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What network tools are available for hybrid cloud monitoring?

As hybrid cloud adoption ramps up, businesses should consider hybrid cloud monitoring tools that provide network performance insight across the entire environment.

Hybrid cloud environments present distinct challenges with respect to performance management. Adding a third-party cloud environment to the network monitoring mix can introduce issues around visibility.

While most cloud providers offer monitoring tools, these services only track traffic within their own clouds. So, for companies running a hybrid or multi-cloud environment, relying on cloud providers' tools means IT managers need to rotate among multiple monitoring platforms to track performance data.

A new crop of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud monitoring tools are available to give IT insight into performance across the entire environment from on premises to the cloud.

Vendors such as Cisco, ExtraHop and Riverbed offer platforms that rely on a mix of network probes, agents and routing data to track network performance. These services use machine learning to establish a performance baseline and discern when an issue needs troubleshooting. This deeper insight is important when running mission-critical or operationally important applications in a hybrid cloud environment.

How hybrid cloud monitoring works

Hybrid cloud monitoring platforms typically use a passive network appliance that uses a network tap or port mirroring to capture traffic data from across the entire hybrid cloud environment. These platforms extract application-layer metrics and other data from the payload. Some of this data is analyzed further to determine potential anomalies and if those anomalies are indicative of a performance or configuration issue that needs to be addressed.

Hybrid cloud monitoring devices can also identify a potential breach before it causes significant problems.

Hybrid cloud network monitoring tools typically work with at least two IaaS providers. Many of these platforms are expensive, though, with the appliance itself costing about $10,000.

Some platform vendors have introduced subscription-based plans that are cost-competitive. However, there is a learning curve to adding a new platform, which can be off-putting. Some IT groups are wary of investing in yet another monitoring platform and prefer to use their legacy services.

Many IT teams opt to use traditional network monitoring services, including Simple Network Management Protocol polling and NetFlow tools, to aggregate public cloud data with enterprise WAN and LAN traffic data. While this can be a perfectly adequate approach for a public IaaS environment, some of these tools won't work in certain environments.

This was last published in February 2019

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