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Gain insight into the performance of your apps with Google Cloud Monitoring

| by Russell Smith Follow 0 Followers on Mar 05, 2015. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

Google Cloud Monitoring is now available for free whilst in beta to all Google Cloud Platform customers. The service provides dashboards and alerts for cloud-powered applications, giving developers and operations staff insight and metrics to their services.

Google acquired Stackdriver, the technology behind the service, in May 2014. Since a private launch at Google I/O in June last year, Google has expanded the product to provide unified monitoring for it's Cloud Platform. Stackdriver itself is still available, additionally supporting Amazon Web Services and hybrid customers. Dan Belcher, co-founder of Stackdriver, said "Cloud Monitoring streamlines operations by unifying infrastructure monitoring, system/OS monitoring, service/uptime monitoring, charting and alerting into a simple and powerful hosted service."

Simple Setup is a key feature; customers of Google Compute and AppEngine get automatic support for basic metrics. Other users can send data via a monitoring agent, or via an API by using Custom Metrics. The monitoring agent supports extension via a plugin system. It currently has plugins for popular projects such as MongoDB, Elasticsearch, Apache and Nginx. Read the full list supported here. Google also provides official client libraries for common languages, allowing for easier API development. Endpoint monitoring is built in - providing basic checking of availability for web-services. In addition to offering centralized reports, the service stands to reduce the number of distinct monitoring systems needed by a consumer.

"Stackdriver has given us a unified view of our infrastructure,” said John Gore, Technical Practice Lead at Table XI. “Rather than trying to manage our systems across several resources we are able to view everything in one location."

The product also provides charting and dashboards to show the logged data, allowing teams to see trends and react to situations faster. These are sharable using an iFrame, providing easy integration with existing dashboards. It supports custom dashboards, which group relevant charts, incidents, events and logs together.

Alert policies enable triggering of alerts when metrics cross configurable thresholds. These then create logged incidents, which can be reviewed later. Services such as Pagerduty, Amazon SNS as well as good-old SMS can be configured to send out notifications to the team. See other notification options here.

Alternatives to Google Cloud Monitoring include Librato and Datadog, which both have similar takes on the space.

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