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  • Business enterprises have opted to go the Cloud services way to remain relevant in the industry 4.0 era.

    System administrators and Cloud developers can now provision network resources, storage resources, VMs, ERPs, System software, and Application software in most Public, Private or Hybrid cloud platforms.

    The shift towards Cloud by organizations can be attributed to availability on demand, value creation, and real-time optimization that is only possible with Cloud.

    But with the countless benefits comes the burden of monitoring Infrastructure and Applications running on the Cloud.

    This article will shed light on monitoring in Cloud and, in the end, provide you with information on tools that will make it easy for you as a Cloud developer when monitoring Infrastructure and Applications.

    Infrastructure and Applications monitoring

    Infrastructure and application monitoring is simply a management strategy. The management strategy involves any operational workflow that evaluates computing resources and applications to gain visibility into performance, health, and availability of services running in any infrastructure.

    Cloud monitoring, therefore, involves observing performance metrics of web servers, applications, storage servers, virtual cloud networks, virtual machines, and any other services that run on the Cloud.

    Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of monitoring in the Cloud.

    Shed light on Cloud Resources Consumption

    Monitoring as a service in the Cloud help organizations to understand the running resources and the cost associated with them through tags. Administrators can then use the data about resources to prioritize and scale resources based on costs and demand.

    Performance Optimization

    Based on the results of system alerts, events, and triggers configured to track infrastructure resources, developers can perform resource tuning such as load balancing to scale up and down an Infrastructure.

    Guaranteed System Security

    Real-time user monitoring, ingress and egress traffic monitoring, and frequent tests done on API endpoints serve as security models for Cloud infrastructure/applications. The visibility means that any anomaly in a system can be flagged easily before escalating.

    Popular monitoring tools for cloud developers

    Below are some of the most used Cloud monitoring tools available to try out every sysadmin or cloud developer!

    CloudWatch

    CloudWatch, built by Amazon, is an observability and monitoring tool that delivers data/insights relating to system performance, applications operations, and the state of Cloud Infrastructure.

    Amazon CloudWatch is a tool for DevOps teams, Site Reliability Engineers, and Cloud Developers. Developers can get started with CloudWatch for free with the Free tier model.

    Applications and Infrastructure resources running in Amazon Cloud generate operational data in logs, metrics, and events. Therefore, developers can use CloudWatch to collect and monitor the metrics and log data to detect applications’ performances and any infrastructure changes.

    CloudWatch gives you great control over Cloud Infrastructure through proactive troubleshooting, resource optimization, log analytics, and reduced mean-time-to-resolution. (MTTR)

    With CloudWatch, you can monitor Containers, ECS instances, Amazon EKS, and all application instances running in the Cloud environments.

    Dynatrace

    Dynatrace is a software intelligence platform that delivers your monitoring requirements in one place. The tool relies on Artificial Intelligence to deliver automated and intelligent observation of all Cloud Infrastructure and Applications.

    Dynatrace is an agent-based observability tool. It features OneAgent, an installable and intelligent agent that automates system-wide monitoring. OneAgent collects metrics throughout every tier of your application stack.

    For Infrastructure monitoring, OneAgent can collect metrics from serverless infrastructure, Containers, Pods, VPCs, and even Cloud Databases, and more.

    Dynatrace leverages PurePath for code-level visibility of mobile and web apps. As a result, developers gain insights into the availability and performance of the front-facing and backend transactions running in any cloud environment.

    Moreover, the tool doesn’t just provide traces, metrics, and log data for your on-premise environments alone. It allows you to integrate multiple cloud technologies and extend third-party tools to maintain gap-free monitoring for your cloud-residing applications. Besides, developers can use Dynatrace APIs to inject collected metrics to other 3rd party reporting and analysis tools for more intuitive system reports.

    To get started with Dynatrace, you can sign up for the free trial edition and deploy the tool in your environment for full-stack monitoring.

    Datadog

    Plugging Datadog into your on-prem or cloud infrastructure gives you grain-level visibility of Infrastructure and Application performance.

    All can be viewed exhaustively, from hosts in a network to container instances and even live processes running in any infrastructure. This monitoring tool has in-built features such as Datadog Agent, Datadog application performance monitor, Datadog log manager, and Continuous profiler. The in-built tools are responsible for collecting system metrics and detecting any changes in the system.

    Developers can then observe and analyze the collected performance metrics through flexible dashboards. The created dashboards present trends in metrics.

    For instance, Cloud applications error rates, latency in network endpoints, and served or failed HTTPS requests can be viewed. Consequently, Cloud admins/developers can create metrics summaries from the dashboard for any period.

    Datadog provides agent-based, authentication-based, and library integrations to achieve unified system monitoring in cases where systems and applications are distributed.

    The coolest feature of Datadog is the convenience it gives developers to perform synthetic monitoring of application performance through synthetic tests. Synthetic tests are simulated requests that mock web services and APIs to deliver end-to-end visibility of applications.

    Prometheus

    Prometheus is a great open-source monitoring and alerting tool for Cloud, hybrid and on-prem systems. This tool aggregates system metrics as time-series data, a multi-dimensional data model that is identified by metric name and key-value pairs.

    For instance, an HTPP request as the metric name(key) and the corresponding total number of those requests as the value.

    Prometheus works with an autonomous, single Prometheus server that scrapes metrics from several data sources and stores them as time-series data.

    Additionally, the tool features visualization platforms such as Grafana, Consoles, and Expression browsers.

    For system alerts, Prometheus features an alert manager to send and manage the notifications flexibly through emails, on-call systems, and chat platforms such as slack, where developers can proactively respond to raised system issues.

    MetricFire

    MetricFire is a suite of open-source tools that help sysadmins to collect, store, and visualize Cloud Infrastructure metrics. The metrics are significant in identifying system load, system reliability, and the need for resource optimization. The monitoring tool hosts three open-source tools – Graphite, Prometheus, and Grafana, as services, all working collaboratively to improve your monitoring experience.

    Graphite, for example,  handles metrics collection through Hosted Graphite agent, which features collection services like a diamond. Diamond, a python daemon, collects CPU metrics, disk utilization metrics, Network I/O, metrics on Web Applications, and even more.

    Developers can then view the metrics in feature-rich hosted Grafana dashboards or Graphite dashboards. Through the dashboards, developers can observe metrics from multiple sources such as Graphite, Prometheus, and other external Cloud monitoring software.

    Grafana dashboards are highly customizable and can be transformed to meet most visualization demands. Developers can also create complex graphs and charts featuring multiple metrics and traces to provide conclusive reports on how systems perform.

    Through the hosted tools, developers can understand system data at a glance without the need to install several third-party tools.

    Wrapping up

    To this end, we have seen what Cloud infrastructure and applications monitoring are. Moreover, we have also looked into some of the benefits of monitoring.

    To conclude, the highlighted tools will make your monitoring experience hustle-free because of the great autonomy and flexibility that they come with. You can try out the free trial editions and have your system metrics at your fingertips.

    Happy monitoring!