Due to rapid cloud adoption and with never-ending user requirements, the Azure architecture might become complex and you might eventually lose sight of the overall cloud estate and how it relates to each other.
Since the Azure portal was designed in a technology vertical silo and it has near zero application visibility, it is not possible to monitor them as a business application in the Azure portal.
Hence, finding an appropriate monitoring tool to monitor the Azure resources in a business application context is inevitable.
With the native Azure monitoring tool, it can be a challenging task for even the most skilled and expert team because of its complex and overlap offerings. In certain cases, there is more than one tool that does the same thing as others.
If you have tried to set up monitoring in the Azure portal, you might have faced a situation where one tool-A would require monitoring a resource-R, but if you want to do another monitoring activity on the same resource-R, then you would need to use tool-B. This might certainly lead a user to confusion.
You can take a look at our pillar page dedicated to Azure Monitoring to get better insights on the topic.
Why use other tools for Azure Monitoring when the portal itself offers Azure Monitor?
Azure Monitor is a solution to monitor Azure entities. A consolidated report on the status of all the azure entities participated in the business application is required. It is a challenging task to correlate the reports on every entity. Azure Monitoring tools can provide this type of consolidated reporting.
It’s every alert rule that is strongly tied to an entity. It allows a couple of metrics to configure for monitoring. Advanced tools can monitor multiple entities on an extensive list of metrics. It can monitor serverless applications based on various perspectives such as availability, reliability, performance, etc.
The below image will show you the difference between “What can be monitored?”
Azure Monitoring tools like Serverless360 provides indispensable monitoring features to help elevate the support and operations team.
They provide granular user access policy, azure governance, and audit capabilities. These tools offer a variety of monitors that will help you to monitor the status of Logic Apps, Dead Lettered Message processing in Service Bus Queue/Topic Subscription, and much more.
Major challenges faced by the users in Azure monitors
I would also like to highlight some of the key challenges that any user would undergo in real-time monitoring the pre-production and production environments.
- Have you ever felt the importance of monitoring your Azure resources at the application level? If yes, then achieving it using Azure monitors is a very big challenge, as they only provide resource-level monitoring for the siloed Azure resources.
- Azure Monitors cannot provide visibility on the Service Bus messages and also it is not possible to reprocess the dead lettered messages where you cannot repair & resubmit those messages.
- In Azure Monitor, adding conditions to an alert rule comes with a huge challenge where the users are allowed to only 2 conditions per rule, and the ideal cost for adding those conditions would be $0.20. And hence, if you want to have more conditions, the only option available is to increase the number of alerts which would not be economical.
- It doesn’t support monitoring the Azure resources on an extensive list of metrics, as only two metric conditions can be added to an alert rule.
- Another challenge that users face is its inability to monitor the resources based on properties at the required interval and to quickly detect violation in the state or property of an Azure resource.
- Achieving consolidated monitoring of Azure resources is not possible in Azure monitor which is necessary to get the overall health status of the application for a bird-eye view.
All these challenges can be resolved by using some advanced tools like Serverless360, Cerebrata, and a few more.
Below, we have listed down some top Azure Monitor alternative tools that might help you overcome the above challenges.
Alternatives to Azure Monitor
Serverless360 is not just a monitoring tool but it also has out-of-the-box managing capabilities. It eases out the pressure on the support team by helping to quickly identify and troubleshoot the issues that arise out of the blue.
Significant Features of Serverless360
This feature allows us to logically group the siloed Azure resources that take part in a business solution into a Business Application. Any application is generally built using more than one Azure service. If this is the case, then monitoring them at the Application level is highly important and this can be accomplished by using Serverless360’s Business Application.
Once you have grouped the resources for Application-level monitoring, the user would expect to have a better understanding of the relationships between the resources associated with a Business Application. This can be done using Service Map where it helps to visualize how the resources in a Business Application are related to each other.
Wide Range of Monitoring
When it comes to monitoring, the Serverless360 is one step ahead of Azure monitor because understanding the problems faced by the enterprises giving out the possible monitoring solution that assists the users to monitor the distributed Azure Integration services under a single pane of glass.
Serverless360 provides simplified monitoring settings with the following parameters:
- Rules evaluation frequency : All the resources associated with the chosen Business Application will be monitored based on the frequency.
- Aggregation period : All the metrics of the resources associated with the chosen Business application will be aggregated using the metric’s Primary Aggregation Type, based on the Aggregation Period provided.
- Status report : A status report of the resources associated with this Business application that is chosen to be monitored will be sent in the selected hours.
- Recipient email configuration : Alerts are generally sent to mentioned Email addresses. Users can configure more than one email address and can also choose if the alerts can be sent to all the email addresses in a single go or as separate emails.
- Notification channels : Besides Email alerts, third-party Notification Channels can also be configured to receive alerts from Serverless360. Notification Channels that are already configured in the Settings section, can be chosen in the list shown.
In Serverless360, N number of monitors can be associated with an Azure resource with no extra charges.
Distributed Tracing of Azure Integration
Serverless360 also offers Business Activity Monitoring which provides complete visibility and distributed tracing on the business transactions involved in your applications where BAM makes it easy for the support team to get to the issue quickly and to recover from issues faster.
This is another alternative to Azure monitor which will be of great help to individuals looking to manage Azure resources which also makes it easy to manage your resources from an operating system of your choice as it can be downloaded in Windows, Mac or Linux.
Cerebrata currently supports managing the following Azure resources
It supports monitoring all types of Storage Accounts including Blobs, File, Queues, and Table Storage where it has features like upload, download, copy, bulk operations on containers, bulk operations on shares, one-click share restore, monitoring queues, copying/moving messages from one queue to another, query manager, saved queries, copying entities from one table to another, download and more.
It provides all the necessary management capabilities for the Cosmos DB accounts where it also extends its support for managing data in accounts like Cosmos DB SQL API, Table API and Gremlin API. It includes features like viewing the documents in multiple formats, built-in query manager, stored procedures, and more.
Cerebrata makes the management of Redis Cache Accounts, Databases & keys super easy by offering features like purging database, hierarchical viewing of keys, and much more.
Cerebrata offers several features when it comes to Azure Service Bus where it allows to manage and perform operations on Service Bus messages, Queues, Topics and Subscriptions. It also supports sending messages, setting up filters, enabling/disabling queues, full support for dead-letter queues, purge messages, etc.
In addition to these, Cerebrata supports managing the indexes, indexers, synonyms, data sources, and data in your Cognitive Search accounts.
It can also manage and perform operations on Azure subscriptions and on Cloud Services running in your subscription.
- It has a feature called favorites where you can group or bookmark the resources for quick access. It also allows to group the resource in a separate folder or sub-folder.
- Azure applications associated with Cerebrata can be easily customized according to your preferences.
- It supports grouping the resources based on its environment (Not possible in Azure monitor) “Development”, “Testing” or “Production” for easier identification and management of resources.
- The long-running operations including blob uploads & downloads are executed using out-of-process background tasks where it helps to keep the tasks running even after Cerebrata has been terminated.
- It supports setting permissions on resources to avoid accidental deletes or updates.
To wrap up, any Azure monitoring tool will have its pros and cons. So, it would be better to know the key features/benefits and the disadvantages of any monitoring tool before choosing it for your business. To help you with that, I have highlighted some of the best monitoring tools and their features that can be used as an alternative to Azure monitors.