The cloud is an extremely complex environment. To help ensure that your organization is getting the most out of it, you need to be able to see exactly what’s happening at all times. You need cloud monitoring.

This post was originally published in Gigamon.

What Is Cloud Monitoring?

Cloud monitoring gives you the power to keep an eye on your data and processes in the cloud. The term describes the tools, techniques, and strategies associated with monitoring, reviewing, accessing, and managing processes, data, and operational workflow within a cloud infrastructure or cloud-based asset.

In other words, effective cloud monitoring provides a detailed picture of the health and operational status of every relevant cloud-based component and device.

To do this, cloud-based monitoring tools gather critical operational data from the cloud and then present it to a company’s authorized cloud administrator via graphs, charts, logs, and alerts.

Types of Cloud Monitoring

Of course, the reality of cloud monitoring is not quite so cut and dried. After all, there are three types of cloud, many kinds of data, and nearly innumerable cloud components operating at once. To ensure that your cloud initiatives are performing to their potential, cloud monitoring takes several different forms.

The following are the five most common types of cloud monitoring:

Website Monitoring

At their most basic, websites consist of files, stored on a host computer — either owned by a specific organization or the cloud-service provider — and shared with other computers across a network. When working with websites, cloud-monitoring focuses on user experience and availability, as well as the availability of important resources. Cloud-based website monitoring tracks website traffic, processes, time on page, resource usage, and search availability.

Database Monitoring

Data is an essential part of any modern business, and being able to quickly find and manage important data in the cloud is an absolute must. Cloud-based database monitoring involves accessing data integrity, tracking queries, reviewing processes, and tracking availability, and charting cloud-database resource usage. Database monitoring not only helps inform updates and upgrades, but also logs and tracks requests for data access, making it a valuable security tool.

Cloud Storage Monitoring

Cloud monitoring for cloud-storage applications is capable of tracking a range of analytes simultaneously. Often used in hosting infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and software as a service (SaaS), cloud storage monitoring charts available storage, user actions, processes, and various performance metrics.

Virtual Network Monitoring

Cloud monitoring in virtual networks creates virtual versions of important network elements, namely firewalls, routers, and load balancers. These software-based elements provide detailed operational information, available in real time — analyzing the virtual network and making vital recommendations where needed.

Virtual Machine Monitoring

Virtual machine monitoring is most commonly used as part of the IaaS model, often incorporating a virtual server hosting multiple virtual desktops. This form of cloud monitoring charts traffic and users, along with infrastructure and status of every associated virtual machine. Virtual machine monitoring not only offers the benefits of cloud-based monitoring, but also fills the role of IT infrastructure monitoring for virtual desktops.

Benefits of Cloud Monitoring

Cloud monitoring gives you the ability to closely observe your services and applications that are centered in the cloud, providing you with essential data, valuable insights, and alerts to possible upcoming issues or disruptions. Taken altogether, cloud monitoring empowers you to optimize the performance and reduce the downtime of your cloud-based apps, processes, data, and initiatives. But what exactly does this mean for your business? Here are several benefits of cloud monitoring:

  • Quickly identify threats or other problems before they can create interruptions in your service
  • Monitor relevant KPIs in real time with up-to-the-minute reporting to ensure that your business is always moving in the right direction
  • Protect against data loss by identifying and analyzing all data that leaves the network, minimizing the impact of potential data breaches
  • Improve performance with high-quality APIs, protected by authentication protocols
  • Locate and repair delays within application workflow for improved response times

Additionally, because cloud monitoring services are themselves cloud-based, they offer many of the advantages commonly associated with cloud computing. This includes preconfiguration and easy installation, reduced investments in installing and maintaining on-premises solutions, improved scalability, expanded accessibility, and more.

Challenges of Using Cloud Monitoring

While cloud monitoring offers many advantages in terms of tracking and analysis, there are some challenges you should be aware of. First, however, it’s worth noting that the right cloud monitoring services are more than capable of working with you and your business to overcome these challenges. In most cases, the benefits of cloud monitoring significantly outweigh any potential obstacles.

With that in mind, here are three hurdles to successful cloud monitoring:

Lack of Skills

As more and more organizations make digital transformation a top priority, it’s becoming apparent that there exists a cloud-skill shortage. In fact, according to a recent survey by Gartner, 63 percent of senior executives identify talent shortage as a major concern for their organization.1 Businesses without the right IT talent may have trouble properly managing cloud monitoring solutions. That said, most established cloud monitoring service providers are able to work with clients to operate a desired target environment smoothly and securely.

Multiple Cloud Providers

In enterprise, 92 percent of businesses use multiple clouds — public and private — to support evolving IT infrastructures.2 This multi-cloud strategy may allow organizations to better address their unique needs, but it also creates increased complexity in terms of cloud structure, and that can make cloud monitoring a difficult prospect. Different cloud providers may result in siloed data and tools, forcing clients to adopt a range of vendor-specific monitoring tools to properly track cloud performance.

Hybrid Infrastructure

Hybrid clouds face many of the same challenges as multi-cloud strategies. In a hybrid setup, data resides in both public and private cloud environments; attempting to monitor that data and track processes when dealing with two distinct kinds of cloud may result in lack of visibility. Again, public cloud providers generally supply their own monitoring tools, but there’s no guarantee those tools will function well in conjunction with an organization’s own private-cloud monitoring solutions.

Overcoming these challenges is a top priority for many organizations who are interested in monitoring and improving the performance of their cloud applications. Gigamon provides the solution.

Gigamon for Cloud Monitoring

You depend upon your cloud-based applications, infrastructure, and data. Gigamon, the leader in intelligent network visibility solutions, provides essential cloud-monitoring capabilities, giving you the insight you need to optimize your cloud initiatives. And with GigaVUE Cloud Suite™ and Gigamon Hawk, even hybrid and multi-cloud solutions become simple to navigate, chart, monitor, and manage. Gigamon cloud monitoring tools close the skill gap and bring eligible cloud monitoring to your business.

Click here to see for yourself what Gigamon can do for you, and see the cloud like never before.

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