|January 16, 2021||
Should I Still Use Zabbix In AWS?
Amazon EC2 monitoring
Zabbix has a high market share as an integrated OSS monitoring tool. Although it has been widely used in on-premise environments, there are many examples of Zabbix being used in AWS environments. In spite of the fact that AWS also has monitoring services such as Amazon CloudWatch, why should you use Zabbix? This section explains the benefits of monitoring EC2 instances and other instances, as well as the configuration process.
Why use Zabbix instead of Amazon CloudWatch?
In an AWS environment, all of the infrastructure is operated by AWS, but you must be responsible for the operation of the Amazon EC2 instances themselves and the applications built on Amazon EC2. In other words, you must monitor the applications to ensure that they are operating properly, and you must take action when a problem occurs. Zabbix is a good candidate for this kind of monitoring tool.
Zabbix has the advantage of being able to monitor not only on-premises. But also cloud and virtual environments in an integrated manner.
Whereas the standard Amazon CloudWatch is limited to monitoring AWS resources (CPU, memory, etc.), Zabbix allows you to monitor even the state of your applications in detail.
The following is a list of other advantages of Zabbix.
Integrated monitoring of environments with multiple AWS accounts
Amazon CloudWatch performs monitoring on a per AWS account basis. Zabbix can monitor an environment of multiple AWS accounts, that can be monitoring business systems consisting of multiple accounts. It can also detect anomalies not only by simple alerts based on thresholds, but also by multiple thresholds and conditions in combination.
It can be configured with detailed notifications to suit the actual conditions of operation
Amazon CloudWatch can notify you with a message in the event of an anomaly. For example, if your system is down for maintenance, you don’t need to be notified by message. This is where Zabbix allows you to configure these cases in a way that allows you to suppress unwanted messages. This way you can ensure that you are only notified when something is really wrong that needs to be addressed.
No retention period for metrics (monitoring log)
With Amazon CloudWatch, metrics can be stored for up to 15 months. Moreover, you can only store metrics in hourly increments for 15 months, and if the monitoring interval is set to less than 60 seconds, you can only store them for a maximum of 3 hours. Zabbix allows for long-term storage of metrics without changing the granularity of information.
How to monitor AWS environment with Zabbix
If you want to use Zabbix in an AWS, you will need to create an Amazon EC2 and DB instance and install Zabbix on it. After installation, the process of configuring Zabbix is basically the same as on-premise, except that you will need to set up the following
In addition, you can configure AWS-specific settings, such as creating a user in AWS IAM with the necessary permissions for Zabbix, which will allow Zabbix to monitor applications and other aspects of your AWS environment.
Use the right tool for your monitoring needs
Not all corporate systems operate in isolation, but many systems are linked together to exchange data and ensure consistency as a whole. In these environments, Zabbix is a great tool for monitoring and detecting anomalies across multiple servers and systems. For example, if a DB-based web application has an anomaly on the web application server, it is possible to disable the data, for example.
On the other hand, Zabbix has a lot of configuration options, so you will have to decide what to monitor and how, and what conditions are abnormal.
On the other hand, Zabbix has a lot of settings, so you have to design the operation exactly what to monitor and what to do about it, and what to do about it. Of course, for critical systems such a design is essential, however, for relatively simple systems, such as “if a process stops, just restart it”, there is no match for Zabbix monitoring. SIOS AppKeeper is a good solution for such cases, as it monitors services (processes) of an application running on an EC2 instance, and restarts the application if it detects the issues. This enables simple monitoring and operation.
Of course, it is not “mandatory” to use Zabbix on every system. By using the right tool for each type of monitoring, you will be able to operate your system more efficiently.
Add SIOS AppKeeper to your EC2 monitoring and recovery operations.
Reproduced from SIOS
|January 8, 2021||
How To Choose A Cloud When You Need High Availability
Understand the cloud market
A number of analyst firms are predicting an ever-increasing number of deployments of applications, databases, and solutions in the cloud. According to Gartner, firms are “moving to the cloud at an increasing rate.” In fact, Gartner and other analysts expect the pace of cloud migration and deployment will continue to accelerate, driven in large part by the pace of innovation in the cloud. In a TechTarget article by Kurt Marko, of MarkoInsights, Marko notes that the pace of innovation that is “being undertaken in the cloud likely can’t be replicated on premises due to the elastic, scalable, and on-demand nature of managed public cloud services.”
We see more and more companies that had been using the cloud only for DevOps applications and databases that were not essential to their business, are now moving mission-critical applications, ERPs and databases that require high availability protection to the cloud.
If you are considering a move to the cloud – and it seems likely that you are – there are several keys to understand when you need high availability.
Familiarize yourself with the cloud high availability options
To plan for the proper availability solution for a cloud or hybrid cloud deployment, consider what the pain points are with regards to both availability (99.9% uptime) and high availability (99.99% uptime). You also need to understand the options that are available for high availability with an eye towards your plans to migrate to the cloud. Notable analysts and experts suggest looking for solutions that will not only mitigate and reduce the pain of migrating your workloads, but will also provide a balanced and comprehensive approach to availability throughout the lifespan of your cloud architecture. Note, it is also wise to consider solutions that can provide protection and high availability for portions of your workload that may one day repatriate from the cloud back to your on-premises environment.
Here are ten things to consider when comparing your availability options in the cloud:
1. The deployment method. Is it possible to deploy the availability solution you are considering using an image, CLI, UI, or other repeatable solution such as cloud formation template or packaged scripts.
2. The system requirements. Most notably, consider the operating system (OS), disk, CPU, and memory requirements.
3. The deployment environments. Do your availability options support on-premises only, one or more public clouds, or can they support a mixture, and/or hybrid cloud deployment. Is there a SaaS offering available as well?
4. The breadth and depth of application protection. “Breadth” meaning what types of applications, databases, front-ends, networking, and infrastructure components can be protected? Is there a flexible framework for adding new applications and variants? “Depth” meaning – is the solution application-aware – and able to maintain application-specific best practices throughout the application failover/failback processes?
5. Performance requirements. We often think of RTO and RPO, but what about other performance needs of your solution. Will your availability solution cause performance issues on failover?
6. Resilience requirements. How large a cluster can the availability solution support?, How many faults and failures can it detect and recover from. How will replication be handled while keeping metadata in sync?
7. Supportability and maintenance. Does the availability vendor have experience with a wide range of availability needs and configurations? Do they have longevity, and a support system designed to address issues that may go beyond their solution? Can they help you minimize disruption and planned downtime during your system management and maintenance (patches, upgrades, and general maintenance).
8. Total cost of ownership. There are entire industries and services dedicated to helping you calculate the total cost of ownership, so we won’t cover that here. Suffice it to say, your calculations will be unique to your organization, cloud provider, applications, and IT team. You should consider whether your availability solution vendor can help you identify strategies for saving utilization, licensing, and other costs? Does the solution automate manual tasks, reduce IT labor time?
9. Licensing and pricing model. How do you consume the cost of the software? Is there a subscription fee, subscription model, pay-as-you-go offering, bring your own license (BYOL), or combination of flexible options. How will you enable the product licensing? Is there a license server, licensing service, or encrypted key based on virtual machine deployment details, such as address, hostname, MAC address.
10. The impact on IT staff. How much training with the solution require? How much manual intervention will be needed in the event of an application failure event or disaster? Will it require specialized scripting that needs to be maintained? Who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance?
Weigh the benefits and trade-offs
Like every important decision, you need to understand your tradeoffs and choose the best balance to meet your needs. For example, I recently asked a friend to recommend a good walking shoe. I bought a pair he raved about – noting how lightweight they were, how strong and durable the fabric, and how stylish they were. I went for my first long walk-run in them, and I donated my first pair of “one run” shoes immediately thereafter. When I went to ‘Fleet Feet’ to get an expert’s opinion I ended up with a heavier shoe, with more breathable fabric (also less durable), and an unrivaled level of hideousness. I made a tradeoff between appearance and function that worked for my needs and budget.
Like running shoes, there is no silver bullet solution that will be the right fit for every company, every application, every database, and every possible server and architecture. You are officially free to stop looking for it. Instead, settle into the activity of weighing the trade-offs to determine what is the right fit for your company’s needs. Think about your tradeoffs. For example, if you’re sure you will be a full Microsoft shop, the importance of GCP and AWS support should be a little lower in your evaluation process.
Take your IT infrastructure dynamics into account
Think holistically about availability in your entire IT infrastructure – both on premises and in the cloud. The reasons to do so are best explained with another analogy. In 2018, I was the coordinator for an outreach program feeding the homeless and hungry in Columbia, South Carolina. Our group met once a week to serve a meal and a message of hope to over 100 men, women and children. When we considered expanding – adding more days of the week, more hours, or additional services, we had to think well beyond simple scheduling requirements. Knowing that we were providing a critical service to clients who depend on us, we had to consider all the factors that affected our ability to deliver those services consistently for the long-term, such as: cost, ages of our team members, outside obligations, alternative methods to achieve our goals, risk factors, and other dynamics within our parent organization.
When you are choosing your solution, after you’ve understood the market, familiarized yourself with options, and weighed the trade-offs, the last step is to take into account the various other dynamics in your overall environment. Will the solution meet the needs of your business as a whole? Will your critical data be protected from loss? Will your end-user productivity be protected from downtime? What training will be required to move to the cloud and how will that impact your ability to manage or maintain the solution that you choose? What IT roles will be added, removed, or changed in your cloud journey? Will any responsibilities for application availability move to any line-of-business owners? And how will the shifts in responsibilities, or team make up improve or decrease your overall potential for success. Consider whether your team needs to take a step-by-step approach, migrating smaller workloads first.
As VP of Customer Experience, I have seen a wide range of cloud migrating planning – some straightforward others extremely disruptive. In one instance a customers’ move to the cloud was highly contentious because management saw it as an opportunity to eliminate an entire IT department. I’m not suggesting that you play politics, but you should be aware of all of the factors at play in these complex projects.
Migrating to the cloud is supposed to save money, time and resources while affording improvements in availability and resilience. Regardless of which cloud you choose, make sure that you consider these tips and select the corresponding availability solution that gives you the flexibility to deliver the protection you need in the configuration you want.
Learn more about cloud high availability options with SIOS.
– Cassius Rhue, VP of Customer Experience, SIOS
Reproduced with permission from SIOS
|December 30, 2020||
How To Clone Availability In The Cloud With Better Outcomes
Tips from the movies – Multiplicity
Multiplicity is a 1996 American science fiction comedy film starring Michael Keaton as Doug Kinney, a busy construction worker struggling to make time for his family and his demanding job. When a scientist offers to clone him, Doug agrees to just make meeting his schedule and commitments easier. But then the copies of him begin making copies of themselves. By the time the last copy is made, the point is clear. Cloning may not be all it’s cracked up to be, or at the very least comes with some strong warnings, challenges and side effects. The famous original Star Trek episode “Trouble with Tribbles” illustrates a similar point.
Like cloning on the big screen (or small), cloning in the cloud is a great tool, but not without its challenges.
Tips for how to get better outcomes when you clone availability in the cloud
1. Clone operational systems
This sounds obvious, but I have seen it happen more than once in real enterprise environments. If you clone your non-functional system, the clone will be equally non-functional and problematic when you restore it. Be sure that the clone you make was from an operational and functional system.
2. Sync data to disk and resync on restore
File system integrity is critical. If you don’t ensure your application and/or VM are in a consistent state, most vendors will not guarantee the resulting created image. Since snapshots only capture data that has been written to your volume at the time the snapshot command is issued, this might exclude any data that has been cached by any applications or the operating system. Making sure data has been properly synced to the file system is an important step, and absolutely critical in a cluster environment.
File system integrity is also critical to keep in mind when you restore from an image. If you are using data replication and you restore an image as source or target in the cluster, making sure the two nodes are in sync is paramount. Failing to do so may lead to file system errors on failover or switchover, or even potential data loss. Clone availability in the cloud to get the result you want.
3. Stop your instance
Many environments do not require you to stop an instance to create an image, and some, such as AWS will do the step of powering down the node before making the copy. However, many tools and sites recommend making sure applications are stopped and file system access is properly synced to avoid damage, loss of integrity, or creating images that have trouble starting, stopping, or running installed applications.
4. Label everything in the cloud (nodes, disks, NICs, everything)
While creating a clone is a free operation, the resulting disks and components typically are not. AWS states, for example, that you are “charged for the snapshots until you deregister the image and delete the snapshots.” When things aren’t labeled, knowing what is in use or not in use and why it was created can become problematic. It also becomes subjected to the fleeting memories or poor concentration of existing team members. Label everything.
5. Prune clones and snapshots often (cost savings and headache savings)
Pruning old snapshots and clones is not only good for the cost savings, but it is also good for reducing headaches. Older snapshots run the risk of reintroducing vulnerabilities that have been addressed or resolved in newer copies. As VP of Customer Experience at SIOS Technology Corp., I saw the consequences firsthand when we worked with a customer who restored from a snapshot. They ran into several problems as they restarted the application. After troubleshooting, we determined that the clone was running an older version of security software. The cached credentials and metadata stored in the user profile were no longer in sync with the actual application data stored on the externally mounted data drives.
6. Limit or restrict cloning of clones in the cloud
Lastly, not everything you do in the cloud needs to be cloned. Consider limiting the types of workloads that you will clone and restrict the number or roles who can create clones in your environment.
In the movie, when Doug’s clones sparked their own series of duplications, an already overwhelmed Doug (Michael Keaton) is forced to exert extra energy to manage his many clones while trying to hide the mess he created from his wife. Achieving clone availability in the cloud with better outcomes is not difficult. Clone carefully to avoid making more work and adding risk from a tool that was supposed to make your work easier and your environment safer.
– Cassius Rhue, Vice President, Customer Experience
Reproduced from SIOS
|December 26, 2020||
New Product Release: SIOS Protection Suite for Linux 9.5.1
SIOS is continually updating our products to meet our customer’s evolving needs for high availability for mission-critical applications. We are excited to announce the general availability of SIOS Protection Suite for Linux version 9.5.1! This release features adds support for a wider range of platforms and enhancements to our command-line interface feature.
Key updates include
Reproduced with permission from SIOS
|December 22, 2020||
Reproduced from SIOS