Blog Post

What Is Unified Monitoring?


March 13, 2019

Unified Monitoring — or using an integrated platform that monitors your entire IT infrastructure, including physical, virtual, and cloud — is a proven strategy for reducing service outages, increasing end user and IT productivity, optimizing capital investment, and maintaining industry compliance. The business community has long recognized that productivity and profitability depend upon the smooth functioning of their entire IT environment.  As IT infrastructures become more complex, the importance of integrating monitoring tools has as well. For more information about unified monitoring, check out Unified Monitoring 101 — A guide to monitoring the entire IT infrastructure.

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Who Can Benefit From Unified Monitoring

Unified monitoring is for any organization that uses IT operations extensively in their business. Many times, the organizations who need unified monitoring have experienced outage and availability issues, have in-house solutions that struggle to scale or don’t meet regulatory requirements, lack of visibility into their infrastructure, or don’t have the ability to do reporting (for example: SLA compliance reports).

Unified monitoring is prevalent in a variety of industries, including: financial, government, telecommunications, healthcare, education, manufacturing, technology and more. Wherever there is IT infrastructure, there is a need for unified monitoring.

  • System and IT Ops Administrators need complete visibility into the IT infrastructure and an automated solution that lets them focus on their priority work.
  • IT Managers need customizable metrics and performance indicators for reporting to executives.
  • Capacity planners need accurate information to make budgeting decisions
  • Executives need accurate information to make pertinent business decisions as organizations evolve.

Should you use a SAAS or On-Premise Solution?

Some monitoring solutions are SaaS-based while others are on-premise. SaaS-based solutions are hosted on the cloud. With an on-premise solution, you control the data on your own network. This is typically beneficial for organizations that need to protect their data. Knowing what is best for your
organization is a key consideration.

For more information about unified monitoring, check out our Unified Monitoring 101 guide.

4 Tips To Monitor Modern Cloud-based Applications & Infrastructure

Modern cloud-based application and infrastructure monitoring is a moving target. And it is one that very much depends on how “native” your cloud application is.

Here is a list of monitoring metrics capabilities you should look for that pertain to time series and events:

1. Some way to track throughput
It can be as simple as counts of requests or transactions processed. This will vary a lot depending upon your use case—do you log requests, transactions, use queues, etc? At a minimum, you should be able to get that data on a fairly frequent basis and then graph it for context. 

2. Storage monitoring
Storage is elastic, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch how much is getting stored. Simple errors like forgetting to reset a debug flag on a log can quickly consume many gigabytes. RDS in EC2, for example, can tell you how much data is committed—you should watch for it to peak when you don’t expect it. 

3. Health checks on micro-services
Most frameworks for micro-services are capable of telling you with a simple query whether they are healthy. In the cloud, that’s often available in the API of the cloud services manager. Your micro-services (or meshed services) should be able to check in or be checked, and your monitoring tool should have a way to do that. 

4. A threshold on backlog of transactions
Referring back to #1, it’s not only important to track throughput, but you should also track backlog. It will tell you when you need more resources faster than any detailed measurement from deeper in the apps. 

There are many other monitoring metrics to consider, but these four are the ones that we’ve seen most commonly bite customers as they’ve moved to cloud-based monitoring.