Microsoft debuts Azure Managed Grafana to simplify IT monitoring

Microsoft debuts Azure Managed Grafana to simplify IT monitoring

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Microsoft Corp. today expanded its Azure cloud platform with a new managed service, Azure Managed Grafana, that will make it easier for companies to find and troubleshoot technical issues in their cloud environments.

The service is currently in preview. It’s the fruit of a collaboration with startup Grafana Labs Inc. that Microsoft announced last year.

Detecting technical issues in a cloud environment requires administrators to continuously collect reliability data about applications, virtual machines and other components that have the potential to malfunction. Many information technology teams carry out this task using an open-source platform called Grafana. The platform forms the basis of Microsoft’s newly announced cloud service. 

Grafana can collect multiple types of reliability data about a company’s infrastructure, then turn the data into graphs to ease the detection of technical issues. It also simplifies the task of determining what caused a malfunction. The platform is maintained by Grafana Labs, a venture-backed startup that achieved a $3 billion valuation earlier this month. 

Last year, Microsoft partnered with the startup to create a managed version of Grafana and deliver it through Azure. The newly announced Azure Managed Grafana service is the result of the partnership. The service is not based directly on the open-source version of the platform, but rather uses Grafana Labs’ commercial edition, which offers an expanded set of features. 

Azure Managed Grafana allows companies to use the platform without having to manage the underlying underlying infrastructure or perform related maintenance tasks, such as downloading security patches. According to Microsoft, IT teams can use the service to detect technical issues not only in their Azure environments, but also across other cloud platforms and on-premises infrastructure.

Microsoft has integrated the service with another offering in its cloud platform, Azure Active Directory, to simplify customers’ cybersecurity operations. Azure Active Directory is used by organizations to manage which user can access what cloud application and how. This capability will enable companies to more easily secure their Azure Managed Grafana deployments.

Microsoft provides a service called Azure Monitor that enables companies to collect data about whether the different components of their cloud deployments are operating reliably. A newly added integration provides the ability to stream this reliability data to Azure Managed Grafana. Once in the service, the information can be visualized in graphs to make detecting technical issues easier.

Microsoft has created a set of pre-packaged monitoring dashboards to help companies more easily visualize data from Azure Monitor. The dashboards can be used to track the health of applications, containers and virtual machines. They remove the need for customers to create data visualizations from scratch, which saves time.

Azure Managed Grafana also integrates with Azure Data Explorer, a service in Microsoft’s cloud that focuses on processing real-time data such as sensory logs from connected devices. The same features that allow Grafana to visualize data about technical issues in a cloud environment enable it to support use cases such as tracking the reliability of connected device fleets.

Amazon Web Services Inc., Microsoft’s top rival in the public cloud, launched its own managed Grafana service last year. Similarly to Microsoft, AWS teamed up with startup Grafana Labs to develop its service. 

Photo: Pixabay

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