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What network tools are available for public cloud monitoring?

Multi-tenant public cloud monitoring can pose significant challenges. Luckily, some tools can help track these environments and even flag potential security threats.

As enterprise cloud deployments ramp up, IT groups need to confront the fog associated with tracking activity within these sometimes opaque environments.

A survey of 338 IT professionals commissioned by network testing and security vendor Ixia published earlier this year found that 80% had expanded their cloud deployments in 2018. But less than 20% had the information they need to accurately monitor performance, security and resource usage within these environments.

Having clear visibility into any environment is critical to ensure performance optimization and security. But multi-tenant public cloud monitoring is inherently more challenging, which can lead to significant issues that jeopardize network performance -- or worse. Nearly 90% of the Ixia survey respondents said they are worried that lack of clarity into activity in their public cloud environment is obscuring security threats.

The different types of cloud monitoring tools

While the public cloud monitoring challenge is real, the expansion in on-demand deployments has introduced tools and services for tracking activity in public cloud environments that are helping cut through the haze. As a result, IT teams have a growing number of public cloud monitoring options.

Suppliers offer services that fall into three general categories:

  1. proprietary offers delivered by the public cloud providers themselves;
  2. third-party network and application monitoring vendor tools; and
  3. services provided by managed cloud providers.

These services provide the metrics that IT organizations need to track usage and performance. They can help establish baseline perspective on environment health, which IT professionals can use for fine-tuning. Some of these services can also flag anomalous activity indicative of a potential threat that requires further investigation.

Which public cloud monitoring tools fit your organization?

While proprietary services supplied by IaaS vendors -- such as Amazon CloudWatch and Microsoft's Azure Monitor -- can offer precise insights into their environments, they typically are focused only on monitoring workloads in their own cloud. Google Cloud Stackdriver is an exception in that it also monitors AWS cloud environments.

Third-party tools -- such as Cisco's AppDynamics, BMC TrueSight Pulse, DX Infrastructure Manager and Dynatrace's monitoring services -- can monitor activity across different cloud provider environments.

Enterprises can also opt to enlist the help of a managed cloud service provider, such as Rackspace. These providers monitor activity in multiple environments and provide design and migration assistance, as well as operations and security support.

This was last published in September 2019

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