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Hybrid Cloud Management with OBM Management Packs

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This article is part three in a series on the monitoring content for Micro Focus Operations Bridge. In the previous articles, we introduced the Operations Bridge monitoring content (Operations Bridge Content Overview) and talked about monitoring cloud-based infrastructure and services with Operations Bridge (Monitoring Hybrid IT Using Operations Bridge). In this article, we will review Cloud Management Packs in more detail and provide a detailed example on how to monitor an AWS Elastic Load Balancing (ELB) service.

Keep in mind that prior to monitoring cloud-hosted resources with Operations Bridge, it is required to perform a set of configuration steps. For more information, see the following documentation sections:

OBM Management Pack for Amazon Web Services (AWS)

This Management Pack includes capabilities to discover and monitor various resources provided by AWS, allowing you to gain end-to-end visibility into your cloud environment and eliminate potential issues before the business is impacted. The monitored AWS resources include (but are not limited to) Elastic Cloud Compute Server Instances, Elastic Block Storage, EC2 Container Service, Service status, Relational Database Service, Elastic Load Balancing, AWS Billing, AWS Key Management Service, etc. You can track the real-time health and performance of those services through events and performance dashboards. Thus, our out-of-the-box content enables you to get visibility into numerous AWS infrastructure components, such as application servers, databases, web services, virtual systems, cloud resources, etc.

On the AWS side, CloudWatch (an Amazon web service that provides monitoring for AWS resources) is responsible for collecting performance metrics. Operations Bridge uses AWS Java Software Development Kit (SDK) to communicate with CloudWatch monitoring APIs and so collect the data from AWS, which is then used to generate topology, events and metrics for visualization in Performance Dashboards.

So, what do we offer as part of the Management Pack for AWS? The Management Pack contains a management template and aspects (a group of policies) that must be deployed on the managed node from OBM; Performance Dashboard and the Run-Time Service Model (RTSM) views are included as well. Each monitored service has two aspects: for discovery and for monitoring (i.e. for performing data collection and event generation). After installing the Management Pack, you only need to discover AWS services and set up the monitoring based on your requirements by:

  • Deploying the management template (or the discovery aspects individually)
  • Deploying out-of-the-box health aspects

Check out the Micro Focus Documentation Portal for detailed instructions on how to deploy out-of-the-box aspects.

Note: Operations Agent must be installed on the managed node, which acts as a proxy to discover and monitor AWS. The agent can be on-premises or in AWS. If the agent is installed in AWS, it can leverage role-based access.  If it is on-premises, then the access key and secret key are required, in addition to the account ID. Installation on a cloud enables you to do AWS Generic monitoring for multiple accounts using the role ARN (Amazon Resource Number) of respective accounts. This eliminates the need of installing Operations Agent on all accounts. You can install an Operations Agent on a single EC2 instance and then use it to monitor multiple accounts. For more information, see Get Started and Deployment Scenario on the Micro Focus Documentation Portal.

After successful deployment of out-of-the-box aspects, respective services in your AWS environment are discovered and monitored.

AWS Monitoring Example

Now let’s review a monitoring example of one of the most widely used AWS services – Elastic Load Balancing (ELB). The ELB is responsible for even distribution of the application traffic across multiple Amazon EC2 instances or availability zones. ELB continuously checks the health of EC2 instances and automatically re-routes requests from ill-performing to healthy instances. ELBs play a very important role in AWS infrastructures, given that they handle the incoming traffic and help avoid overloads, which makes monitoring of the ELB crucial in ensuring a smooth end-user experience.

ELB offers several types of load balancers (classic, application, and network load balancers) for different use cases. This example will show you how to monitor a classic ELB with the Management Pack for AWS.

To start monitoring ELB Classic and aggregating relevant metrics, you only need to install the Management Pack for AWS and successfully deploy out-of-the-box aspects: one to discover the ELB service in your AWS environment (AWS ELB Discovery aspect) and one to configure ELB monitoring (AWS ELB Health Aspect).

Figure 1. The Discovered ELB Service, Region-Based View

So, what are the key metrics to monitor the overall ELB Classic performance and health? Some of them are explained below:

  • Healthy/UnHealthy Host Count: The number of healthy instances in each availability zone. If an instance failed a certain number of health checks, ELB automatically re-directs the traffic from that instance to available healthy instances. You can correlate HealthyHostCount with other metrics, such as SurgeQueueLength and Latency (see below), to ensure that enough healthy instances to process the traffic are available and thus avoid service disruptions.
  • SurgeQueueLength: The total number of requests that are pending distribution to available resources. The load balancer queues a request if it is unable to establish a connection with a healthy instance in order to route the request. A high number of queued requests can lead to increased latency. It is recommended to monitor the maximum value of this metric to avoid reaching the queue capacity, which is 1,024 requests. Once the queue is full, any additional incoming requests will be rejected.
  • Latency: The total time elapsed, in seconds, from the time the load balancer sent the request to a registered instance until the instance started to send the response headers. High latency can indicate issues with network connections, backend hosts, or web server dependencies that can have a negative impact on the application performance.
  • RequestCount: The number of requests completed, or connections handled by ELB during the specified interval (1 or 5 minutes). This is a very important metric as it allows you to determine the changes that can act as an early indication of AWS or DNS issues.
  • BackendConnectionErrors: The number of attempted but failed connections between the load balancer and seemingly healthy backend instances. This type of error usually occurs due to network issues or backend instances that are not running properly.

In addition to the above metrics, many other metrics to track ELB performance are provided as part of the out-of-the-box AWS ELB Health Aspect. A full list of metrics can be viewed in the Performance Metrics topic on the Micro Focus Documentation Portal. In the OBM User Interface, you can see the available aspects under Policy Templates as shown in the screenshot below.


Figure 2. Attributes of the AWS ELB Health Template

Once you successfully deployed the AWS ELB Health aspect, your monitoring is set up and related events start to arrive in the OBM Event Browser. A sample ELB event is shown in the screenshot below.

Figure 3. A Sample Event Indicating a High Number of Backend Connection Errors

Last but not least, you can visualize the collected ELB metrics in the Performance Dashboard.  The dashboard enables you to explore ELB health and performance in real time and identify the areas that may require attention. In the sample Performance Dashboard below, you see, for instance, that the number of requests in the surge queue length has reached 101 in one of the monitored AWS ELB regions (ideally, the surge queue length should be zero). This is still far from reaching the limit of 1024 but nonetheless it may indicate potential capacity issues (e.g., overloaded backend instances that cannot handle the requests coming into the ELB) and needs close monitoring and taking troubleshooting measures if necessary.


Figure 4. Performance Graphs Visualize ELB Performance

We hope that this example helped you understand the purpose of the AWS ELB monitoring, key ELB metrics and the steps required in configuring the ELB monitoring and visualizing the collected data with the Management Pack for AWS.

For more information on how to monitor AWS resources with the OBM Management Pack for AWS and step-by-step procedures, refer to the OBM Management Pack for Amazon Web Services (AWS) documentation.

OBM Management Pack for Microsoft Azure

This Management Pack enables you to discover and monitor the performance and availability of MS Azure resources for both classic and Resource Manager deployment.

The OBM Management Pack for MS Azure supports the discovery and monitoring of the following Azure Services:

  • Virtual Machines
  • Storage Account
  • Windows Event Log (the Management Pack monitors event log only for Azure RM Windows VMs. The MS Azure Windows Events Log Monitoring aspect is used to begin the monitoring of the Windows Event Log)
  • Azure Data Lake Analytics Service

Azure REST-based APIs and PowerShell Command lets (cmdlets) are used to collect information from Azure. This information is used to generate events and plot graphs using Performance Dashboard. The Management Pack for MS Azure includes aspects, a management template, Performance Dashboard and the Run-Time Service Model (RTSM) view.

In addition, the Management Pack for MS Azure enables the streaming of structured logs for the Azure Alert log file. The structured data is further processed by the Operations Agent and forwarded to required targets (example, Operations Bridge Analytics). MS Azure Log Streaming aspect enables the streaming of Azure logs for both activity and windows event logs.

After downloading the Management Pack, follow the steps to install and configure the Management Pack to monitor your MS Azure environment. Refer to the Management Pack for Azure documentation for more information.

OBM Management Pack for Google Cloud

This Management Pack enables you manage Hybrid IT environments by monitoring the availability and performance of the Google Cloud Compute Engine instances in the Google Cloud Platform. The MP for Google Cloud includes aspects and Run-Time Service Model (RTSM) View. The performance and availability metrics are stored in the Operations Agent data store which is used by reporting and graphing solutions.

Agentless Cloud Monitoring with Operations Bridge Express (SiteScope)

With SiteScope, our agentless infrastructure and application monitoring solution, you can monitor the availability and performance of virtual servers and applications running in a cloud, for example, on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud and Amazon Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) infrastructures – including operating systems, network services, middleware, web-based applications, packaged applications and custom applications. The data collected from AWS-hosted applications can be reported to Amazon CloudWatch and used for AWS auto-scaling, reporting and alerting. Similar capabilities are available for Microsoft Azure, Solaris Zones, Citrix, and other.

Click here for more information on the SiteScope integration with Amazon CloudWatch.

Also, watch out for an upcoming blog on agentless monitoring of Hybrid Cloud with Operations Bridge Express.

We encourage you to try out our new features and enhancements! For further information on our offerings, visit the Operations Bridge product page, explore our documentation resources and check out our videos and blogs.

If you have feedback or suggestions, don’t hesitate to comment on this article.

Explore full capabilities of Operations Bridge by taking a look at these pages on our Practitioner Portal: Operations Bridge Manager, SiteScope, Operations Connector (OpsCx), Operations Bridge Analytics, Application Performance Management (APM), Business Process Monitor (BPM), Real User Monitor (RUM), Operations Bridge Reporter (OBR) and Operations Orchestration (OO) documentation!


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