What is Cloud Event Monitoring?

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LEARNING OBJECTIVES
  • Learn what Cloud Event Monitoring is
  • Understand the different types of cloud events and how to monitor them
  • Understand the importance of Cloud Event Monitoring

Every cloud environment may be unique, but all cloud environments share one trait in common: they are constantly changing. Cloud workloads start, stop, and scale continuously. So do the configurations that govern those workloads.

How do you keep track of all of these changes? And how do you know when a particular event poses a performance, availability, or security risk?

The answer is cloud event monitoring. By systematically monitoring events within your cloud environment, you gain early insight into potential issues so that you can react before they disrupt critical workloads.

Please keep reading for a primer on what cloud event monitoring means, why it’s essential, and what to focus on when devising a cloud event monitoring strategy.

Cloud Event Monitoring, Defined

‍Cloud event monitoring is the process of tracking and analyzing changes in the state of your cloud environment. In other words, when you monitor cloud events, you identify every change that takes place within your cloud environment and analyze it as a specific event.

Types of Cloud Events to Monitor

‍In general, the types of cloud events that you may want to monitor will fall into three main categories.

‍Workload Changes

‍The first is changes in the state of a given workload. Examples in this category include:

  • Someone or something creates a new virtual machine instance.
  • A virtual machine instance starts or stops.
  • Someone or something changes resource allocation to a virtual machine instance in response to manual changes or an autoscaling policy.
  • Someone or something creates or deletes a storage bucket or database.
  • Someone or something creates or launches a new type of cloud service, such as a managed Kubernetes service, that didn’t previously exist in your environment.

Note that human actors could make workload state changes like these, or they could result from automatic action taken by the administration or orchestration tools you use to manage your cloud environment.

‍Configuration Changes

‍Cloud events also occur whenever changes happen to configurations within your cloud environment. Examples include:

  • The creation, deletion, or modification of IAM policies.
  • The modification of a Kubernetes deployment.
  • Changes to auto scaling policies.

Like workload changes, configuration changes can come from both human and machine users.

Account and User Activity

‍Activity related to accounts, users, and roles within your cloud environment can also create cloud events. Examples include:

  • User logins or logouts.
  • API requests.
  • Data movement between cloud services (for example, from a VM instance to a storage bucket).

These activities often link to workload or configuration changes, but they differ from the changes themselves. That’s why you should treat them as their category of cloud events.

Why Is Cloud Event Monitoring Important?

‍There are two main reasons to monitor cloud events.

The first is to stay one step ahead of potential performance or availability issues. While most cloud events are benign and occur in the natural course of your cloud environment’s operations, some changes may inadvertently cause problems. An engineer or orchestration tool might accidentally shut down a critical workload, for example. Or, they could modify an access policy for a data storage bucket so that applications that need that data can no longer access it, causing the applications to fail.

The second reason for performing cloud event monitoring is security. Some events could be signs of a breach or attempted breach. Account and user activity events are the most critical events in this regard; unusual API request patterns, for example, could result from malicious activity. But the workload and configuration changes, too, could correlate with security issues. For instance, if you notice the creation of new and unauthorized VM instances through your organization’s standard approval process, it may highlight activity by rogue or malicious users inside the organization.

Conclusion

‍Cloud event monitoring is one pillar of a healthy cloud observability strategy. By continuously monitoring for and evaluating events as they occur within the cloud, you can identify unusual or unexpected changes that could tip you off to performance or security problems.

http://www.fixate.io

Chris Tozzi has worked as a journalist and Linux systems administrator. He has particular interests in open source, agile infrastructure and networking. He is Senior Editor of content and a DevOps Analyst at Fixate IO.


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