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Cloud Monitoring Services: A Resource Guide

<img src="/sites/" width="470" height="279" /> The cloud computing market has spawned an ecosystem of third-party tools that monitor the performance of your hosted apps, or keep a watch over public clouds. Here's our guide to cloud monitoring companies, with a brief description of what each service offers.


The cloud computing market has spawned an ecosystem of third parties that provide tools that monitor the performance of your hosted apps in the cloud, or keep a watch over public clouds (notably Amazon EC2) for breaks in service-level agreements. Some cloud computing monitoring services provide a single dashboard for SysAdmins to check the status of all their different clouds, whether public or private.

Below is a list of cloud monitoring companies (in alphabetical order) with a brief description of what they offer. We will continue to update this list as new suppliers come on board. Have we missed someone? Send us your feedback.

Amazon CloudWatch
If you've read enough pitches from independent providers of software that monitor Amazon clouds, you might  think Amazon doesn't offer tools to monitor its own clouds. Amazon does offer CloudWatch, a Web service for monitoring Amazon Web Service cloud resources, starting with EC2. According to Amazon's CloudWatch description page, the tool enables customers to monitor EC2 instances and Elastic Load Balancers in real-time. Its Auto Scaling feature, which is free to CloudWatch customers, allows customers to dynamically add or remove EC2 instances based on CloudWatch metrics. CloudWatch is pay as you go, and priced according to the EC2 instances monitored.

Perhaps better known for its Web performance products, Gomez also provides cloud evaluation, testing and monitoring. Gomez claims that most cloud providers currently do not offer monitoring of their services from the perspective of the end-user, nor do they offer SLAs that guarantee the performance of their infrastructure. Gomez helps customers monitor the performance and availability of cloud apps, and monitor for SLA compliance. "We can monitor any cloud platform – and customers using the Gomez portal
can use charting, drill-down and contributor group functions to identify specific components of their applications," Gomez says. A single dashboard for monitoring multiple cloud platforms is in the works, according to a spokesperson.

Hyperic/Cloud Status
Peformance monitoring and management company Hyperic offers CloudStatus BETA, a free service that provides real-time reports and weekly trends on cloud issues including service availability, response time, latency, and throughput. The service supports Amazon Web Services and Google App Engine. "As each cloud vendor provides multiple services for their users to consume, CloudStatus groups reports on performance and health statistics by each service," according to Hyperic. In addition to CloudStatus, Hyperic provides Hyperic HQ Open Source, which the company says is the first software to allow companies to monitor cloud services alongside their internal infrastructure. The commercial version of Hyperic HQ, monitors Amazon Web Services.

LogicMonitor’s SaaS-based cloud monitoring software uses the same automation features that are central to its physical datacenter monitoring tools. Administrators can drill down into detailed performance data from disk latency to network traffic to application-specific parameters , says the company. Central to LogicMonitor’s cloud monitoring is its Active Discovery engine, which provides ongoing discovery of newly added or deleted instances as they are provisioned, and automatically configures them for monitoring. Thousands of virtual devices can be added to monitoring without a need to maintain in-house monitoring servers, the company adds. LogicMonitor is available on a month-to-month subscription basis, which includes maintenance and support.

Monitoring specialist Nimsoft says its Nimsoft Monitoring Solution (NMS) monitors all enterprise applications, whether they're in the corporate data center, or on private or public clouds. All this can be monitored from a single Unified Monitoring dashboard. Nimsoft provides monitoring of both public and private clouds. In the public cloud, Nimsoft casts its eye over infrastructure as a service platforms, including Amazon and Rackspace; platform as a service, including Microsoft Azure and Google App Engine; and software as a service, including and NetSuite.

Monitis, a spin-off from Web portal Lycos Europe/Bertelsmann, provides monitoring of Amazon EC2 and S3 cloud storage. Monitis agents can be automatically installed on new servers to monitor performance metrics, plus generate notifications when resources are detected to be low. Users are notified if a server is lost in the Amazon cloud, or if thresholds are being broken, says Monitis, which also provides system monitoring, performance testing, and configuration management from the cloud.

Tap In Systems
San Francisco-based Tap In Systems says it bridges the systems management gap between the traditional monitoring tools that "typically do a poor job with the virtual environments of the cloud," and the "limited visibility into the status and performance of cloud-based systems and applications." Its Cloud Management Service is built on an event management architecture in the Amazon cloud, and provides real-time monitoring and alerting of system status, usage and peformance of cloud and on-premises systems and applications; reports and charts of historical events and performance metrics; and models the states of applications and generates alerts based on those models.

TechOut is founded by John D'Esposito, a former consultant to IBM who led the development of n-tiered infrastructures for clustering servers for performance and load balancing. TechOut monitors a range of technologies, including Website monitoring and business transaction monitoring. It monitors cloud services from Amazon, FlexiScale, Go-Grid, Joyent, Nirvanix, and 3Tera.

Zenoss' creators say they founded the company after managing the cloud-based services of a large telco application service provider and being frustrated with using a traditional "big 4 monitoring tool that was failing." "The management tool was too complex, un-integrated, too expensive, and too 'static' to monitor the services required by the dynamic nature and scale of the business," Zenoss explains on its Web site. The company says its "unlegacy" tools were developed to monitor the new generation of dynamic clouds and data centers. Zenoss says it manages physical virtual and cloud devices, monitoring networks devices and relationships. Zenoss also automatically adjusts its monitoring as change occurs.

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