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Simply described, server monitoring is the systematic tracking, measurement, or observation of server activities and operations. To make these processes easier, a server management service can be used. The purpose of this is to improve the obtained data about the health and status of the server and ensure that it performs at its best.
What is Server Monitoring?
Previously, deploying new servers required significant investment in data centers, hardware, and the creation of extra technical support and administration skills. IT businesses may access extra servers to perform a range of needs with low expense in today’s increasingly cloud-focused enterprise computing ecosystem. Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) services are provided by cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Service (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure on a pay-per-use basis, allowing businesses to scale their networking, storage, servers, and virtualization capabilities in the most cost-effective way possible.
As more servers are moved to the cloud, security may become a greater problem. Each extra network endpoint or cloud-deployed application is a possible attack vector for a hostile actor to get network access. Maintaining the speed and availability of servers, as well as their security posture, may help to improve the customer experience and reduce unplanned downtime.
Because of these issues, businesses that rely on cloud-based servers must employ server monitoring solutions that assist keep cloud servers secure while also measuring their performance and availability. Depending on the kind of server, server monitoring can have different aims and track different key performance indicators (KPIs), but the fundamental goal of server monitoring is to safeguard the server from probable failures that would disrupt service availability.
Why is server monitoring essential?
A server monitor ensures the performance and functioning of various servers (web servers, app servers, email servers) and provides a number of advantages, including:
- Website monitoring aids in the real-time evaluation of servers: Website monitoring solutions allow you to examine the health and performance of your servers in real-time by keeping track of critical parameters that are important for a well-functioning infrastructure. In this manner, you can always do the required maintenance to keep everything running well.
- Website monitoring software aids in the detection of bottlenecks: A measure that is out of range is a sign that there is a problem. A good server monitoring system aids in the detection of bottlenecks so that they may be addressed before they worsen.
- Website monitoring helps to create an error-free, automated environment: By automating operations and performing inspections on its own, a trustworthy server monitoring system will take on time-consuming chores. Its added degree of automation eliminates the need for system administrators to manually verify log files, lowering the chance of human mistakes.
- Website monitoring aids security management: Whether we’re talking about a web server or another form of server, infrastructure monitoring is critical to security orchestration. IT managers have a better grasp of a company’s security posture when they use a security tool.
- Website monitoring software optimizes resources: A high level of automation equates to efficiency. People may focus on the jobs where they make a difference rather than collecting and analyzing data since resources are used better and more efficiently.
- Stakeholders are kept pleased with a decent server monitoring tool: Because it provides a pleasant end-user experience, a working server makes staff and consumers pleased.
What is a virtual server?
A virtual server (VS) is separate from the hardware, unlike a traditional server, which is usually a real machine running an operating system and one or more server applications. A virtual server is a shared software environment that mimics the operations of a physical server. When administrators realized that their companies weren’t getting the most out of their hardware servers, they became popular. If a corporation only uses 20% of its capacity, for example, it might be wasting money on processing power that it doesn’t require.
Physical servers require considerable management, maintenance, security checks, and other services, all of which are costly. As a result, firms aiming to save costs and increase ROI may consider migrating their servers to a virtual environment.
Virtual servers are often obtained from specialized suppliers. These companies run infrastructures that are made up of hundreds upon thousands of physical servers located in data centers all around the world. Using cutting-edge web-based interfaces, businesses can rent and operate servers entirely online.
Administrators may also easily set up and manage their virtual servers. This enables them to scale up in response to a sudden surge in activity and then scale down afterward. Virtualization companies only charge for the amount of power used, thus employing virtual servers instead of actual servers may save you a lot of money.
Multiple virtual servers, often running as virtual machines (VMs), can share the underlying hardware by abstracting from the hardware layer. Hardware resources may be dimensioned according to each VM’s needs, allowing them to be used more efficiently. This is frequently accomplished through the use of a hypervisor, which distributes hardware resources such as CPU utilization, disk usage/space, RAM, and hard drive space across virtual machines.
What is server performance monitoring?
Website monitoring is a wide word that refers to a server’s overall health, whereas server performance monitoring focuses solely on performance data. Memory and CPU usage, as well as disk I/O and network throughput, are the most important indicators for a physical server. Depending on the kind of virtual server, performance metrics may include database or web server response time, network bandwidth use, and other indicators of resource utilization.
Website monitoring performance is crucial for a variety of reasons. For starters, it is frequently predictive – slowdowns and other performance concerns may be informative in assisting IT in identifying impending problems. Capacity management tools may be used to predict what resources will be required to support a new application or other workloads, and bottlenecks can be valuable in identifying where component or service improvements are required.
Another important factor to consider while measuring server performance is compliance. Many businesses pledge to deliver a specific degree of uptime or performance, which is crucial in high-stress areas like financial trading, SaaS solutions, and streaming media. Compliance fines might be harsh if performance falls below specific standards.
What is open source monitoring?
Open-source monitoring is a monitoring solution based on open-source software, which frequently incorporates additional open-source tools or the usage of Linux.
When it comes to monitoring IT infrastructure, however, these solutions aren’t only for Linux servers; they can generally monitor all major operating systems.
Users may also inspect, modify, and distribute the underlying code using open-source software.
Open-source software is crucial to the monitoring system in an open-source monitoring configuration. It usually uses Linux and other open-source solutions, and it keeps track of IT and server infrastructure (for Linux or proprietary servers).
Open-source software refers to programs whose code may be accessed, modified, and distributed by anyone. Although open-source tools may function as well as commercial ones, many users prefer the latter since they are typically easier to install and use. Commercial server monitoring technologies (often cloud-based) are usually turnkey, making them easier to use and providing a better user experience.
Best Monitoring Tools for Servers
While server management software comes in a variety of flavors, each one focuses on a particular aspect of monitoring. We’ll go through 4 of the top server monitoring tools and their unique features in this part.
Sematext is a cloud monitoring platform that enables real-time observability for the whole technological stack by providing a full suite of solutions for infrastructure and application performance monitoring, log management, synthetic monitoring, and actual user monitoring. It is used by over 10,000 organizations, including some of the world’s greatest corporations.
Sematext offers full-stack infrastructure monitoring solutions for both on-premise and cloud installations. It provides information about apps, servers, containers, processes, databases, and much more, allowing users to assess the health of the infrastructure.
Sematext uses completely customizable monitoring and alarms to assist detect the core cause of infrastructure issues, troubleshoot and debug quicker, and assure top performance throughout the whole stack.
The lightweight agent, which can be deployed on bare metal, VMs, and Docker, allows users to map and monitor their whole infrastructure in real-time. This enables you to take full use of the hundreds of cloud-ready integrations that give you a clear picture of what’s going on behind the scenes.
- Application performance metric correlation with database traces and log analytics
- Integrations with all major cloud providers, Kubernetes, containers, and other technologies are supported.
- The setup of metric and log aggregation using a GUI is straightforward.
- Anomaly detection and alarms are supported.
- For older agents, there is a lack of documentation.
- For transmitting bespoke metrics, agents for particular integrations are not appropriate. Other tools that can submit metrics to Sematext’s Influx Line Protocol-compatible API for metric ingestion can be used.
- Transactional tracing has limited support.
- Sematext offers a flexible price structure based on the number of nodes/agents in your system. It also provides a 14-day free trial with no strings attached.
OpManager is a reliable server monitoring software from ManageEngine that provides powerful monitoring capabilities for all sorts of network nodes, including routers and switches, servers, virtual machines, and nearly anything else with an IP address.
OpManager’s server monitoring tools cater to both physical and virtual servers with multi-level thresholds and fast alerts, with over 2,000 built-in server performance monitoring tools. It comes with configurable dashboards that allow you to keep track of your network at a glance.
OpManager enables system health monitoring and process monitoring using SNMP and WMI for various platforms, including VMware, Hyper-V, and Citrix XenServer, as a server monitoring solution for Windows, Linux, Solaris, and Unix.
- Website monitoring from start to finish
- Physical equipment, such as routers and switches, is monitored.
- Troubleshoots and monitors Performance of VoIP
- There isn’t a cloud-based SaaS version available yet.
- Monitoring application performance and network correlation are not supported.
- Managing constant patch updates creates operational overhead.
- ManageEngine The cost of OpManager is determined by the demands of each customer. A free version is available that allows you to monitor up to three devices.
AppDynamics is a business-first observability platform that helps you accelerate your digital transformation by providing the server performance and application monitoring insights you need. It allows you to get the whole picture of how your cloud investments are enabling business by identifying application server performance issues that may have an impact on business performance, as well as connected server and application metrics.
AppDynamics enables fine-grained alerts with a complete set of dashboards and analytics that can be linked with third-party alerting and issue management platforms like ServiceNow, PagerDuty, and Jira.
AppDynamics is a fantastic option if your organization is more business-oriented. The majority of stakeholders look for economic benefit in whatever digital infrastructure investment they make. With associated application and server performance data, AppDynamics’ business-first philosophy allows stakeholders to understand how their cloud infrastructure expenditures influence business KPIs like revenue.
- Application performance measurements are correlated with server and network performance metrics.
- Detection of anomalies and alarms
- The platform for business-to-business observability with capacity-planning suggestions
- Advanced features necessitate a steep learning curve.
- Tutorials and documentation are insufficient.
- There isn’t a self-hosted version available.
- You will be charged per CPU core by AppDynamics. There is a 15-day free trial available.
Sensu Go is an observability pipeline platform that supports server performance measurements and helps you to close gaps in monitoring the visibility of metrics, logging, and tracing correlations. Existing monitoring systems like Nagios, StatsD, Telegraf, Prometheus, and others may be smoothly linked with Sensu.
One of the most important advantages of Sensu Go is that it can offer tracking as code. It allows you to design monitoring processes using declarative configuration files shared with team members, as well as write tests, version control, modifies, and review in a GitOps-compliant way.
Sensu is one of the best server monitoring tools if your company follows GitOps principles and considers everything as code.
- Monitoring as code is supported, which is beneficial to GitOps approaches.
- All major cloud providers are supported.
- Can be linked with current monitoring solutions that accept open standards, such as Prometheus, Nagios, and others.
- For community plugins, there is a lack of documentation and support.
- The user interface is complex, and there is a learning curve to managing it.
- Insufficient documentation
- Sensu Go is completely free for up to 100 nodes; after that, there are various node bundle subscriptions.
What features should it have?
On the market, there are a plethora of server performance monitoring tools, both open-source and SaaS. They all get the work done at the end of the day. Choosing the proper one is a function of your organization’s needs as well as the resources (effort and money) available. When selecting an enterprise monitoring system, keep the following points in mind:
All of the metrics that are essential to you should be collected and analyzed by your monitoring system. Some technologies provide a small number of measures, while others support a big number of metrics that you don’t require. You must also be able to set and adapt the metrics you do need to meet your needs.
While DIY tools may appear to be thrilling and entertaining, they may be irritating when things don’t go as planned. You should search for an enterprise monitoring system that is simple to set up, takes little maintenance, and has most of your needs covered by default settings for alerts and dashboards.
Even if a tool provides all of the metrics you want, it is inconvenient if there is no correlation between them, which is especially true when troubleshooting an issue. Proper metric correlation may save you a lot of time and allow you to dig down to the main cause of your problem in minutes.
It is not always possible to set a fixed threshold for a certain measure to trigger an alert. You might not even realize you need an alert until something goes wrong. Most alerts will be automated and configured for you using tools that have anomaly detection capabilities and are connected with machine learning and artificial intelligence.