Microsoft Azure monitoring tools

Azure monitoring tools are software meant to assist in the different aspects of cloud infrastructure management and monitoring, centering around Microsoft's cloud computing platform, Azure. Azure monitoring tools can be provided by either Microsoft or other, third-party, platforms.

With Azure monitoring services, users can use end-to-end monitoring tools to detect or diagnose issues in applications or infrastructure, manage Azure in virtual machines (VMs) or containers, detect bottlenecks and collect data on a large variety of other tasks.

IT teams can use a variety of Azure monitoring tools to provide visibility into their cloud environment to ensure their workloads run correctly. Insights that monitoring tools can provide include performance, availability or security metrics. These metrics give an in-depth view into how an organization's cloud system is working. If something is wrong, or an IT team needs to troubleshoot an issue, then monitoring tools can be helpful.

Different data types

Different monitoring tools may be used to monitor separate components in Azure, which also means different data will be collected depending on what is being monitored. Data can be sorted by classification. For example, Microsoft specifies a difference between metrics and logs. Metrics are numerical values that describe an aspect of a system at a point in time, and logs contain different variations of data that are organized into records with different properties for each set. Collected data will typically be stored so users can analyze them at request. Some examples of the data sets Azure monitoring tools will analyze include:

  • Application monitoring data, which typically includes data around the performance and functionality of code.
  • Azure resource monitoring data, which will include data around the operation of an Azure resource.
  • Azure tenant monitoring data, which gathers data regarding the operation of tenant-level Azure services.
  • Azure subscription monitoring data, which collects data pertaining to the operation and management of Azure subscriptions.
  • Virtual machine and cloud services data, which captures system data and logging data on VMs.
  • Application insight data, which relates to application performance monitoring (APM).
  • Azure Active Directory reporting data, which collects information on user sign-in activities and system activity.
  • Activity logs, which collects information on operations performed on resources in a subscription.
  • Network security logs, which will collect data on traffic flowing through a network.

Other data that may be collected includes guest OS monitoring data, storage analytics, requests, response times and events, cost management, planned maintenance and health advisory data, diagnostic logs, failure diagnostics, container monitoring, VPN connection and resource configurations. In addition, there are many other available tools that can monitor different data types.

First-party Azure monitoring tools

Microsoft provides a number of first-party Azure monitoring services, each with a specific purpose.

For example, Microsoft Azure Monitor will collect and analyze performance metrics as well as diagnostic and activity logs from cloud environments to determine application availability and performance. Azure Monitor can also provide insight into the operation of applications, containers and VMs running in the cloud.

Azure Advisor is another monitoring tool from Microsoft that can scan resource configurations and then provide possible actions to improve resources for high availability, security, performance and cost -- so users can optimize their deployments.

Azure Automation is a tool for admins and developers to automate cloud management tasks using Azure runbooks. It will monitor for issues or unwanted changes in applications or configurations. Azure Automation can also monitor and ensure updates for Windows and Linux workloads on Azure.

Azure Cost Management plus Billing is a tool used to monitor a user's cloud spending. This tool will break down the costs of specific Azure services and resources.

Azure Service Health monitors active service issues and health advisories. Azure users can use this tool to monitor the status of events in their cloud environment and to plan ahead for maintenance.

Azure Network Watcher offers network monitoring for network performance. This tool can provide insights and metrics on Azure Virtual Networks (VNet), VMs and application gateways. Users can make use of this tool to identify network issues, to enable or disable resource logs in an Azure VNet, and to view network metrics.

Azure Resource Health allows users to diagnose and receive support for service problems in Azure, specifically relating to its use of resources. Azure Resource Health also monitors the current and past health of an organization's resources.

Third-party Azure monitoring tools

Many other organizations have also made cloud monitoring tools that work with Azure. For example, Microsoft lists up to 30 third-party tools that work in Azure. Some of these tools include AppDynamics, DataDog, LogicMonitor and Serverless360.

AppDynamics is an APM suite of software tools that provides a comprehensive monitoring of enterprise applications, from the end user to back-end database. Azure users can utilize AppDynamics to troubleshoot performance bottlenecks as well as optimize application performance. The tools can also monitor many Azure services such as Azure Cloud Services, Microsoft Azure Queue, Microsoft Azure Remote Services, VMs and data storage.

Datadog is a monitoring and analytics tool that can be used to determine performance metrics as well as event monitoring for infrastructure and cloud services. The software can monitor services such as servers, databases and applications. DataDog is particularly useful in DevOps teams, for monitoring data throughout the Azure ecosystem.

LogicMonitor is a software-as-a-service-based (SaaS) automated monitoring tool. The software tool focuses on infrastructure and application performance of cloud-based services. Azure users can monitor the performance of Azure on premises and on hybrid cloud resources.

Serverless360 is another third-party tool that provides monitorization of Azure serverless components. Serverless360 can monitor serverless services such as Azure Functions, Logic Apps, Event Grids, Event Hubs and Storage queues.

Other third-party Azure Monitoring tools include Sumo Logic, SolarWinds, OpsGenie, Logic Monitor and LogRhythm.

This was last updated in April 2020

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