Kentik - Network Observability

Cloud Network Performance Monitoring

The rapid growth of the internet and the proliferation of cloud services that complement traditional enterprise data centers has increased the complexity of network traffic flow patterns. Enterprises are not only aggressively adopting cloud infrastructure (IaaS), development platforms (PaaS) and software (SaaS), but are creating more digital business initiatives that target end-users across the internet with digital offerings such as social media, ecommerce, and mobile applications. 

What is Cloud Network Performance Monitoring?

Cloud Network Performance Monitoring, often called Cloud NPM, refers to the specific application of network performance monitoring practices to networks within cloud environments, including multi-cloud and hybrid cloud infrastructures. Cloud Network Performance monitoring is vital to maintaining efficient and reliable cloud-based services.

Cloud Network Monitoring

Cloud Network Performance Monitoring entails continually measuring, diagnosing, and optimizing a network’s service quality. It provides an accurate reflection of the user experience, helping to ensure the network’s performance aligns with both service-level agreements (SLAs) and user expectations.

By tracking various performance metrics such as bandwidth, throughput, latency, and error rates, Cloud Network Performance Monitoring allows network managers to identify potential issues, optimize network efficiency, and make data-driven decisions to enhance the overall performance of cloud-based networks.

With the shift from traditional data centers to cloud infrastructures, the necessity and complexity of network performance monitoring have significantly increased. This increasing complexity has made Cloud Network Performance Monitoring an essential component of modern network management strategies.

Types of Network Performance Monitoring Data

NPM requires multiple types of measurement or monitoring data on which engineers can perform diagnoses and analyses to extract insightful performance metrics. These are performed using cloud monitoring tools that track network operations. Example categories of NPM monitoring data are:

  • Bandwidth: Measures the raw versus available maximum rate that information can be transferred through various points of the network or along a network path.

  • Throughput: Measures how much information is being or has been transferred.

  • Latency: Measures network delays from the perspective of clients, servers, and applications.

  • Errors: Measures raw numbers and percentages of errors such as Bit Errors, TCP retransmissions, and out-of-order packets

Network managers are confronting a significant challenge: the mismatch of traditional NPM approaches and solutions with their hybrid cloud and increasingly distributed application realities. New approaches are required for effective cloud network monitoring. Learn more about Kentik’s cloud network monitoring solution.

Cloud Network Monitoring KPIs

To maintain efficiency for public, private, and hybrid cloud infrastructures, your cloud monitoring service needs to keep track of a few key performance indicators. Monitoring these metrics will lead to finding opportunities that will increase network speed and efficiency while optimizing resource usage.

Here are some of the KPIs your cloud network monitoring solution should track to optimize performance:

  • Mean time to repair (MTTR) or mean time between failures (time)
  • Production incidents by application/team
  • Number of security lapses (open ports, IAM failures, etc.)
  • Security incidents per month by team

Pre-cloud Network Performance Monitoring Approaches

Legacy network performance monitoring approaches were architected based on pre-cloud assumptions, such as centralized data centers running monolithic applications. As a result, NPM solutions have traditionally utilized an appliance deployment model.  An appliance-based PCAP probe with one or more interfaces connects to router or switch span ports or an intervening packet broker device (such as those offered by Gigamon or Ixia). The appliance records all packets passing across the interface into memory and then into longer-term storage.  Virtual probes may be used in virtualized datacenters, but they are also dependent on network links in one form or another. 

With application components increasingly distributed across cloud environments and users located across the internet as well as within an enterprise WAN, traditional NPM methods of data ingestion become unusable in many cases. For example, packet capture accomplished with physical or virtual appliances does not have a place to instrument in many public cloud environments. 

In addition, the sheer scale of today’s cloudified application communications and the proliferation of network traffic flows means that appliance-based models for storing and performing analysis are becoming outmoded due to pre-cloud storage and computing constraints.

Learn more about using Kentik for cloud infrastructure monitoring.

Cloud Network Monitoring Tools

A cloud-friendly and highly scalable SaaS model for network performance monitoring splits the monitoring function from the storage and analysis functions.  Monitoring is accomplished by deploying lightweight monitoring software agents that export PCAP-based statistics gathered on servers and open-source proxy servers such as HAProxy and NGNIX. Cloud visibility tools also provide IT teams, network engineers, security analysts, and other stakeholders the ability to understand what is happening within cloud environments.

Cloud monitoring tools export statistics that are sent to a SaaS repository that scales horizontally to store unsummarized data and provides big data-based analytics for alerting, diagnostics, and other use cases.  While host-based performance metric export doesn’t offer the full granularity of raw PCAP, it provides a highly scalable and cost-effective method for ubiquitously gathering, retaining, and analyzing key performance data, thus complementing PCAP.

Kentik offers the industry’s only big data-based, SaaS NPM solution that integrates host agent performance metrics and billions of NetFlow, sFlow, IPFIX, and BGP records matched with geolocation data. Start a free trial to try it for yourself or request a demo today.

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