cloud monitoring guide for MSPs
Tuesday, March 01st 2016 by Lynn Zhou
More and more companies are moving all or part of their infrastructure to the cloud and there is a clear boom in hybrid and native cloud utilization. New ways to manage applications, enable collaboration and empower end-users are just a few reasons among many to work with a cloud environment.

Cloud monitoring has thus become crucial: with so many different cloud infrastructures and applications, MSPs need to pay close attention to cloud monitoring to stay ahead of competition.

What is Cloud monitoring and Why Should MSPs Care?


Simply put, cloud monitoring is the collection of all activities required in order to ensure that cloud resources are utilized efficiently and robustly, and can provide timely alerting, escalations and reporting to let you and your end-customer keep updated on their IaaS clouds.

MSPs have long focused solely on providing hosted, remotely managed, monitored services on their own datacenters or collocated private cloud infrastructure. Yet with more and more businesses moving to public clouds, it only makes sense that these monitoring tools and services can extend there as well.

What is available today natively from IaaS cloud providers?


Lets focus on the two largest IaaS providers, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services. They provide some out of the box support for monitoring of cloud services on their respective platforms. Amazon CloudWatch is a monitoring service for AWS cloud resources and the applications you run on AWS. Similarly, Microsoft Azure provides Azure Diagnostics, a monitoring for the Azure platform. It allows tracking performance counters, setting alerts, etc.

The downside of using these native services:

  • Difficult to manage multiple customers and cloud accounts

  • No “single pane of glass” view

  • No integration with commonly used issue-tracking, ticketing systems

  • No policy driven alerting

  • Impossible to compare performance across multiple cloud providers

  • Steep learning curve

  • No user-friendly reporting


How can Unigma help?


With Unigma, customers can build their own dashboards in order to see real-time metrics from across multiple customers and multiple clouds. Service providers can build customer-facing and internal reports, create monitoring and alerting policies, automatically push alerts to ConnectWise, Kaseya and Autotask, and provide an experience branded to the MSP partner with their logo and subdomain. Unigma raises the bar by creating new management capabilities spanning across public cloud platforms.

Best practices



  • Customized Dashboards

  • Compare metrics from multiple clouds

  • Integration with PSA systems

  • Provide customer reporting

  • Unified monitoring


Key Metrics


Every customer environment is different, however, there are some common metrics that can apply to customers across the board. Below are a few examples of key metrics we highly advise everyone to monitor:

  • CPU Utilization

  • Network In/Out

  • Disk writes and Queue length

  • Read, write latency

  • Available storage

  • Failed database connections


Conclusion


Monitoring is a critical component of managing any public clouds. Sound monitoring strategies, tools, and policies must be deployed from the start, and should be improved continuously. It’s extremely important for service providers to adopt a public cloud monitoring strategy today, one that can be flexible enough to adopt to your clients’ needs and service their environment in a hybrid, or cloud-native environment.

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