There are just as many explanations to cloud services these days as there are cloud service providers. Regardless of the definition and the type of service (IaaS, SaaS, PaaS), the end result for IT is the same: infrastructure is extended off-premise. IT departments have another functionality requirement for their monitoring system as enterprises expand and resources become more dynamic.

As the uptake of cloud services increases, so does the pressure on IT to manage them. In a recent survey carried out by Opsview, 67% of organisations were concerned about the threat of cloud-sprawl. Fortunately, Opsview is ready to tackle any challenges presented by cloud monitoring. Here are five ways to use Opsview in conjunction with cloud services.

Tune Applications, Reduce Costs

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Servers in the cloud should be monitored just like servers on-site, but evaluated in finer detail especially since elastic computing provides a tuning opportunity. System resources can be added or reduced based on application needs. Opsview graphs present historical data of monitored services to allow administrators to confidently tune dynamic resources. Certainly a powerful benefit, but reducing resources to lower costs shouldn’t compromise stability.

Keeping a close eye on resource statistics allow administrators to understand events and distinguish between anomalies and patterns. Performance trending for applications is paramount for cloud servers since the ability to turn down resources like RAM and CPU actually affects the bottom line with providers charging on a usage basis.

Extend any component into the cloud

Enterprises look to the cloud to position business critical applications, taking advantage of top tiered data centres and ease of availability to employees traveling around the world. Isn’t your monitoring system a business critical application? With Opsview’s distributed architecture, any component can be extended into the cloud. On-site slave servers can report to a master in the cloud. Slave servers can be placed in each cloud environment, serving as a backup to other slaves spread across cloud regions or different providers. The Opsview master could also stay on-site and remotely monitor cloud environments.

The ease of building in the cloud doesn’t limit how Opsview works, rather it extends its ability to monitor the “big picture” for any enterprise.

Provide Limitied Access

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With so many cloud offerings, the decision on which provider to use can be time consuming. Sometimes for business reasons (fortunate or not) the decision is made for us and we have to “make it work.” A business unit may strongly suggest their servers be placed with a recognized provider while another division looks at the cheapest solution on the market. As a result, each cloud environment may have certain users interested in only those servers. Use Opsview to give them visibility to resources and performance metrics without showing them all servers monitored. Create a Role that limits them to the Host Group for servers hosted by their cloud provider of choice. Opsview can continue to be the centralised solution to monitoring and alerting for servers in the cloud, making proprietary add-on cloud offerings unnecessary. 

Use libcloud to Enhance Opsview Checks

Many cloud providers have an API as a value add to their services to help administrators manage multiple instances. Libcloud from Apache provides a way to interface multiple providers, giving IT a common platform to develop checks that span environments. Opsview includes Service Provider checks for Amazon and Slicehost, with more on the way with future updates, and easily incorporates custom scripts and checks seamlessly as administrators discover important metrics to monitor with cloud servers. Since cloud interfaces allow for quick provisioning of instances but not a detailed audit trail of who created the server, create a check and alert when new instances are added so everyone on the team is aware of additional servers in the environment.

How much impact is the cloud having on your business? We'd love to hear your thoughts...

About the Author

Paul Fleetwood started as a Unix Administrator in 1999. He has rolled out Opsview at small and large companies including a distributed installation that monitored 600 hosts and 5000 services. Paul currently works for an award-winning custom content publisher in North Carolina and spends all his free time with his wife and three very active sons.