What is monitoring?
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Monitoring is the practice of gathering metrics – such as latency, traffic and data – in order to understand the state of the individual servers, server clusters, applications and networks that make up your IT infrastructure. This involves both real-time server monitoring of any potential incidents, and analysing both short and long-term performance. When these metrics are collated, they form a monitoring system that enables users to store, visualise and set up specific alerts and automated responses, to identify any new opportunities for optimisation and improvement.
This type of view of your system’s performance is vital for quick identification and resolution of health and performance issues, while also enabling data-driven decision making. Furthermore, monitoring individual machines, applications and networks lets you know when it’s time to scale your infrastructure or troubleshoot errors.Whether you are monitoring an on-premises infrastructure, or services hosted at an external datacentre, a dedicated bare-metal server ensures that your chosen monitoring solutions enjoy the highest level of availability, and that all logs are kept secure and accessible.
Tip 1. Avoid metrics bleed
For larger infrastructures, the high volumes of metrics generated can make it difficult to generate actionable data. This is referred to as ‘metrics bleed’. When implementing your own server monitoring solution, it’s important to consider whether this is likely to be an issue, either now or in the future, as a number of server monitoring software platforms include tools that ensure the right data is tracked and analysed, to help build up the most accurate, useful picture of your infrastructure’s performance.
Tip 2. Develop an effective system for alerts
As we touched on above, effective server monitoring can ensure human intervention is mobilised as quickly as possible when it’s required. However, it’s important to implement a well-considered alerting system, otherwise you run the risk of alerts not being prioritised as required or – worse – lost amidst the daily email traffic. Your alerting system should categorise alerts based on seriousness, and ensure they are sent to the appropriate person or team through multiple channels (not just email), to ensure they are resolved as quickly as possible, via documented processes.
Tip 3. Select the right server monitor and dashboard
Although it is possible to build your own monitoring tools in-house, there are a number of established open-source solutions already available, which can dramatically simplify things for your business. These include:
- Beamium and Noderig
Each of these offer distinctive advantages and disadvantages, so consider the available options carefully before making your decision. In particular, consider the specific metrics you wish to track, and how you would like them to be displayed. It’s vital that you can always see how your servers are performing at a glance. All of these can be installed on OVHcloud dedicated servers, as you enjoy full root access as a user!
However, bear in mind that OVHcloud utilises its own internal monitoring system for all servers in its datacentres. This streamlines and automates the process of monitoring a bare-metal server’s performance in real time, drawing on key metrics like CPM, RAM and disk space. There are two types of monitoring implemented at OVHcloud, which ensure that the performance and health of customer solutions hosted in OVHcloud datacentres:
- Host monitoring. Managing the physical hardware.
- Application monitoring. Monitoring the solutions hosted on a server.
This means that should you ever make the decision to move from an on-premises infrastructure to the cloud, or servers hosted in our datacentres, you can continue to monitor your systems in the way you are accustomed to.