How do you get started with cloud monitoring?
If you’re already a cloud service user, you probably have access to cloud monitoring tools, such as Azure Monitor, Google Cloud and AWS CloudWatch, which are an excellent way to get started exploring the features and benefits that cloud monitoring services can offer.
Although cloud monitoring is designed to let you manage multiple projects (and even multiple environments or organizations), start by setting up monitoring for a single cloud project to learn the ropes. Determine a small number of metrics that you want to monitor, then work with the provider’s monitoring console to set these up. Avoid overloading the system with too many metrics or API requests to avoid a huge, unanticipated bill at the end of the month. (Remember that most providers offer a few free credits to get you started, so take advantage of these first.) You can contact your cloud provider sales rep to provide examples, help you get started and provide custom metrics without running up your bill.
Monitoring uptime or availability of one of your web services is a fairly painless way to get started. Then you can move to more advanced virtual machine monitoring or container/microservices monitoring, collecting things like performance metrics or application stability data. What you choose to monitor ultimately depends on the specifics of your organization’s infrastructure.
The next step is to set up notifications or alerts so you can receive proactive information about services that are having trouble. Determine thresholds for these alerts — in the case of uptime monitoring, this is easy; your alert should be set to notify you if the monitored system goes offline. Application alerts can be more nuanced, so experiment — and study industry benchmarks — to find the best threshold for your notification. Alerts can also be integrated into third-party tools such as Slack or PagerDuty.
Over time, your monitoring system will generate data that can be plotted via charts and other graphics. These can be instructive in helping you see long-term performance and stability trends that you can use to plan improvements and upgrades.
These basic examples are limited to a single-vendor cloud monitoring solution, all designed to help you get started. In a multicloud or hybrid environment, your next step will likely be to explore third-party monitoring solutions, following a similar path as outlined above to find your footing on what will offer a considerably different user experience. Additionally, most third-party solutions provide robust support for application performance monitoring, which is increasingly essential in complex microservice-based applications.