3 Tips for Monitoring Databases in a Hybrid Cloud Environment

by   |   September 20, 2017 11:57 am   |   0 Comments

Josh Williams, Product Manager, Blue Medora

The public cloud continues to garner the spotlight with its alluring price effectiveness and ease of management. In fact, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Database Migration Services have grown nearly 43 percent in the past year. But is the public cloud really the best place to house all your databases? Many IT experts are not so sure.

Two key issues about migrating databases to the public cloud continue to trouble organizations: security and time. Credit card companies and banks, for example, come from a legacy model where they are accustomed to controlling their own security on premises. They have concerns about the security of the public cloud and its ability to protect their valuable information. Additionally, the amount of time it takes to migrate a legacy database from an on-premise environment to the cloud remains an issue.

As an alternative, many IT experts are evaluating the hybrid cloud for its ability to store information in the cloud and in an on-premise environment. While this approach offers more flexibility, many companies have difficulty monitoring the heterogeneous data layer in a hybrid cloud environment. Below are a few tips to help monitor databases in a hybrid cloud.

Look at a Horizontal View of Your IT Stack

The market offers a variety of tools for monitoring database activity in an on-premise environment, such as VMware vRealize Operations. Amazon provides many monitoring tools for its own products in the public cloud, such as Amazon CloudWatch. However, few offer all-inclusive tools for the hybrid cloud environment.

Monitoring the application, data, virtualization, and infrastructure layer of an IT stack is crucial. Many companies monitor databases at a vertical level, with cloud and on-premise databases in separate silos. However when companies are in a hybrid cloud model, a horizontal view of an IT stack is key. Monitoring tools must cover resources in the cloud and on premise, as that is how they are actually being used.

Remember That Finding Slow Queries in the Cloud is Like Finding Slow Queries in an On-Premise Environment

Just because companies have some databases on premise and in the cloud, doesn’t mean they need to throw out everything you know about database monitoring. Many things remain the same. For example, data integrity and performance requirements don’t change in the public cloud. A SQL database should have the same service-level agreements (SLAs) wherever it resides, and to deliver on those SLAs, you’re still going to need access to key performance indicators (KPIs) such as network throughput, disk, and input/output operations per second (IOPS).

Understand Different Concerns About Monitoring On-Premise Environments Versus the Cloud

While queries in the cloud and on-premise are similar, there are a few major differences between monitoring activities in an on-premise environment and in the cloud that companies need to keep in mind, particularly around access to key metrics, pricing, and capacity.

Because cloud database monitoring and management data can be stored in different places, native tools like CloudWatch may give the administrator only a portion of the necessary details. What’s more, each cloud installation exposes metrics a little differently. Hybrid cloud environments require dashboards that weave together data from a cloud database and cloud infrastructure accounts into a single, consistent view so that you can pinpoint issues more accurately.

In the cloud, companies can control what they can pay for by simply upgrading if more capacity is needed. However, they do need to closely monitor if they are underutilizing and/or exceeding capacity in the cloud, as companies would be throwing money out the window if they are paying for a larger tier than needed to support resources.

On the other hand, if more capacity is needed in an on-premise environment, companies need to buy more servers. That said, exceeding capacity is more important for an on-premise environment given what companies can provision. In both scenarios, however, dashboard views of on-premise environments and the cloud are crucial to monitor this difference in capacity.

When an organization is moving toward a hybrid cloud, a good starting point is deciding which databases require the least security concerns and can sit in a public cloud. It’s beneficial to conduct a slow migration to the cloud to prove value to stakeholders in the company and also to make sure everyone understands the technology that is being rolled out.

Josh Williams is a Product Manager at Blue Medora specializing in vRealize Operations Manager and vRealize Orchestrator. Before becoming a Product Manager, he had worked on several of the company’s products as a Software Engineer.

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