What is Server Monitoring?
With the complex IT infrastructures and evolving business strategies, IT organizations rely on cloud service providers and a large number of data centers and hardware. With the cloud echo system, IT organizations can create and deploy any kind of IT infrastructure. Cloud service providers offer various elements that help organizations develop and grow their businesses. Cloud service providers such as Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google help IT organizations scale up their storage, networking, servers, and virtual hosting capabilities by offering Infrastructure as a service (IaaS).
It is important to monitor the activities and transactions to avoid failure when it comes to deployment and dependencies. With the large number of servers getting deployed on the cloud, security and availability become important concerns. In addition, the number of Endpoints and cloud-deployed applications can be a gateway for attackers, leading them to breach the network security. Therefore, it is vital to monitor the network performance and availability, secure the network to optimize the user experience, and have minimum downtime.
Such reasons make it compulsory to monitor the servers which are installed on-premise or on-cloud. Monitoring the servers help organizations secure the servers. Based on the type of the server, various metrics can be monitored and measured that help organizations protect the servers from potential damage.
Important Server Monitoring Metrics
As there are various components within the IT infrastructure to monitor, here are a few metrics to measure while monitoring the server.
Memory Usage: With a large number of transactions and modules getting deployed every second, it is essential to make sure if the system has enough CPU power and memory. The overconsumption of memory can affect the user experience and performance.
Failure: When the servers fail to perform the requested actions, it leads to the failure of some major activities. For example, if the server cannot collect product details from the database, users do not get to see the product details, which ruins the user experience.
Accessibility: It is essential to have enough bandwidth and server availability. By pinging the server, the accessibility of a server and its response time can be measured.
Response Time: It is important to get a response rapidly from a server, mainly when so many transactions and dependencies occur at a given time.
Security: A successful or a failed authentication can provide insights into the system’s performance. Both the attempts help the Administrators secure the system in a better way.
Best Practices for Server Monitoring
Based upon the cloud server and monitoring tool, the server monitoring technique differs. As an organization grows and the number of deployments and modules increases, it needs to set up a server monitoring solution that collects data from the various cloud-based endpoints. There are five steps involved in the practice of monitoring servers.
1. Agentless Vs. Agent-based monitoring: Before any monitoring solution starts monitoring the system and evaluating the metrics, it needs the basic configurations to set up. One of the initial steps of configuring the system is bifurcating the devices based on agents: Agent-based devices and agent-less devices.
– Agentless Monitoring: Agentless monitoring only needs to deploy the software on the remote data collector. The data collector communicates with the target systems at various ports. The collector may need to be installed with admin accesses to access the remote systems. Agentless monitoring comes with its own limitations as not all applications and operating systems support it.
– Agent-based Monitoring: Agent-based monitoring requires an agent to be deployed on each server. Agent-based monitoring is much more secure compare to agentless monitoring. The agent handles all the security aspects and controls all the communications. As it is configured to the application/operating system, it does not need any external firewall rules to be deployed. The agent-based monitoring comes with broader and deeper monitoring solutions.
2. Prioritize the metrics: It is important to identify the metrics that need to be monitored. One should prioritize the metrics that help track the servers and provide important insights into the server’s behavior. The choice of metrics depends on the kind of infrastructure the organization has and the kind of services the organization uses. For example, an application server will need metrics like server availability and response time, while a monitoring tool for a web server will measure the capacity and speed.
3. Set the threshold value for the metrics: Once the metrics are prioritized and monitored, the next step should be to set the threshold values for the same. A baseline value and a specific range should be set according to the type of the metrics. Based on these baseline values, the upcoming server performance can be monitored.
4. Data Collection and Analysis: The server monitoring tool must be configured to seamlessly collect the data from the cloud endpoints. The server monitoring tool monitors the activities taking place across the server with the help of log files. Log files have the data about the failed operations and user activities. Furthermore, metrics such as network connectivity and CPU performance can be monitored with the help of log files. In addition, log files also help secure the server as they contain information about the security events.
5. Alert System: Since the server is being monitored and metrics are being measured, the next step should be setting up an alert when a specific threshold meets. An alert system that sends notifications to the admin team whenever any metrics reach threshold value or in case of any security breach.
6. Setting up Response: Since the admin team is notified about the failure, it is time to take action against it. The monitoring solution should help do root cause analysis from the available data and resolve the issues. Before that, a policy needs to be configured. A policy that sets the procedure for responding to the alerts. Investigate the security alerts, solutions for the operational failures, types of alerts, response actions, and priority. These can be part of the policy while configuring the go-to action procedure.
With these practices, IT organizations can monitor the server and ensure smooth transactions across the server, user experience, and secure the server from the data breach. AIOps, provided by Motadata, being one such intelligent monitoring tool, offers monitoring solutions with cutting-edge technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. AIOps forecast the potential errors, check on the server’s health, notify the admin team, and help resolve the same before they cause any potential damage. The blend of AI and ML makes it one smart monitoring tool that offers one unified dashboard with smart widgets and real-time data of the measured metrics. Overall, it is essential to monitor the server when your entire business and the transactions rely on the server’s health.