Blog Post

Mastering Cloud Monitoring: Ensuring Uninterrupted Performance in the Digital Era

Explore the role of cloud monitoring in maintaining uninterrupted digital performance. Learn key components, monitoring strategies, and the importance of a cloud-neutral approach.

In an era defined by rapid technological advancements, the cloud has emerged as a transformative force, revolutionizing the way businesses store, manage, and process their data. According to industry reports, 90% of large organizations have already implemented multi-cloud environments. In 2020, the global cloud market was valued at approximately $371.4 billion, and it’s not showing any sign of slowing down. By 2025, the global cloud market is projected to exceed $832 billion, indicating a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 17%.  

But amidst the cloud's soaring promise lies a challenge that cannot be ignored – the critical need for vigilant and comprehensive cloud monitoring. In an era where downtime can translate to colossal losses and reputational damage, the importance of cloud monitoring cannot be overstated. Here’s how to master the art of cloud monitoring.  

Why Cloud Monitoring Matters

The crucial role of cloud monitoring becomes evident in incidents such as the AWS outage in 2020, which impacted major sites, including renowned names like Netflix and Adobe, as well as the Microsoft Azure downtime in 2023, affecting critical services for organizations worldwide. In a world where downtime is directly proportional to lost revenue, reputation damage and compromised user trust, cloud monitoring ensures performance, security, and reliability by monitoring the following four key aspects:  

  1. Reachability: This involves ensuring that end users can successfully access the application.
  1. Availability: Ensure the application is consistently available to end users.
  1. Performance: Checks if the application's performance meets the expected standards.
  1. Reliability: Delivering consistent application performance over time.  

Key components of cloud monitoring

While cloud providers aim for high availability, no system is entirely immune to downtime. Which is why you should never rely on someone else to tell you when there is an issue with a cloud-based service you are providing. Your users are going to blame you when there is a problem, not your cloud provider. Hence monitoring availability and other aspects of the Internet is crucial. The following components of cloud monitoring are crucial for maintaining reliable services, regardless of the cloud provider you rely on.

#1. Uptime and Downtime: Monitoring the availability of cloud services and applications.

This involves tracking uptime metrics and generating alerts in the event of service outages or disruptions.

Ex: 1: On September 20, 2023, around 14:48 UTC, Salesforce Commerce Cloud faced a major disruption affecting various clouds, like Commerce Cloud, Tableau etc. Users could not log in or use any features.  

Waterfall showing Salesforce Commerce Cloud disruption.

Ex: 2: On September 23, 2023, at around 14:28 EDT Google cloud service was unavailable in Fortaleza, BR – GlobeNet.

Waterfall showing Google cloud availability issue.

Ex: 3: On September 21, 2023, at around 14:47 EDT Google cloud had SSL issue in Minsk, BY - Beltelecom.

Waterfall showing Google cloud SSL issue

#2. Service Level Agreements (SLAs): Ensuring that cloud services meet the defined SLAs and performance guarantees.

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An SLA monitoring dashboard, displaying the availability of instances & services.

#3. Application Performance: Monitoring cloud applications is crucial for a seamless user experience.

What you want is a cloud-neutral approach, distinct from provider-specific solutions, to guarantee uninterrupted service.

A good solution will have nodes strategically placed in key locations for precise evaluation. This encompasses the entire user journey, factoring in ISPs, DNS, CDNs, and other internet services. Such a method is essential for a comprehensive assessment, capturing real user experiences in various locations and networks.  

A screenshot of a cloud serviceDescription automatically generated

Ex: On September 25, 2023, at approximately 11:33 EDT, Azure encountered performance issues across multiple locations, attributed to server response time, as indicated in the two charts below.

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Chart showing increase in avg test time.
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Waterfall showing increase in server response time.

#4. Dependencies: Monitoring external dependencies that applications rely on, such as APIs or third-party services, to identify potential issues that might impact application performance.  

Whereas you can monitor dependencies from individual synthetic tests, Catchpoint Internet Sonar does the work for you. Internet Sonar swiftly detects disruptions in vital third-party services like Cloud platforms, Networks, DNS, CDNs, hosts, APIs, and security. It monitors the entire Internet service stack, providing timely analytics and outage alerts in crucial regions. This is achieved through a robust algorithm using data from millions of daily tests on the largest node network globally.

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Catchpoint Internet Sonar globe view

#5. Reachability: Cloud connectivity monitoring evaluates network connections between local systems and remote cloud resources (e.g., servers, databases) provided by services like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud.  

This instance highlights the significance of keeping track of reachability. In this network Sankey (below), it’s evident that most of the routes were withdrawn, leaving only a handful accessible, leading to a decline in performance.    

A close-up of a graphDescription automatically generated

Make Sure Your Monitoring Solution Is Not Solely in the Cloud

Beware the trap of monitoring only from the cloud. Simply put, monitoring a cloud-based consumer service from within the cloud only measures the performance of the cloud itself, not the performance seen by end users.

Even if your app or service is 100% cloud-based, you still need to monitor from non-cloud locations. This includes monitoring from Internet backbone and broadband/ISP points of presence, in-house enterprise locations, consumer last mile locations, and mobile. These vantage points are essential for delivering a complete view of the digital experience you’re providing.

Monitoring the cloud is not just about the vantage points either. The way you collect, store, and analyze data is important as well. If you’re monitoring from the cloud and your cloud provider suffers an outage, you can’t afford to have your entire monitoring solution go down too.

Recommendations:

  • Establish a comprehensive cloud monitoring strategy, covering uptime, SLA compliance, app performance, and dependency tracking.
  • Leverage cloud-neutral monitoring tools, like Catchpoint, for precise end-user experience evaluation, accommodating diverse locations and network scenarios.
  • Prioritize monitoring of external dependencies, including APIs and third-party services, for optimal app performance.
  • Emphasize reachability monitoring to ensure robust network connections between local systems and cloud-based resources, guaranteeing an uninterrupted user experience.

Maximize your cloud investment with Catchpoint IPM

Our Internet Performance Monitoring (IPM) platform offers extensive insights across all Internet layers with over 2600 vantage points in 94 countries, including 240 Cloud Nodes on major providers like AWS, Azure, Google, IBM, Alibaba, and Tencent. This enables precise assessment of end-user experience, factoring in their access, ISP, DNS, CDNs, and other Internet services. Our cloud-neutral approach ensures constant availability, even during cloud outages. Constantly innovating, we have tools like Internet Sonar to help you detect disruptions in vital third-party services at a glance. With Catchpoint, you’ll conquer the cloud with confidence.

Check out our demo hub to see Internet Sonar at work, or contact us to learn more.

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