Infrastructure monitoring ensures that all your containers and hosts are always up and running. In this article, you will learn how Infrastructure monitoring works, its benefits and potential use cases.

Infrastructure monitoring is a critical part of any modern organization’s IT infrastructure. It helps to ensure that your systems are working as expected, and it can also help you identify issues early on so that they can be resolved quickly.

But how do you know if your infrastructure is healthy? What should you look for? How do you monitor various parts of your network and servers?

This comprehensive guide will answer these questions and more!

Table of Contents
 

What is Infrastructure monitoring? 

Infrastructure monitoring is the process of collecting and analyzing data about a system or application. It can be used to detect and identify issues before they impact users and to identify and resolve issues after users are impacted.

Infrastructure monitoring tools help you monitor your infrastructure by providing real-time visibility into critical components such as servers, networks, and applications. The most common types of monitoring tools include:

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  • Log monitoring softwareLog monitoring tools can be used to search through log files (such as those generated by network devices), looking for specific events that indicate problems with your systems or application. They may also include rulesets that allow them to filter out noise when searching large amounts of data.
  • Network monitoring tools – There are two types of network monitoring tools: network performance and device monitoring. These tools capture packets on their way through an internet protocol (IP) network so they can be analyzed later without interfering with normal operation.

How Infrastructure monitoring works

Infrastructure monitoring tracks the performance, availability, and resource utilization of containers, hosts, and other backend components.

Infrastructure monitoring typically entails instrumenting a host by installing an agent. With Middleware infrastructure monitoring, you can start the instrumentation process with a straightforward guided installation. Our agent recognizes the running applications and log sources in your environment and automatically recommends the correct agent for your application. 

Once fully instrumented with your host, our agent will collect system data and send it to our infrastructure monitoring solution’s backend engine to process the data and display the results in real-time (and historically) in the unified dashboard. 

Here’s a small architecture diagram showing you how Middleware collects and processes your data to provide you with robust Infrastructure monitoring:

How Middleware's infrastructure monitoring works

Agentless monitoring

Infrastructure monitoring can be either done with an agent or agentless.

Agentless monitoring uses protocols that can effectively monitor and manage infrastructure without the need for human intervention.

It works great in cases where there are human resource constraints or limited resources. Servers, storage devices, and more all make use of agentless infrastructure monitoring.

Infrastructure monitoring in the age of digital transformation

Global infrastructure monitoring market

Infrastructure monitoring is a key part of digital transformation. It’s important to monitor your infrastructure and identify issues early, so you can resolve them quickly. This will help ensure that your business runs smoothly and efficiently while also providing insights into how well the digital transformation program is working in general.

Infrastructure monitoring can be used multiple ways to identify gaps in service delivery or compliance with regulations such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).

What are the benefits of Infrastructure monitoring?

The primary benefit of infrastructure monitoring is the ability to proactively react to worst-case scenarios, saving Dev’s time and Ops’ money. As a result, infrastructure monitoring is always at the core of every operation. 

Benefits of Infrastructure Monitoring

Once implemented well, you’ll get the following benefits:

1. Boost reliability

Using infrastructure monitoring not only helps DevOps discover current issues but also assists in quickly resolving them. As a result, It reduces the Incident resolution time boosting reliability and reducing end-user complaints.

2. Improved resource management

Resources are often one of the significant and most important parts of any infrastructure. That’s why DevOps and SRE teams always pay special attention to resource management. You should never have fewer resources than you need, nor should you have more resources than needed. Instead, you should aim to have the most optimal amount of resources. Infrastructure monitoring helps you understand what is optimal for you.  

3. Improved testing 

When you deploy any new applications, update existing ones, or reconfigure a part of your Infrastructure that your application relies on, you need to check that all your systems and apps aren’t negatively affected by this change. Infrastructure monitoring allows you to constantly check how your apps operate before and after reconfiguring.

4. Early problem detection

Infrastructure monitoring helps you collect & analyze real-time and periodic data. Using this data, you can get a close understanding of what’s going on in your Infrastructure. You can also run scans to detect any issues in your Infrastructure. By doing this, you can identify problems early on in your Infrastructure before they affect your workflow and work towards fixing them.

5. Improved security

Security is always an integral part of any organization. Monitoring your Infrastructure can help you identify security threats and compromises to help you improve security. For example, adding a few suspicious users with unexpected privileges can indicate a possible security breach. 

6. Increase ROI

In today’s cloud-native world, Infrastructure monitoring significantly impacts a company’s return on investment. Further, DevOps and SRE teams devote less effort to monitoring your IT systems and more time to providing better value to your end-user. 

What are Infrastructure monitoring use cases?

Operations teams, SREs (site reliability engineers), and DevOps engineers generally use infrastructure monitoring to help them:

Troubleshoot performance issues

Infrastructure monitoring is commonly used to stop issues from turning into outages. An infrastructure monitoring tool can display which hosts, containers, or other backend components failed or encountered latency during an incident. In addition, engineers can identify which hosts or containers were down when an outage occurred.

Network and infrastructure performance management

Many Infrastructure monitoring tools also offer separate solutions for network and infrastructure performance management or include application monitoring in a suite of their monitoring services. 

Depending on your solution, you can ensure that your applications aren’t negatively affecting your network or the rest of your Infrastructure. Since today’s applications can take up a significant chunk of network resources, your company must ensure that they have the proper Infrastructure to support their business applications.

Alternatively, you may have a network monitoring solution that can contain APM capabilities. These tools usually examine application performance from a network perspective, showing how your business apps affect network performance and security.

Forecast backend requirements

Businesses can anticipate future resource demand by looking at historical infrastructure measurements. For instance, if some hosts were under-provisioned during a recent product launch, you can specify additional CPU and RAM in the future during similar events to reduce stress on crucial systems.

Configuration assurance testing

While discussing the benefits of Infrastructure monitoring, we specified improved testing, which is also one of the most popular use cases. SMBs and Mid-size companies usually use Infrastructure monitoring to ensure their applications don’t crash during or after a feature update. 

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Best practices for Infrastructure monitoring

You can’t manage what you don’t measure.

That’s the first rule of any data-driven organization, and it also applies to infrastructure monitoring. If you want your team to be able to predict problems before they happen, it’s important for them to have visibility into all aspects of their environment.

To achieve this goal, IT professionals should use an integrated approach that includes tools from across multiple categories:

  • Monitoring tools that are integrated into development processes.
  • Scalable monitoring solutions scale with infrastructure changes (e.g., adding new servers).
  • Monitoring solutions that monitor each layer of infrastructure separately (e.g., network devices), including SDN controllers or software-defined WANs (SD-WANs).

What are the best Infrastructure monitoring tools?

A wide variety of infrastructure monitoring tools are available, but they all share similar features. For example:

  • Real-time insights into your IT infrastructure
  • Easy installation and setup
  • Available on-premises or in the cloud

The best way to prevent these problems is to have a comprehensive and automated system in place that can be accessed from any location.

A secure, scalable infrastructure will help you maintain control and reduce costs while ensuring faster response times when issues arise.

1. Middleware

Middleware is a full-stack observability platform that provides Infrastructure Monitoring capabilities to modern IT teams. The tool helps you track the root causes of an error using its traces, logs and metrics. 

It also tracks the health & performance of your complete tech stack. With over 50+ Integrations to improve your overall workflow, it reduces the gap between front-end and back-end data visible in a single integrated dashboard.

2. Nagios Core

Nagios Core is the best choice if you’re looking for a comprehensive, feature-rich, and easy-to-use monitoring tool. This open-source software application monitors remote hosts and networks, alerting users to any developing problems.

Nagios Core can be used as part of an infrastructure monitoring solution that monitors all servers in your company or organization, including operating systems (OS), applications, connectivity issues, and much more!

3. Munin

Munin is a system for collecting and displaying time-series data. It can be used to monitor local or remote hosts and run on an internal server and multiple external hosts.

Munin was originally written by David Wheeler in Perl and continues to be developed by many people working together under the Munin Project. The project has been forked from MRTG (the Monitor Remote Traffic Grapher), which was itself based on RRDTool.

4. Icinga and Icingabeat

Icinga is an open-source monitoring tool that’s been around for a long time. It was created by Nagios but has since been forked into its project.

Icingabeat is an extension of Icinga that provides the ability to monitor network devices, servers, and applications. It can be used on top of any existing infrastructure management system (such as Nagios) or as a stand-alone platform with its built-in user interface.

5. Grafana

Grafana is a tool for visualizing time series data. It can be used with other tools to create a dashboard, and it’s used by many organizations to monitor their infrastructure, applications, and services.

Grafana allows you to set up alerts when something goes wrong—for example, if your server load increases suddenly or if a user logs in from the same IP address too many times in a row (these are two common indicators of problems). You can also configure Grafana to send notifications whenever an alert occurs.

6. InfluxDB and Telegraf

Telegraf is an agent that collects, aggregates, and writes metrics to InfluxDB. It can collect data from a wide variety of sources, including Kubernetes configuration files, Prometheus time series databases, Graphite collectors, and more.

Telegraf uses Go as its programming language.

What are Infrastructure monitoring challenges?

With so many tools available, it’s important to know what features and capabilities each tool have to offer before you purchase one. You need to make sure that you have the right tool for your needs:

Will it integrate with your existing systems? Does it work well with other software products? Is it easy for employees in different departments (like IT or finance) who aren’t familiar with technology?

And of course, how much does this thing cost?

Depending on which features are most important in your organization and how you plan on using them—whether they’re used regularly or only once in a while—you may want something even more powerful than what’s available today.

Read Also: How to build a robust cloud strategy

Another challenge is easy integration with any other IT management tool.

This approach will allow you to see the big picture and make informed decisions about your environment’s performance.

For example, suppose you’re using a monitoring solution that monitors network devices in addition to servers. In that case, it can alert you when an application experiences slow response times or high latency, but there aren’t any issues with its infrastructure (e.g., load balancers).

How to get started monitoring Infrastructure?

There are many ways to get started monitoring infrastructure. Here are some of the most common:

  • Use a third-party service like Middleware to monitor your site’s performance and availability. Our services can be used for web applications and serverless functions, so you don’t need to manage any code on your servers. We have integrations with GitLab CI/CD, AWS Lambda/S3 triggers, etc., making it very convenient for you to monitor your application or migrating existing ones over time.
  • Use open source tools such as Prometheus (for monitoring application metrics), Grafana (for dashboards), Graphite (for database metrics), and InfluxDB (for time series database). All these tools provide different types of information; it’s up to you which one fits best into how you want things done!

How to monitor and proactively manage your Infrastructure

Monitoring your infrastructure is not just about performance. It’s also about your applications and services’ health and dependencies.

You must monitor everything from cloud providers to network devices, servers and storage arrays, application servers, and other components to manage them proactively.

And while monitoring these elements is important on its merit (and there might be times when you need only basic information), how you use it sets apart an effective monitoring strategy.

By understanding why it’s important for you to do so—and then taking action accordingly—you can ensure that your company remains secure without sacrificing productivity or efficiency.

Conclusion

We hope this article will help you understand what infrastructure monitoring is, how it can benefit your business and why it’s so important.

If you don’t have a tool yet, we recommend Middleware as an ideal solution for your needs. It has all the features necessary to empower DevOps teams and enable Agile development practices – without worrying about manual work!

Sign up on the platform to see how we can help you with Infrastructure monitoring