The Importance of Monitoring Your Azure Infrastructure
Cloud computing has become the backbone of modern businesses. Among the leading cloud service providers, Microsoft Azure stands out as a versatile and powerful platform, offering a wide array of services to meet various business needs.
However, managing an Azure infrastructure is no simple task, and one critical aspect that should never be overlooked is monitoring. In this blog, we'll delve into why monitoring your Azure infrastructure is paramount for ensuring optimal performance, robust security, and overall business success.
The Dynamics of Azure Infrastructure
Before we dive into the significance of monitoring, it's essential to understand the complexity of Azure infrastructure. Azure's ecosystem comprises various interconnected components, including virtual machines, databases, storage accounts, networking resources, and more.
These components work together to deliver a seamless cloud experience. However, as the infrastructure grows, so do the chances of encountering issues, making monitoring a vital practice to keep everything in check.
The Benefits of Monitoring Azure Infrastructure
Proactive Issue Detection
One of the most significant advantages of monitoring your Azure infrastructure is the ability to detect and address potential issues before they escalate into critical problems.
Real-time monitoring allows you to set up alerts and notifications for abnormal behaviors, sudden resource spikes, or system errors. By identifying and resolving these issues proactively, you can significantly reduce downtime and ensure high availability for your services.
Security is a top concern for any cloud deployment, and Azure is no exception. Monitoring plays a crucial role in identifying security threats and ensuring compliance with industry standards. By closely monitoring access patterns, failed login attempts, and potential breaches, you can swiftly take action to protect sensitive data and secure your infrastructure from unauthorized access.
Efficiently utilizing resources is essential for both cost-effectiveness and optimal performance. Monitoring your Azure infrastructure provides valuable insights into resource utilization, helping you identify underused or overburdened resources.
By optimizing your resource allocation, you can reduce operational costs and ensure optimal performance for your applications and services.
Key Metrics to Monitor
Keep an eye on CPU, memory, storage, and network usage metrics to understand how efficiently your resources are being utilized. Monitoring these metrics enables you to identify bottlenecks and allocate resources appropriately to avoid performance degradation.
To make better-informed decisions, prevent budget overruns, and ensure you get the most value from your cloud investments; ensure your Azure Monitoring platform enables real-time visibility into cloud resource usage, performance, and overall spend for things like average compute and storage cost.
The performance of your applications directly impacts user experience and business productivity. Monitoring application response times and latency allows you to identify performance bottlenecks, improve responsiveness, and deliver an exceptional user experience.
In distributed cloud environments, monitor the percentage of servers or nodes up and available compared to the total deployed. While automation tools can redistribute workloads, a decrease below 90 percent of available servers might signal serious issues with your cloud server instances.
Network Traffic and Latency
In a cloud environment, network traffic and latency can significantly affect data transfer and application performance. Monitoring network traffic helps you ensure smooth data flow and identify any network-related issues that may impact your services.
Time to Acknowledge
Reveal load balancer or under provisioning issues. Monitor metrics for each cloud region to pinpoint specific latency problems. Compare acknowledgement time with and without a CDN for better performance optimization.
These metrics provide visibility into your application's health and the hosting cloud environment. Errors may stem from application issues or cloud environment problems, such as unavailability of cloud services or misconfigured access credentials for services within your cloud setup.
Security and Compliance Metrics
Regularly monitor security-related metrics such as failed login attempts, firewall logs, and access permissions to maintain a secure and compliant Azure infrastructure. These elements are crucial for protecting sensitive data and adhering to regulatory requirements.
Patched/unpatched known vulnerabilities will indicate how timely and adequately patch cloud security risks in your system -- or if you leave them open for too long.
Requests Per Minute
predict peak demand times, enabling efficient scaling of cloud resources. It also aids in identifying and mitigating issues like DDoS attacks, enhancing application security and performance.
Monitoring peer-to-peer file-sharing metrics enables the tracking of changes in authorized file downloads or sharing. An unexpected increase in these activities could be indicative of a compromised cloud security posture.
Azure Monitoring Tools and Solutions
As Microsoft's native monitoring service for Azure, Azure Monitor provides a comprehensive solution for monitoring your infrastructure. With custom metrics, log analytics, and application insights, Azure Monitor offers powerful capabilities to help you gain valuable insights into your Azure environment.
While Azure Monitor is robust, it can be expensive and time-consuming to implement, which can be a huge factor for hesitancy in business leaders.
Thankfully, through managed service partners (MSPs), one can set up the integral monitoring solutions with equally powerful monitoring features and integrations with hands-on expert support – all at an affordable rate.
At Managed Solution, we offer Azure Assure managed services to help you monitor and better manage your Azure environment.
Azure Assure Managed Services offers companies, like yours, strategic cloud adoption and optimized support for their Azure infrastructure. Managed Solution handles day-to-day administration, providing 24/7 security and performance monitoring, advanced security and compliance services, cloud migration, and on-demand professional services.
Key features include:
- Rapid API-based monitoring
- Instant visibility into resources and logs
- Centralized log analysis
- And so much more!
To businesses' cloud journeys, chat with one of our cloud experts today.
Best Practices for Azure Monitoring
Establish Clear Monitoring Goals
Before setting up your monitoring strategy, define specific monitoring objectives based on your business needs. Clear goals will guide you in choosing the right metrics to monitor and setting up meaningful alerts.
Utilize Alerts and Notifications Wisely
Avoid alert fatigue by configuring alerts and notifications judiciously. Set appropriate thresholds and escalation policies to ensure you receive alerts for critical issues while avoiding unnecessary noise.
Regularly Review and Fine-Tune
Azure infrastructure is dynamic and constantly changing. Periodically review your monitoring configurations, analyze historical data, and fine-tune your monitoring setup to adapt to evolving requirements.
What the Experts (and Data) are saying
The 2023 State of the Cloud Report by Flexera reveals that an overwhelming 92% of enterprises have embraced a multi-cloud strategy. Despite this growing trend, a significant challenge lies in the networking teams' ability to cope with the rapid changes in the cloud environment.
According to Cisco's findings, a staggering 73% of networking teams find themselves dedicating more time to maintaining the existing status quo rather than efficiently managing multi-cloud deployments.
Furthermore, in a survey by Sciencedirect.com, experts highlighted the following conclusions:
“Monitoring of Cloud is a task of paramount importance for both Providers and Consumers. On the one side, it is a key tool for controlling and managing hardware and software infrastructures; on the other side, it provides information and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for both platforms and applications. The continuous monitoring of the Cloud and of its SLAs (for example, in terms of availability, delay, etc.) supplies both the Providers and the Consumers with information such as the workload…” (Sciencedirect.com).
“As introduced in Section 3, Cloud monitoring is needed to continuously measure and assess infrastructure or application behaviors in terms of performance, reliability, power usage, ability to meet SLAs, security, etc. , to perform business analytics, for improving the operation of systems and applications , and for several other activities (see Section 3). In this section we introduce a number of concepts at the base of Cloud monitoring that are used to set the context for the following…” (Sciencedirect.com).
These findings make it clear that managing cloud platforms is growing increasingly difficult for businesses, and only further highlight the growing need for cloud monitoring as well as expert-supported management of these incredible systems.
Getting the Best Out of Your Azure Infrastructure
Monitoring your Azure infrastructure is essential for modern businesses. More than having your cake and eating it too, you will secure, optimize, and save on costs to make every bite all the more worthwhile.
From proactive issue detection, to enhanced security, to in-depth visibility enabled performance & cost optimization – the benefits of Azure monitoring enable you to leverage the power of one of the best cloud computing platforms on the market and advance it to the benefit of your business.
Embrace monitoring as an integral part of your Azure strategy and pave the way for a successful and resilient cloud journey. Chat with one of our cloud experts today about Azure Monitoring and get any questions you have, answered.
Learn More + Free upcoming webinar
If you're ready to talk more about Microsoft Azure with a qualified expert, send us a contact request here and we'll set up a time to chat with you. For a deeper dive into the platform, join us on October 25th for part two of our free Azure Webinar series.