Infrastructure monitoring is an integral component of modern organizations’ IT infrastructures, serving to verify that systems are running as planned while also helping detect any issues early enough for rapid resolution.
Small companies with few servers and workstations usually don’t require special tools for system administrators to quickly identify any issues when they arise, however as companies expand, so does their number of servers and network devices; should something go amiss, system administrators still must be able to quickly identify and rectify it in order to prevent more serious complications from developing.
Finding issues manually in a medium or large infrastructure can be time consuming and challenging, which is why automated IT infrastructure monitoring solutions have become so widespread today – helping administrators quickly pinpoint type and source of issues as soon as they arise.
Infrastructure monitoring software enables you to rapidly detect and resolve issues across all of your infrastructure–whether cloud services, on-premise hosts, orchestrated containers, virtual machines and orchestrated containers. Infrastructure monitoring offers complete observability for complex hybrid systems like data centers or Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure; additionally it gives a high-level overview of your system’s CPU memory RAM storage traffic usage etc.
What Is Infrastructure Monitoring?
Infrastructure monitoring refers to the practice of tracking hardware and software metrics within either a physical or virtual environment in order to improve efficiency and optimize processes. This involves collecting and analyzing information related to availability, performance and resource consumption of critical hardware or applications.
Infrastructure monitoring refers to the practice of collecting and analyzing information about an application or system in order to detect problems before they impact users, or detect and resolve existing ones after users are affected by them.
Infrastructure monitoring tools help you keep an eye on your infrastructure with real-time visibility into key components like servers, networks and applications.
Infrastructure monitoring refers to the practice of instrumenting and analyzing IT resources, systems, and processes, collecting data on their usage in order to enhance performance, and using this data for further optimization of these assets.
Any endpoint or application connected directly or indirectly to your company’s internal network presents a threat for malicious actors that wish to gain access to sensitive data and properties within it. Software or hardware devices could enable an attack on your system; furthermore, any failure of IT infrastructure could mean loss in business revenue; therefore it’s crucial that you monitor performance and health of this area frequently while taking necessary actions as soon as needed.
Monitoring infrastructure requires many components:
Log Monitoring Software
These programs use log files generated by network devices to search for specific events that indicate any problems with systems or applications on which they rely. Some include rulesets which enable them to filter out noise when searching large amounts of data.
Network Monitoring Tools
This section allows your company to ensure its internal network is functioning at expected speeds and reliability standards. By utilizing appropriate tools, this section helps verify if the transfer rates and connectivity levels your users experience on the network are meeting expectations, as well as monitoring incoming/outgoing connections for any unauthorized attempts of accessing it. Network monitoring may help identify any unauthorized attempts that attempt to gain entry.
There are two kinds of network monitoring tools: network performance and device monitoring. Both these monitoring solutions capture packets while they pass through an IP network so they can be studied later without interfering with normal operation.
This section of monitoring focuses on collecting information from sensors found within computers and other machines, such as battery life data, current & voltage sensors, fan speed sensors etc. By tracking these metrics regularly you may be able to spot an malfunctioning resource before its failure causes further harm to other resources in its vicinity.
Application monitoring is one of the cornerstones of IT monitoring, since your app is often exposed to external forces that could pose security threats and cause significant revenue losses for businesses. With proper infrastructure monitoring tools in place, user behavior on apps can be tracked along with operational insights about usage patterns of apps.
Types of Infrastructure Monitoring
There are two primary forms of infrastructure monitoring – agentless monitoring and agent-based monitoring. Both offer unique benefits and challenges; an ideal solution would be selecting one that meets your requirements:
Agentless infrastructure monitoring (or “agentless monitoring”) is a method of tracking computer systems and network devices without having to install software agents on these systems in order to do so.
This method relies on technologies such as Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to collect information from monitored systems. A monitoring platform establishes a connection to one or more of these protocols to access them directly, collecting CPU usage, memory usage, disk usage statistics, network traffic patterns etc.
Agentless monitoring is an efficient, low-overhead method of keeping an eye on systems and network devices, especially where multiple systems need to be monitored simultaneously. It can be especially helpful in environments that require numerous systems be monitored in parallel.
Agent-based monitoring is an approach for tracking computer systems and network devices’ performance and status using software agents installed on them, which collect data to be reported back to a central monitoring platform.
Agent-based monitoring tends to be more flexible and customizable than agentless monitoring; agents can be configured to collect specific data points, while the monitoring platform can be configured to alert on specific conditions.
Agent-based monitoring allows agents to monitor systems behind firewalls or other security measures, or that are otherwise inaccessible from the network, by gathering monitoring information about systems within them.
Agent-based monitoring can be especially advantageous because it can continue collecting data even if the network connection between the monitored system and monitoring platform becomes temporarily lost, as agents can store this information until its connection with monitoring platform is re-established.
Agent-based monitoring is an efficient method for keeping track of systems and network devices, providing detailed insight into system performance. It may be particularly useful in environments where detailed knowledge about what systems are being monitored is essential or when agentless monitoring cannot be implemented due to security or other constraints.
How Infrastructure Monitoring Works
Infrastructure monitoring monitors the performance, availability, and resource utilization of containers, hosts, and other backend components.
Infrastructure monitoring typically entails installing an agent onto a host for monitoring purposes, and using our agent recognition technology, starting the instrumentation process can be as easy as following our guided installation wizard. Once in, our agent will recognize which applications and log sources exist in your environment before suggesting an appropriate agent for you to install.
Once fully installed on your host server, our agent will collect system data and deliver it to our infrastructure monitoring solution’s backend engine for processing before displaying real-time (and historical) results in a centralized dashboard.
Explore infrastructure monitoring from an in-depth standpoint. There are two primary forms of infrastructure monitoring; passive and active-based. Understanding each type will give you an edge in understanding infrastructure monitoring’s process.
Passive monitoring refers to gathering information on systems without altering their normal operation, usually via log files.
Log files provide a comprehensive picture of all activity on your systems and can help provide insights into their performance or identify any potential problems.
Active monitoring involves more hands-on actions. It involves using tools or agents that probe your systems for information in real-time, which enables active monitoring to detect system problems as they emerge.
Active monitoring enables you to take corrective actions quickly before any systemic damage has been done. Furthermore, active monitoring provides data about system performance which can then be analyzed for trends and patterns – as well as monitoring user behavior and system connections as part of this proactive testing strategy.
Your business could benefit from either approach; however, adopting a hybrid model may prove even more effective depending on its size, needs, and types of data that it handles.
Why Is Infrastructure Monitoring Important?
No matter if your applications use cloud or on-premise hosts (or both), infrastructure forms the core of all systems. Just as a train requires properly maintained tracks in order to operate safely, your system requires performant and dependable servers in order to offer services to its users. When infrastructure becomes unavailable, your app’s performance suffers significantly or even outages occur resulting in lower customer engagement and revenue generation. Due to the high stakes involved, maintaining infrastructure can be both difficult and stressful. Even if your servers boast near 100% uptime, any outages that do arise can have severe repercussions that undermine both your authority and users’ trust; at best they won’t have access to services during an outage; at worst they get frustrated and stop coming back altogether.
While you can monitor CPU and RAM through an operating system command line, more comprehensive solutions such as infrastructure monitoring tools provide more comprehensive monitoring of application infrastructure as your applications grow larger and more complex. New Relic is one such infrastructure monitoring solution which offers this view; with it you can visualize all aspects of your system’s infrastructure from one central dashboard – including metrics, events, logs, and traces (MELT).
What Are The Benefits?
Here are the advantages of infrastructure monitoring:
Gain Hybrid Cloud Visibility
A good infrastructure performance monitoring tool should offer visibility into every facet of your infrastructure–on premises, private cloud and public cloud alike–and provide insight into its connectivity, which applications, hardware components or services it supports as well as how well everything performs under load.
Infrastructure Performance Monitoring Suppress Downtime Monitoring infrastructure performance can identify any pending issues before they develop into major downtime, providing you with an opportunity to take preventative steps before they reach critical levels, which may cause losses in revenue, employee productivity and business reputation.
IT infrastructures are intricate systems, making troubleshooting more challenging when issues do arise. If multiple teams and vendors are involved, navigating this process becomes even more complicated. Infrastructure performance monitoring provides insight to quickly zero in on the source of any issue more efficiently.
Increase Customer (and Employee) Satisfaction
IT infrastructure is often unnoticed until something goes wrong, leading to many unappreciative customers or employees giving negative reviews about its performance. With infrastructure management services performance monitoring helping detect issues earlier and resolve them faster, you can minimize impactful user complaints – both externally and internally.
Increase Business Agility
Infrastructure performance monitoring enables organizations to identify patterns in usage behavior and adjust processes, capacity or other aspects accordingly in order to keep up with changing demands. This enables them to more proactively adapt processes as new needs emerge.
Manage Costs and Risk
Every decision about your infrastructure comes with associated costs and risks. Infrastructure performance monitoring provides comprehensive data, not only on individual components but also the context in which they function, to enable you to make more informed decisions that successfully balance cost with risk trade-offs in your organization.
Cloud Monitoring Tools to Get You Going
There are more than two dozen cloud monitoring services, each providing similar capabilities. But some may provide features more tailored to the monitoring strategy of your organization than others.
Let’s examine some of the top cloud monitoring tools currently available:
Sematext is an infrastructure monitoring solution created for DevOps teams to easily view logs, metrics and events all in one convenient dashboard. Sematext monitors applications servers networking users while keeping a history of stack metrics for your reference.
Due to Sematext being open-source since 2018, you can more seamlessly incorporate it with your technology stack. Numerous sources exist for collecting metrics, including REST APIs, JMXs and SQL databases.
Sematext offers anomaly detection and alerting solutions that cover hybrid, private, and on-premise environments to stay ahead of potential failures in all your environments.
Dynatrace provides full-stack monitoring, including app, cloud and hybrid environment monitoring as well as real user monitoring on online assets so you can tailor your digital strategy for more fulfilling customer journeys.
Dynatrace provides real-time and historical logs and events for microservices, containerized applications, services, serverless, and Kubernetes environments.
Dynatrace provides open-source project support on GitHub to make connecting to your stack easier, providing better cloud observability with over 400 integrations. Dynatrace can also be purchased as a SaaS offering and on-premise solution.
CloudWatch is an essential starting point for cloud-based applications and services running within Amazon Web Services (AWS), providing an overall view of AWS services, metrics, and logs, events such as Amazon EC2, RDS DB instances, and EBS Volume instances.
CloudWatch was developed to answer customer feedback regarding the lack of visibility into AWS resource utilization, specifically concerning resource utilization by AWS resources. You should anticipate it will provide proactive resource utilization.
SolarWinds provides an effective visual monitoring dashboard to easily view various components. The user-friendly interface makes it simple to follow and zoom into specific areas or identify how a cloud component affects other aspects of your technology stack.
SolarWinds is also unique because you can use it both as an all-in-one cloud monitoring platform or use its tools:
- Loggly for log analysis
- Pingdom for monitoring websites/assets
- Papertrail to quickly view your logs.
- Acknowledging, monitoring, and analyzing application and infrastructure health, performance, and networking needs of applications and infrastructure within and across clouds such as Azure and Google Cloud.
SolarWinds offers comprehensive network monitoring tools within these clouds to monitor application health.
Datadog may be the perfect solution if you need large-scale application performance monitoring (APM) and increased visibility into your infrastructure with end-to-end tracing. Furthermore, Datadog allows tracking, viewing, and analyzing logs, metrics, and events from networks, containers, databases, third-party tools, services, and more.
As part of its incident managed monitoring services and management tool, you can monitor synthetics, security, and real users in real time, setting alerts when your cloud environments stop functioning correctly.
Redgate can provide those searching for their database performance, availability, and security capabilities, with Redgate being an ideal solution. Perfect for DevOps teams using .NET, Azure, or SQL Server environments for DevOps use cases as it works both on-premises and remotely.
Regate provides your engineering team an effective tool for running realistic database tests, monitoring entire databases, and quickly securing sensitive data. Furthermore, there are additional cloud monitoring tools you may want to consider using:
New Relic is a cutting-edge monitoring solution for mobile, web, cloud, on-premises, real users, synthetic users, logs, distributed tracing, and multi-cloud environments.
New Relic provides users with eye-catching graphane dashboards that offer insightful views into app sizes. Furthermore, New Relic displays the specific method calls made by different apps to identify incident root causes quickly and efficiently.
This tool offers one of the most robust querying languages (NRQL), along with an extensive free plan so that you can test its performance before subscribing.
Azure Monitor is a monitoring solution built specifically for workloads running on Microsoft Azure Cloud, supporting custom metrics for external monitoring. Engineers can use it to collect, analyze, and use telemetry-based insights to optimize Azure and on-premise environments.
Expect a platform built for gathering insights about infrastructure, apps, and services. The tool also monitors your application’s networking layout, services, and activity to notify you if something happens. And those looking for business intelligence support will find their needs met here, along with powerful workbooks that enable dashboarding.
Sumo Logic’s cloud monitoring tool enables you to collect and analyze events, logs, and transaction traces, providing insight into security, operations, and business intelligence.
Sumo Logic can collect indicators of compromise (IoC), machine learning analytics, and real-time user activities to detect any security or operational issues before they affect end users. Its ability to process over 200 Petabytes of Data Daily and complete over 20 Million Searches Daily makes Sumo Logic perfect for large enterprises and rapidly expanding startups alike!
Multicloud support and over 150 integrations make this solution ideal for most needs.
Proven Methods for Infrastructure Monitoring
With the right combination of metrics and how they should be utilized in various situations, you are ready to create an infrastructure monitoring setup in your app environment. Here are a few points you should keep in mind to get the most from it:
Your Infrastructure Vendor Is Key
The relationship you establish with an infrastructure vendor plays a crucial part in shaping user experiences for your application. Vendors offering comprehensive documentation and support gain an edge.
Before finalizing a vendor choice, however, you must also conduct availability and MTTR tests, as downtime with infrastructure is inevitable, and no amount of documentation or support can help restore it quickly. A quicker MTTR will help ensure that customers do not feel the pain.
Prioritize With Data
Prioritizing data is an integral component of infrastructure management and monitoring services. While you cannot immediately monitor every change in your system and alert on every potential problem, tracking only those issues important for app functioning and disregarding warnings or issues caused by third-party peripherals is more practical and cost-effective.
Deliberating which issues to monitor is a delicate balancing act; any miscalculation could lead to hundreds of unattended incidents of brokenness that go ignored. Therefore, you should carefully study any alert trends before focusing on frequently reoccurring issues.
Configure a Comprehensive Alert System
Step Two of Three The third step in creating a comprehensive alert system should involve configuring it properly. Your alert system should send instantaneous alerts for issues while intelligently grouping similar issues for easy viewing, with high specificity and coverage. Furthermore, aim to generate more alerts to quickly highlight any new concerns as soon as they emerge.
At the same time, it is also essential that your system doesn’t generate too many alerts that create noise. Some systems allow users to prioritize events to determine how intensely their alerts for these events are sent. This simple feature can work wonders for an alert system when used correctly.
Design Effective Event Resolution Processes
Design Effective Event Resolution Processes Once you’ve collected information about an issue that has arisen, the next step should be establishing an action plan to resolve them. An alerts system can categorize how issues should be tackled while adding escalation as part of its alert process can provide optimal assistance from day one.
Categorizing issues helps you create ready-to-use issue resolution processes that you can implement swiftly to mitigate their damage and restore order quickly. Searching for solutions when an issue arises will further add chaos without such processes in place.
One effective error-proofing measure to consider is redundancy. This involves keeping several duplicate components within your system that can take over as soon as an active element goes down or, in infrastructure monitoring’s case, multiple monitors monitoring from various locations. Hence, if one of your monitors goes offline suddenly. Data tracking doesn’t stop altogether – protecting yourself and the data it represents.
Combine Monitoring Tools To Maximize Performance
Combine multiple monitoring tools if you want the best from your infrastructure monitoring setup. Consider mixing on-premises and cloud-based tools to separate monitoring jobs based on which platform best supports them.
An on-premise setup offers cost savings for tasks requiring greater control and higher bandwidth by providing the hardware yourself. For tasks requiring scalability and high availability, cloud-based IT setups offer convenient pay-as-you-go pricing models.
Stay Aware of Monitors
One common misstep IT personnel often make is depending too heavily on alerts to check up on their system. Instead of doing periodic audits, they wait for the alert to signal that something must be addressed immediately.
Prioritized alerting is meant to simplify life, yet it can easily go wrong in numerous ways. You could misjudge its priority and miss critical issues or mistakenly place low-priority errors with high priorities, creating unnecessary noise in your alert box.
Therefore, it’s advisable to regularly review your monitoring dashboard to detect problems or incidents without depending solely on outbound alerts.
Prefer Buying Over Building Infrastructure Monitoring Tools
Deciding between purchasing or creating monitoring components can be daunting as part of creating your infrastructure monitoring system. While the building can seem like an attractive alternative – no vendor fees needed and in-house talent supporting it instead of queuing for product support or feature rollouts! – it has its advantages too.
However, purchasing pre-built solutions from vendors can also be an attractive solution. No more do you have to allocate staff resources towards maintaining and developing yet another product; most modern IT systems are complex; therefore, replicating them for use would require far more time and energy than simply subscribing for the subscription of an already intricate system from an outside vendor.
Review Metrics Regularly
Your task is incomplete as soon as you have an effective monitoring solution in place. To ensure your metrics are functioning as planned and don’t miss important alerts due to too-low thresholds, or perhaps they aren’t receiving alerts because their metrics have too-high thresholds, keep an eye on their performance regularly to ensure everything runs as intended.
Regular review of metrics is vital. Over time and as your monitoring setup becomes more adept at adapting to the requirements of your application infrastructure, the frequency of these reviews should decrease significantly.
Conduct End-to-End Tests
To complete infrastructure monitoring successfully, conducting full end-to-end tests to evaluate your error handling measures from active monitoring through instant alerts & escalation to workflows to resolve an issue is an integral component. Effective drills should be held regularly to ensure your system is ready in case an incident arises.
Visibility into your IT infrastructure is as essential to business success as understanding the performance of an application. Doing so enables you to make more informed decisions about its expansion while mitigating problems before they arise.
Management of an infrastructure monitoring setup on a medium to the large network can be challenging without software assistance. You must regularly evaluate its requirements to identify suitable tools and resources to monitor it accurately.
Infrastructure monitoring is a fundamental aspect of modern IT infrastructure management. It allows organizations to monitor the performance, health, and availability of servers, network devices, and applications within their IT ecosystem – something made even more crucial with cloud computing and distributed architectures becoming mainstream.
Infrastructure monitoring collects data from various sources, such as system logs, performance metrics, and user behavior patterns. Once collected, this data is analyzed and transformed into insights to assist IT teams with identifying issues, troubleshooting problems, optimizing performance, preventing downtime or outages, and taking immediate action against them. Monitoring tools provide real-time alerts and notifications, so IT teams can take immediate steps against downtime or outages as soon as they arise.
Infrastructure monitoring serves many uses across industries and organizations of various sizes and needs, depending on the industry, organization size, and specific infrastructure requirements. Some common use cases for monitoring include capacity planning, performance optimization, security monitoring, compliance management, and incident reporting. Organizations that neglect infrastructure monitoring risk falling behind quickly in this highly competitive and fast-paced digital world and losing their competitive edge.
Infrastructure monitoring is an integral component of modern IT operations. It gives organizations real-time insights into the performance and health of their infrastructure components, allowing them to optimize performance, prevent downtime and respond quickly to issues. With the right monitoring tools and strategies, organizations can ensure reliable availability and scalability, resulting in enhanced customer satisfaction, increased revenue streams, and an edge against competitive challenges.