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SCOM is a great addition for monitoring Kubernetes - and this is why!

by OpsLogix, on 15-Feb-2022 14:00:00


Kubernetes is one of the most prominent container orchestration platforms available today. As cloud-native- and container solutions gain attention, so is Kubernetes. The platform that Google open-sourced in 2014 has even become the standard for container management for private- and public cloud. 

With the new approach towards cloud-native application development, where microservices and containers are essential, there is a big focus on software development and how to migrate to the cloud. What cannot be forgotten is what needs to be taken care of once the applications are up and running - monitoring. 

Monitoring is, for monolithic and containerized applications, crucial. What is not monitored won't be measured nor improved. However, the monitoring does differ as monolithic- and cloud application structures aren't the same. When monitoring the Kubernetes platform, all cluster components are monitored as separate entities, unlike monolithic applications. 

Cloud environments and container adoption are increasing and growing at scale. That requires monitoring that follows and scales up as well. Therefore, monitoring the Kubernetes platform will enhance the stability and operability of your container applications. 

SCOM is a great addition for monitoring your Kubernetes platform - and this is why!

Though traditionally being used for on-prem applications, it is possible to monitor cloud applications in SCOM. Using APIs, cloud data can be brought into your SCOM platform. Doing so, you can use SCOM to monitor a hybrid environment, make the platform your one single pane of glass, and streamline your operations. 

There are other alternatives to SCOM when it comes to monitoring container applications and  Kubernetes. No one solution fits all to Kubernetes monitoring, and therefore, some factors need to be considered when choosing what way to go; budgets, expertise, strategy (on-prem, cloud- or hybrid), current monitoring tools, and required features. 

Except for SCOM, various Kubernetes monitoring tools primarily focus on cloud applications and environments. Prometheus, another open-source tool, is one of the most well-known ones. 

Learn more about "Containerization and Kubernetes Monitoring". 

Why and when to consider SCOM over a cloud-native monitoring tool? 

Balancing Dev and Ops

DevOps is an increasingly popular approach to application development and management throughout its lifecycle. By merging software development with IT operations the two functions can be enhanced through better communication and understanding of the various stages of developing, operating, and updating an application. 

The DevOps idea implies that involvement and understanding of all areas of the application lifecycles are generated, thanks to close cooperation between development and operation teams. This, in turn, will generate value to the application and the final product as more insights from operations can be used in the further development of an application. The risk with DevOps is that everyone is supposed to do everything which will make general knowledge and skills more common than in-depth expertise. It is therefore important to retain some level of distinction between the teams and to emphasize and recognize the different skillsets from a traditional development approach. 

A DevOps perspective on monitoring implies developers take a closer look at the performance of an application when developing it, and therefore can improve areas that are performing insufficiently, or where there may be an issue. Primarily, the dev view of monitoring should not be overarching the general IT infrastructure health, but look closely at certain measurements for one application. While IT operations have a broader, more comprehensive responsibility for infrastructure health, the tools that are being used in various stages of the application lifecycle should be adjusted to those varied needs.

SCOM, as one of the leading monitoring platforms, is then better suited for the needs of the operations aspect of the DevOps approach, while tools like Prometheus and other cloud-native monitoring platforms can support the developers. 

Learn more about SCOM and monitoring from a DevOps perspective in OpsLogix: DevOps that makes Sense.

Streamline operations

SCOM is a well-established monitoring tool that is already a central part of many organizations monitoring operations. For these organizations, using APIs to transfer data from the cloud into SCOM streamlines operations and requires no extra time to deploy or learn a new tool. 

To further reinforce alert- and incident management, many add ons have been developed to enhance and simplify SCOM monitoring, such as the SCOM connector for Microsoft Teams and ServiceNow Incident connector, which could already be deployed and configured in your organization. 

Scaling up and saving data 

Because clouds- and containerized applications tend to grow at a high rate, the possibility to scale up monitoring accordingly is required. While SCOM is suitable for environments of various sizes, there are some constraints to competing alternatives. 

Prometheus, for example, can manage large environments and much data, but it's complex to manage and scale up when environments and clusters are growing. On top of this, it only saves data in memory, requiring a set-up with several applications. Some companies offer managed Prometheus services, which can enhance the management of your clusters but will also lead to more fragmented monitoring with additional cost. 

Discovery and monitoring data

When monitoring Kubernetes clusters in SCOM, all components; pods, nodes, containers, and container processes, can be monitored and discovered. The discovery enables both SLA monitoring and applications to be distributed. 

Using SCOM for Kubernetes monitoring also makes it possible to monitor components outside of a specific cluster that is a part of the service or applications you provide to get a holistic perspective of the complete delivery. 

On-prem is here to stay too 

It may seem intuitional to monitor a cloud application with a cloud solution. And though the pandemic may stress the cloud transformation journey, the development is not only going one way: from on-prem to cloud. On-prem environments are growing as well, and it's not unusual for organizations to bring back applications from the cloud. 

The reasons why applications remain or are being brought back to on-prem environments can vary and relate to e.g., costs, control, and compliance, and is also a reason to consider keeping monitoring in-house. If only specific applications will be built in or migrated to the cloud, investing in a separate monitoring solution may not be justifiable. 

Sign up to receive more about our upcoming Kubernetes MP for SCOM here. 

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