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Infrastructure monitoring software tools capture log files from throughout the network and aggregate them into a single database where they can be sorted, queried and analyzed by either humans or machine algorithms.
IT organizations implement specialized software tools that aggregate data in the form of event logs from throughout the organization's IT infrastructure. Event logs are automatically computer-generated by network applications or devices in response to traffic or user activity. These log files contain information, such as the time and date that the event occurred, the user that was logged into the machine, the name of the computer, a unique identifier, the source of the event and a description of the event type.
IT organizations can detect infrastructure performance and operational issues, identify possible security breaches or malicious attacks and identify new areas of business opportunity with infrastructure monitoring. Any endpoint or application connected to your organization's network is a potential attack vector for a malicious actor who wishes to access your organization's sensitive or proprietary data. In addition to cloud monitoring, it's best practice to monitor your hardware, i.e. server monitoring, and network device for performance issues on an ongoing basis, especially when a hardware failure could result in unplanned downtime or lost revenue.
Hardware monitoring tools capture infrastructure metrics from the sensors that can be found in computers and other machines. These can include battery life data, power and load sensors, current and voltage sensors, fan speed sensors and user-defined artificial sensors that collect data on the operating system. Monitoring fan sensors, for example, can help you identify a malfunctioning fan before its failure causes a server or computer to overheat.
Network monitoring helps to verify that your organization's internal network is functioning appropriately and delivering the expected levels of speed and network performance. With network infrastructure monitoring tools, you can track the transfer rates and connectivity levels that users are experiencing on the network and monitor incoming and outgoing connections. Network monitoring can help your IT organization respond proactively when an unauthorized user attempts to access your network.
Application monitoring is a critical aspect of application infrastructure monitoring. Software applications deployed on your servers may be used by members of your IT organization or by customers of the business. In either case, applications represent a potential attack vector for a malicious actor and a powerful operational and business intelligence source. With today's infrastructure monitoring tools, organizations can track application user behavior to obtain operational insights and identify business opportunities.
Infrastructure monitoring creates opportunities to proactively identify security risks and mitigate operational issues before they negatively impact customers. Here are five best practices you can follow to help you achieve and maximize the benefits associated with infrastructure monitoring:
Choose a reliable vendor partner - Businesses with mature IT organizations face a difficult choice regarding infrastructure monitoring: "Do we purchase a tool from a vendor or develop our own?" A reliable vendor partner can offer one-on-one assistance and consultation, helping you configure and get the most value from your infrastructure monitoring solution. Their expertise and knowledge are more than worth the investment.
Organize and prioritize notifications - Your infrastructure generates huge amounts of data each day in the form of event logs. You will need to configure your software to deliver notifications about specific types of events for active monitoring. You should determine which types of notifications get the highest priority, as these will represent the events that require urgent action. Your team should be immediately alerted to major incidents like server outages and possible security breaches, while incidents of lesser urgency should receive lower-priority treatment.
Configure a comprehensive alert system - Aim for high specificity and coverage when configuring alerts. The more alerts you can create, the more likely you are that an important event will quickly be brought to your attention. You may want to list "high-priority events" and configure a specific alert that matches each one. Configuring alerts with specific parameters reduces the number of false positives generated by the alerting system.
Review baseline metrics and KPIs regularly - The metrics and KPIs used to configure your alerting system may not remain stable over time. It is important to periodically review how these alerts are configured to determine whether any changes are necessary.
Get the right dashboards to the right people - Infrastructure monitoring software tools can be configured to present processed data in a dashboard. A dashboard is simply a way of visualizing information. Dashboards can be configured to provide operational data, give business insights or highlight anomalous events that could represent security threats. To leverage this data effectively, you should customize dashboards for each role — a security dashboard for IT security analysts, operational dashboards for ITOps and a financial or business metrics dashboard for sales managers or your CFO.
Since the proliferation of big data, organizations have realized that shortening the data cycle and increasing the velocity of data between creation and usage offers a distinct competitive advantage. In the past, IT organizations might take days or weeks to analyze batches of operational data.
Explore how you can monitor application and business health with Sumo Logic log analytics.
Today, organizations can achieve infrastructure monitoring and troubleshooting in real time using Sumo Logic. With data moving from event logs through Sumo Logic's data aggregator into dashboards at record speeds, IT organizations can make smarter business decisions, act on security threats instantly and reduce unplanned application downtime. Learn more about Sumo Logic’s infrastructure monitoring solution.
Reduce downtime and move from reactive to proactive monitoring.