age, automating is the most productive thing a business can do. Several cloud component monitoring tasks are repetitive. Many cloud services have tools for automating monitoring tasks.
For instance, the service can pause an instance of a virtual machine if the virtual machine uses more resources than the allocated cap. Effectively automating such tasks can free your time and help you focus on more valuable activities.
Monitor Your Cloud Service Usage
If you follow the first best practice of identifying the key metrics to monitor, you learn which processes and events are crucial. Take this a step further and assess whether the cloud services you currently utilize align with the driving forces of your business. You should only pay for what your business needs. If you have extra storage or services that you don’t utilize, make sure to reduce or stop subscribing to those services.
Choose the Right Service Provider
Save the best for last, they say. Choosing the right monitoring platform is often considered an obvious decision. However, most companies do not fully assess whether the features and security measures provided by their cloud service provider align with their business needs.
A few key points to look for include:
- Compatibility: Is the service provider compatible with the configurations of your existing applications and infrastructure? Does it allow integration with the existing DevOps tools your company uses?
- Ease of use: Is the service easy to use and understand? Does it provide a unified dashboard? Does it follow an automating paradigm?
- Resource management: Can the platform identify changing needs, in terms of resources required, and adjust to the changes accordingly?
- Cost: Does it meet your budget?
Finally, all these practices must make your customers happy and want to come back for more of your services. Netreo is a cloud monitoring platform that focuses on your customers’ experience. It’s a highly compatible, easy to use monitoring tool that gives you all your performance insights and metrics via a single dashboard. It also lets you experience a live demo of their tool. Make sure you give it a try!
With this, we come to the end of this post. I hope you now have an idea of the different types of cloud services, types of cloud monitoring, and how cloud monitoring best practices can add value to your business. Stay tuned for more informative blogs.
This post was written by Zulaikha Greer. Zulaikha is a tech enthusiast with expertise in various domains such as data science, 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.