Cloud monitoring: What it is and three best practices to implement

The cloud has reshaped digital infrastructure and operations for organizations, providing unmatched agility, scalability, and cost savings. As businesses increasingly rely on the cloud for their IT infrastructure, ensuring seamless operations is critical. However, it is also challenging.

An effective cloud monitoring strategy addresses many operational challenges by providing real-time insights into cloud environments, enabling optimal performance, resource management, enhanced security, and cost optimization, and ensuring seamless integration and management of diverse cloud services and tools.

In this article, we'll discuss what cloud monitoring entails, how it fits into your cloud strategy, and monitoring best practices that you can implement to get the most out of your cloud deployments and improve your cloud operations.

What is cloud monitoring?

Cloud monitoring is the practice of tracking and managing the performance, availability, and security of cloud infrastructure and applications. It involves the use of tools and methodologies to collect, analyze, and interpret data from diverse cloud resources. This data includes metrics such as CPU usage, memory utilization, network traffic, response times, and error rates. The objective is to ensure that all components within the cloud environment are operating efficiently, providing the necessary insights to identify and troubleshoot issues proactively as well as maintain optimal performance, security, and reliability.

What are the benefits of cloud monitoring?

Cloud environments are dynamic, and they power critical business functions. However, they can be complex, making it essential for organizations to monitor them to stay ahead.

Monitoring cloud environments is essential for organizations because it:

  • Ensures high availability and proactive issue resolution by detecting and mitigating issues before they impact operations, therefore minimizing downtime.
  • Optimizes performance by providing real-time insights to identify and mitigate performance bottlenecks, improving application responsiveness and the user experience.
  • Enhances security by monitoring for unauthorized access and vulnerabilities, ensuring data protection and compliance with regulations.
  • Manages costs effectively by tracking resource utilization to optimize spending and align cloud investments with business goals.
  • Supports compliance by providing necessary data and audit trails to meet regulatory requirements and internal policies, reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties.
  • Improves operational efficiency and streamlines cloud resource management through the implementation of best practices, collaboration, and remediation strategies.

Top 3 cloud monitoring best practices to implement

To get the most out of your dynamic cloud environments, it is critical that your cloud strategy aligns with your cloud monitoring practices, ensuring improved performance and seamless scalability.

In the following section, we discuss three key cloud monitoring best practices that you should implement in your cloud environments.

1. Identify KPIs and establish continuous monitoring

Continuous monitoring is foundational to effective cloud management, offering organizations actionable insights for optimizing performance, assuring reliability, and maintaining a proactive approach toward management of cloud resources.

However, establishing continuous monitoring requires laying the foundation from the ground up.

  • Define and prioritize key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics based on business goals and operational requirements. For example, you could consider uptime, incident response times, security, resource utilization, or cloud costs as some of your KPIs that you want to track.
  • Set up monitoring tools that align with the organization's cloud (or multi-cloud) environment. Although cloud infrastructure providers like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud provide native monitoring tools, a unified tool to observe all the cloud infrastructure along with the applications running on it provides operational efficiency and improves incident response times.
  • Once you have set your KPIs and chosen your monitoring tool, enable continuous monitoring for your entire stack of cloud components. This should include virtual machines, databases, and containers as well as application-level monitoring to ensure holistic visibility. Track metrics that align with your KPIs and set baselines against them, like CPU and memory metrics for resource utilization, error rates and transaction volumes for applications, and compliance checks and logs for security, to ensure that you are on top of your cloud infrastructure at all times.

2. Implement automations

Automation is crucial for optimizing cloud monitoring processes, providing significant benefits such as improved efficiency, reduced errors, and quicker response times.

Consider implementing the following automation strategies for a resilient cloud environment.

Configure automated alerts: Set up alerts for critical metrics such as CPU usage, memory utilization, and network traffic. Ensure you base the alerts on historical data and performance benchmarks. Use multi-channel notifications (e.g., email, SMS, and help desk apps) to ensure timely alert delivery to relevant personnel. Make sure you also review the alert settings from time to time to reduce alert fatigue.

Set up auto-remediation for common issues: Identify common issues and write automation scripts or runbooks to resolve them without manual intervention, like restarting a failed service or reallocating resources to a struggling instance. For example, you can set up an auto-scaling policy that automatically launches new instances when CPU usage exceeds a certain threshold, say 80%. Perform load testing occasionally to ensure the automations work.

Leverage AI and predictive analytics: Use machine learning models to analyze historical data and identify patterns that indicate performance degradation or failures. You can also implement predictive analytics tools that can forecast resource needs and potential bottlenecks.

Create automated dashboards and reports: Use visualization tools that automatically update with the latest monitoring data, providing real-time insights. Schedule regular reports that summarize performance, incidents, and remediation actions for sharing with stakeholders.

3. Monitor and scale resources efficiently while optimizing cloud costs

Efficient monitoring and scaling of resources in cloud environments involve continuous oversight to optimize resource allocation based on workload demands and performance metrics while also tracking and managing cloud costs effectively.

You can consider following the best practices below.

  • Use monitoring data to identify underutilized resources through monitoring dashboards, and adjust resource allocations accordingly while optimizing costs.
  • Analyze growth patterns and seasonal trends in workloads to anticipate capacity requirements.
  • Implement predictive analytics tools to forecast resource utilization and plan capacity expansions or contractions proactively.
  • Set up budget alerts and use cost management tools to monitor spending against predefined limits, analyze cost patterns, and take proactive cost-saving actions.

Get started with ManageEngine Site24x7 for comprehensive cloud monitoring

Site24x7 is a comprehensive cloud monitoring solution designed to provide deep visibility into your cloud environment. It supports all major cloud platforms, like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform, allowing you to monitor a wide range of resources, services, and applications running in the cloud. Try ManageEngine CloudSpend to optimize your cloud costs through adopting best practices like implementing chargebacks, reserving capacity, and right-sizing resources. Get started today!

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