Metrics to Monitor When Scaling Up and Down

4 Metrics to Monitor When Scaling Up and Down in the Cloud

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Fans of Star Trek: The Original Series know that The Enterprise was not capable of going past Warp Factor 8 for long periods of time. That would be all the power Scotty could give the starship before it started breaking up.

The same thing is true with traditional on-premise computing: The hardware has limitations on processing power and storage. With cloud computing, however, these limitations virtually disappear. Cloud computing is allowing companies to recognize the benefits of scalability in ways no one ever imagined.

Picture a scenario where your company needs more processing power. Traditional configurations would require you to plan, purchase, and allocate those resources, which could take weeks or even months. By then, the requirements may have already changed. Some companies even purchase for future scaling, which causes them to spend before they need it.

Cloud computing releases that burden of knowing how much processing power will be needed in the future. You simply ask for more (or have your configuration ask for you, triggering resources when it needs more power).

Due to its highly scalable nature, monitoring cloud computing is very different from monitoring on-premise servers. The cloud vendor may have tools you can use. However, if they fall short of your monitoring requirements, you need to seek alternative solutions. In this article, you will discover the metrics to track and how to select the right monitoring tools for your situation.

What metrics should you track?

There’s a vast number of metrics regarding cloud services that could overwhelm your organization. Therefore, you need to determine which metrics are the most important to track and find the tools that will report those metrics.

Obviously, your needs will be different from other organizations and perhaps even other departments. However, some common metrics should serve as a baseline for your monitoring activities:

  1. Security
  2. Performance
  3. Cost
  4. Uptime

Security

This deals with both internal and external security. You will need to find out from your security team which metrics to track. This may require an audit of the cloud monitoring tools to ensure everything on their checklist is met.

One slippery issue with security and cloud applications is that it’s relatively easy to add new users to an application. While that is mostly a positive development, from a security perspective, not every user should be allowed access without going through proper security protocols.

New application offerings from cloud vendors could cause backdoor access to other systems if the vendors are not vigilant in preventing this from happening. The security is at the mercy of the cloud vendors. Cloud monitoring tools should be capable of detecting these breaches. When you discover such breaches, the cloud vendors should make them a priority to fix.

Performance

While this covers several layers, determining where bottlenecks are happening in your applications is essential. In many cases, cloud vendors provide a minimum acceptable level of performance, which might not be enough when you want to improve the performance of your applications. Luckily, competition for cloud services continues to heat up. This is forcing vendors to pay more attention to the performance of its applications.

One best practice when monitoring performance is to view all the metrics in one central location. Otherwise, you will have to constantly cut-and-paste information to match up your metrics. Further, when dealing with hybrid cloud solutions, the monitoring tools must adjust to give reliable reports. Automating as much of this as possible is smart.

Costs

In general, you should save money when adopting cloud technologies, but that doesn’t mean you are free to spend like it’s an open checkbook. When you allocate more resources on the cloud, you can expect this to cost more money. How much more will depend upon the agreements you have with your cloud vendors and what functions you want to include. One of the best ways to manage costs is to monitor the usage of your resources. Scale back any resources that are deemed unnecessary or don’t meet the objectives of the business.

Uptime

If certain aspects of your architecture are failing, you want to know this as quickly as possible. You’ll need a tool that gives detailed information about this will help get to the bottom of the situation quickly. Your tool should also help determine the frequency of failures.

Knowing which metrics to track helps you make better decisions for your architecture. Conversely, vanity metrics could lead you to make the wrong decisions. Try to focus on the metrics that affect important aspects of your system. The above four factors (security, performance, cost, and uptime) are good places to start when doing an audit of your metrics. Remember, you aren’t locked in. Add or subtract different metrics as your needs and applications change.

Finding the right tools

To determine specific metrics to monitor, start with the ones you were tracking before your decision to switch to the cloud. Then, look for cloud monitoring tools that will report as many of those metrics as possible. If the tools don’t report every metric on your list, you will have to let the less important ones go. Vendors are adding features all the time. Ask potential vendors how frequently they add new features and whether customers have a say in the process.

When you have a solid understanding of your essential metrics, you should learn what features cloud monitoring tools will provide that will match your criteria. There is some give-and-take. However, your requirements will change, and you’ll revisit the ones you dropped.

I hope you have a better grasp of what is needed to select monitoring tools for your cloud solution. Determine what metrics are important for your organization and seek out vendors who offer solutions that come close to providing those metrics.

About John Julien

John is a writer and technology enthusiast based out of Cleveland, Ohio. His company, WeContent, helps technology companies build passionate audiences through irresistible content.

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