12 Azure Cloud Monitoring Tools & Best Practices

May 22, 2023
Azure Cloud Monitoring Tools
12 Azure Cloud Monitoring Tools & Best Practices

Introduction

Azure cloud monitoring is essential with the increase in Azure cloud utilization across organizations, using different services, and different accounts. Thus monitoring the health, and security of your Azure Infrastructure is crucial for ensuring resilient and efficient operations. To achieve this task, Azure offers various tools and best practices that help you gain insights into your Azure usage, and allows you to proactively detect issues, and maintain a robust and secure environment. In this blog we will explore 12 Azure cloud monitoring tools and best practices. You can also learn more about our Azure Consulting Services and how we help accelerate cloud adoption.

Azure Cloud Adoption Framework (CAF)

CAF provides a set of tools, guidelines, and best practices that can help organizations optimize their Azure usage, it also helps new organizations to build an efficient strategy for migrating their workloads to Azure cloud. Adoption of CAF results in improved governance and security, reduced costs, and increased innovation. CAF comprises of five phases: Assess, Plan, Migrate, Operate, Innovate

CAF Best Practices

  • Assess your current state: Understand your IT environment, business goals, and budget.
  • Define your cloud adoption goals: What do you want to achieve by moving to the cloud?
  • Develop a cloud adoption plan: Outline your approach to migrating workloads, managing costs, and governing your cloud environment.

CAF Tools

  • Cloud Adoption Framework Assessment: This assessment can help you identify your current state and define your cloud adoption goals.
  • Cloud Adoption Framework Planning Guide: This guide can help you develop a cloud adoption plan.
  • Cloud Adoption Framework Migrate Toolkit: This toolkit can help you migrate your workloads to Azure.

Azure Cloud Monitoring Tools

Monitoring Tools Use
Azure Monitor  Centralized monitoring and diagnostics for Azure resources
Azure Log Analytics Log management, data analysis, and query capabilities
Azure Application Insights Performance monitoring and application analytics
Azure Security Center Security monitoring, threat detection, and compliance management
Azure Sentinel Cloud-native security information and event management (SIEM)
Azure Cost Management + Billing Cost tracking, optimization, and budgeting
Azure Advisor Cost optimization, performance improvement, and best practice recommendations
Azure Activity Log Audit logs for tracking user activities and resource changes
Azure Service Health Service health and planned maintenance notifications
Azure Active Directory Identity and access management, including user sign-in monitoring
Azure Information Protection Data classification, labeling, and protection
Azure Policy Policy enforcement and compliance monitoring

Azure Monitor API

The Azure Monitor API is a RESTful API provided by Microsoft Azure that allows developers and administrators to programmatically access and interact with Azure Monitor. It provides a set of endpoints and operations to retrieve monitoring data, manage alerts, query metrics, and perform other monitoring-related tasks.

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Azure Cloud Monitoring Tools & Best Practices

A good strategy is a comprehensive solution for collecting, analyzing, and responding to telemetry from your environment. Utilizing an efficient Azure cloud monitoring strategy is crucial for maintaining the health, performance, and security of your cloud resources. 

Health & Status

  • Best Practice:
    • Use dashboards to monitor all resources in logical divisions. You can   see health of your applications, services, and infrastructure in real time
    • Monitor key metrics such as CPU usage, memory utilization, disk I/O, and network latency to detect and respond to issues
    • Use Azure Service Health to receive real-time notifications on health of Azure services
    • Use Azure Monitor’s action groups and Azure Logic Apps to trigger remediation actions or auto-scale resources based on predefined conditions
  • Tools: Azure Monitor, Azure Dashboard, Azure service health, Azure Log Analytics, Azure Application   Insights.
  • Utility: 
    • Monitor various resources and set alerts based on various parameters
    • Streamline issue resolution
    • Helps in meeting compliance requirements

Security

  • Best Practice
    • Implement a centralized logging and monitoring system using Azure monitor, Azure sentinel, and Azure Security Center
    • Set up real time alerts based on rules and thresholds using Azure Monitor and Azure security center
    • Implement vulnerability scanning and management using Azure Security center’s vulnerability assessment 
  • Tools: Azure Security Center, Azure Sentinel, Azure Monitor, Azure Active Directory.
  • Utility:
    • Implement multiple security measures, including:
    • Intrusion Detection System
    • Suspicious Event Monitoring
    • Logging

Cost Monitoring

  • Best Practices:
    • Regularly monitor the usage of Azure resources using Azure cost management + Billing, Azure Monitor, and Azure Advisor
    • Set up budget alerts and thresholds
    • Utilize serverless and managed services to optimize cost
    • Use tools like Azure Advisor to receive recommendations on improvising cost utilization
  • Tools: Azure Cost Management + Billing, Azure Monitor, Azure Advisor.
  • Utility:
    • Set budgets
    • Monitor resource utilization
    • Implement cost optimizations suggested by Azure Advisor

Activity Monitoring 

  • Best Practices:
    • Capture detailed information about user activities within an Azure environment using Azure Activity log
    • Analyze logs on regular periods using tools like Azure log Analytics
    • Correlate activity logs with Security Information and event management
    • Enforce least privilege access using Role Based Access Control
  • Tools: Azure Activity Log, Azure Log Analytics, Azure Monitor.
  • Utility:
    • Monitor user actions
    • Monitor events like resource provisioning and configuration changes
    • Perform log and event analysis

Capacity & Performance

  • Best Practices:
    • Ensure that resources are not over or under provisioned by monitoring using Azure monitor
    • Define alert rules to receive notification in case of some problem with resources
    • Implement caching and utilize Azure CDN to deliver data
    • Use serverless and managed services to optimize efficiency
  • Tools: Azure Monitor, Azure Service Health, Azure Log Analytics.
  • Utility:
    • Track CPU usage
    • Track Memory usage
    • Set up Alerts based on various parameters

Change & Compliance

  • Best Practices:
    • Implement Infrastructure As Code to efficiently maintain different versions of environments 
    • Enable auditing and diagnostic logs for your azure resources
    • Analyze logs using Log Analytics regularly
    • Conduct regular compliance assessments and audits
    • Maintain up-to date documentation for your Azure environment, including configurations and compliance reports
  • Tools: Azure Activity Log, Azure Security Center, Azure Policy, Azure Log Analytics.
  • Utility:
    • Monitor for compliance violation
    • Log configuration changes
    • Implement various policies

Identity & Access

  • Best Practices:
    • Utilize a central identity provider for authentication and authorization like Azure Active Directory
    • Grant permissions based on roles and groups by utilizing RBAC
    • Implement strong password policies
    • Regularly train and educate users on security practices
  • Tools: Azure Active Directory, Azure Monitor, Azure Log Analytics.
  • Utility:
    • Monitor user activities after sign-in
    • Track access attempts made by user
    • Implement multi-factor authentication

Conclusion

In conclusion, a robust Azure cloud monitoring strategy is essential for optimal utilization of cloud resources, and Azure provides both generic tools like Azure monitor that can perform multiple tasks, as well as task specific monitoring tools. Azure also provides framework and best practices to help you figure out the right tools, services, and strategy for your environment.

Reference:

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cloud-adoption-framework/

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/cloud-adoption-framework/strategy/monitoring-strategy 

Microsoft Cloud Adoption Framework for Azure | Microsoft Azure

https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/get-started/azure-portal/service-health/

https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/monitor/