It’s only natural. If you decide to entrust your precious data to a cloud storage provider, you’d like to always know that things are OK. If you are a consumer with irreplaceable information, documents, photos and more, then the reputation of your cloud provider and a regular check of your own may do the job. Businesses may need more. When survival depends on being able to keep your data confidential but accessible at any time, and your online computing environment is complex, a helping hand to keep tabs on it all can be welcome. Cloud monitoring services have developed to meet these needs for reassurance and alerts for intervention if required.
A Popular Market Place for Startups
While the major cloud providers stopped being startups some time ago, separate cloud monitoring services are often provided by newer, smaller companies looking to innovate and add value. Some services are currently free. Others are available on a paying basis. The monitoring services provided may be used directly by the customer whose data and applications are in the cloud. They may also be used by third parties that work with the customer, possibly reselling the cloud services to the customer and now also a cloud monitoring service.
Which Services are Best?
Your cloud monitoring needs may differ from those of another company. Also (let’s face it), some of those startup services may not be around in the future either. So while there are many individual offerings that could be discussed today, you may find the comparison points below more useful. By seeing how a monitoring service stacks up against each point that is important for you, you can narrow the field to a suitable shortlist – and then try them out to make your final selection.
Staying Power: Is It Part of an Established Vendor’s Offering?
Amazon Web Services are unlikely to disappear tomorrow; its monitoring service, CloudWatch, will stick around too, although it’s more for premium-level customers. Likewise, Nimsoft under the CA umbrella can point to solid backing for the future.
Versatility: Does it Handle Multiple Computing Environments?
The combinations of public, private and hybrid cloud and different IT vendor platforms (Microsoft, Unix/Linux, Mac) are endless. If you have this variety in your own computing environment, make sure your monitoring service can handle it. LogicMonitor is a vendor positioned to do this.
Resilience: Is It Protected Against Downtime?
It sounds obvious, but if the system running your cloud monitoring service goes down, so does your cloud monitoring. On-premises systems may be more vulnerable than cloud-based solutions in this case.
Performance: What’s Its Track Record in Providing Warnings?
Industry reviews, forums and trustworthy colleagues can help you form an idea of the performance of monitoring applications. Datasheets and brochures are a start, but they don’t necessarily tell you the whole story. Startup company Boundary has been gathering good press about its performance. Level Platforms, another startup, has successfully predicted trends in cloud service monitoring.
Specialization: What Specific Areas of Monitoring Expertise does It Offer?
You may not want a one-size-fits-all solution. If your activity is in one particular domain, a more specialized cloud monitoring service designed specifically for that sector may be a better choice. New Relic offers end-user experience and application monitoring in particular. Likewise, AlertSite may be a good fit with e-commerce companies.
Openness: Can It Monitor Third Party Clouds?
Cloud monitoring services from independent vendors must, by definition, monitor third party cloud services: every cloud service is third party for them. However, some monitoring services produced by the cloud providers themselves (Rackspace is one instance) are also open enough to monitor the performance of other cloud providers.
Financials: Is It Compatible with Your Budget?
Do you get what you pay for? Must you pay for what you get? Some free monitoring services may give you useful basic services (Pingdom, for instance, a favorite with small businesses). Just don’t expect top of the range services without paying something.
Trying the service out is the next step. Trial offers may be suitable, if they let you access all the functionality that is important to you. This practical exercise is essential to check that what’s in the service specification also works in real life. In particular, you may want to examine the quality of the cloud service monitoring dashboard (is it sufficiently detailed and easy to use), the rapidity with which alerts are generated, and, if the trial allows you to, the scalability of the solution to handle increasing numbers of cloud applications and growing cloud data storage.