DevOps teams face increasing challenges in delivery. Far from the legacy practices of build – test – release, the development cycle now moves at breakneck speed. Development teams are looking at faster, more agile delivery while minimizing the risk of defects.
To meet end-user demands, your team needs to rely on tools that will automate the process. Monitoring tools in DevOps will provide you with crucial information about service, performance, security, and more.
The DevOps toolbox can include everything from integration management to delivery management. How can you know what tools are right for your team? And why are DevOps tools so essential?
Why Monitoring Is Critical for DevOps
DevOps is a bridge between development and IT operations. The more tightly integrated these two worlds, the more responsive your team can be in managing issues that may arise. Otherwise, you can find yourself in a situation where one team is waiting on the other to complete their responsibilities.
Many DevOps team follows the principles of continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD). Both CI/CD and other agile environments need DevOps tools that support this effort. In addition to performing monitoring functions, your tools should allow your DevOps team to collaborate and provide key metrics.
Why are DevOps monitoring tools so critical? Because you cannot effectively deliver using CI/CD practices without them. Even environments that do not implement CI/CD, but are still agile, need tools to deliver what the business and users need.
Continuous monitoring will benefit your DevOps team in many ways, including providing:
- Increased visibility into code changes
- Automated collaboration between teams
- Improved environments for experimentation
- Change management
- Monitoring of dependent systems
- Alerts and incident management
Let’s take a look at some of the available monitoring tools, how they benefit your DevOps team, and some of the major players in the market.
1. Cloud Platform Monitoring
With a cloud-based infrastructure, you need to review and manage the operational workflow. Your overall cloud management strategy should include monitoring the status of your resources.
Monitoring will confirm the availability and performance of websites, servers, applications, and other cloud infrastructure. You want to be aware of emerging defects so that you can stop a minor issue from becoming a major problem.
Depending on your cloud platform, you can use some of the tools offered by your provider. Amazon Cloudwatch, Microsoft Cloud Monitoring, and Google Cloud Operations can monitor within their own platforms. You can also use tools such as Datadog, Redgate, or PagerDuty.
2. Application and Infrastructure Monitoring
You want to ensure that your applications are running smoothly and as expected. Application monitoring will give you sight into the performance, availability, and user experience of your applications.
Application monitoring is critical for your business because it gives you insight into the user experience. Just because an application is running, doesn’t mean that it is in a healthy state. Often applications have many moving parts and you need to understand the health and performance of modules and components.
Nagios is an open source infrastructure monitoring tool with several solutions. AppDynamics and New Relic can help you target bottlenecks in your application’s framework.
3. Identity and Access Management
Not everyone thinks of identity management when it comes to DevOps. However, DevOps can improve security with identity management. Identity access management (IAM) tools will validate that your development team has the right access across your infrastructure and development pipelines.
In CI/CD environments, the right people must have the right access to do their jobs effectively. This includes access to the right development, testing, staging, and production systems. Your team cannot be slowed down by waiting for resources.
Most people are familiar with ActiveDirectory, and AWS also has IAM tools. Oracle Solutions also offers scalable IAM solutions. Ultimately, you want a tool in place that can be deployed for both your on-premise and cloud environments and not slow your team down.
4. Build Monitoring
Your build process cannot be manual, nor can you risk problems in your builds. Build monitoring tools can track and monitor different jobs. Tools can also automate compiling a build when triggered to do so. Your team should be alerted of the status of builds, including build failures.
Continuous builds are a key component of CI/CD. You can’t be waiting on a build or relying on multiple teams across different projects to coordinate.
Teams need to be able to deploy in their own environments independently. At the same time, you should have gates that prevent untested code from being deployed.
Jenkins, BuildMaster, and GitLab offer tools for build monitoring across different platforms.
5. Code Quality Monitoring
Code quality is important since it impacts overall software quality. Your codebase should be both reliable and secure. While developers are not perfect, coding errors lead to risk.
Monitoring code quality can ensure that your code does what it should, is consistent, and can be tested. Manual review of code is not possible. Instead, you need tools that can use code quality monitoring tools.
These tools can operate on static code analysis rules to protect your application. Code quality monitoring can range from scanning code for best practices to identifying potential security risks. Overall, your risks will be decreased, and your technical debt reduced.
SonarQube and Fortify are both code monitoring tools that work across multiple languages.
6. Performance Testing Benchmark Monitoring
As a DevOps team, you should agree on performance metrics. This will help to determine the quality of your application. You can maintain the availability of your applications and ensure that your user experience meets expectations.
Benchmark testing may apply to both your applications and network performance. While it is good to also have baseline testing in place, baseline testing focuses on the experience from the end user’s point-of-view. Benchmark testing takes the organization’s point-of-view.
Performance testing focuses on speed, scalability, reliability, and load capacity. It also focuses on performance under stress. Micro Focus Loadrunner and Apache JMeter can be used to test a wide range of applications and integrated into your development tools.
7. Security Monitoring
Cybersecurity threats are constantly growing and changing. DevOps teams need to make sure that their systems are secure with continuous monitoring.
Security monitoring begins with establishing a baseline so that you know what is “normal” for your environment. From there, a monitoring solution can detect changes or anomalies and alert your team.
Monitoring may include performance, DNS, network, and auditing. You want the monitoring to be automated and configurable at a granular level.
Despite the massive attack on its Orion product, SolarWinds is still considered one of the top platforms for security monitoring. Sumo Logic, Datadog, and IBM Security QRadar are alternatives.
8. Network Monitoring
You want to prevent network outages before they happen so you can reduce risks to your business. Your monitoring tools should use metrics such as latency, bandwidth, CPU usage of hosts, among other things.
Monitoring tools should be looking at both the data coming in and going out of your network. Data should be collected across all components, including switches, firewalls, and servers. You want to be able to trigger an alert when certain thresholds are exceeded, as well as create a log of events.
Solarwinds offers network monitoring products, and AppDynamics and Datadog have tools. Prometheus is a popular open-source platform.
9. Database Monitoring
If your database has performance issues, your application will suffer. You want the optimal performance of your database and the ability to identify or predict issues. Database monitoring will reduce the time spent looking for issues and provide an improved end-user experience.
Your performance metrics should include queries, capacity issues, user conflicts, and configuration issues. These will give you insights into the overall health of your environment. You should also monitor changes to the database, database logs, and historical data.
SolarWinds has Database Performance Analyzer that can monitor many database engines. Paessler PRTG Network Monitor and Redgate SQL Monitor both have extensive SQL monitoring functionalities.
10. Storage Monitoring
Storage should be scalable and uncomplicated. Storage is critical for performance and business-critical applications. Yet, you don’t want to be thinking about your storage needs or have it be a burden on your ability to deliver.
Storage includes not only acquiring new assets but also thinking about how to optimize your existing storage. You should empower engineers to make decisions about storage throughout the development cycle.
Storage monitoring gives you a level of visibility so that you can predict, diagnose, and resolve issues. You should be able to track storage capacity, latency, physical health, failures, and outages. Trends can help you review storage capacity and sent alerts about resource efficiency.
AppDynamics, Nagios, and IntelliMagic all offer tools to manage storage devices.
The Right Monitoring Tools in DevOps
The goal of any DevOps team is to spend more time on coding and the earlier stages of development and less time responding to production issues. By having the right monitoring tools in DevOps, your team can oversee the entire development process. You’ll improve your response to any issues and can be more proactive.