In the first part of this series, we introduced the confusion and complexity that tends to occur when looking at the long list of monitoring tools available for Azure.
We then provided a list of currently available tools that we will explore further.
- Part 2: Activity Logs
- Part 3: Application Insights
- Part 4: Azure Advisor
- Part 5: Azure Alerts
- Part 6: Azure Diagnostics
- Part 7: Azure Metrics
- Part 8: Azure Monitor
- Part 9: Azure Security Center (ASC)
- Part 10: Network Watcher
- Part 11: Operations Management Suite (OMS)
- Note: Also known as Log Analytics
- Part 12: Service Health
- Part 13: System Center Operation Manager (SCOM)
- Part 14: Summary
We’ve already discussed Azure Activity Logs, Application Insights, Azure Advisor, Azure Alerts, Azure Diagnostics, Azure Metrics, Azure Monitor, and Azure Security Center (ASC). The next tool on the list is Network Watcher.
The Network Watcher tool may not be considered an actual monitoring tool, but it can be used in this way (to a limited capacity). In short, it’s a service in Azure that empowers you to monitor and diagnose network issues; whether that is to, from, or in Azure networking; or also provide insights into your Azure networks.
However, from one of the Ignite sessions (specifically the “Gain visibility into network performance and availability with network monitoring solutions in Azure” session), it listed the other existing network-related monitoring tools including: Network Performance Monitor, DNS Analytics, NSG Analytics, and App Gateway Analytics (all of which are Operations Management Suite (OMS) solutions), and how they will roll up into Azure Network Watcher.
Ultimately, I hope that this will further roll up into Azure Monitor so that monitoring all things are further centralized.
Here is an overview of Azure Network Monitoring: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/network-watcher/network-watcher-monitoring-overview
Real Word Example
With Azure Network Watcher the real power is in analysis and troubleshooting.
In the real-world, it’s a very helpful tool to be able to troubleshoot connections, packet flows, Network Security Groups (NSGs), etc. So it’s more of a “what’s happening right now” than a “what’s happened in the past” toolset. With that being said, as per the above-referenced Ignite session, a lot of the Operations Management Suite (OMS) network monitoring solutions are being brought into the Network Watcher umbrella (similar to the OMS Security solutions are rolling into Azure Security Center).
So you can use it to dig into IP flow between a source and destination systems…
… check what Network Security Groups are applied (either to a VNet/Subnet, or the Virtual Machine’s NIC)…
… and connectivity checks between systems, to name a few.
To sum up, Network Watcher is not really a “monitoring” tool as we’re used to. But, with the announcements from Ignite, all other network monitoring tools will be brought into Network Watcher as a central pane. So, we will be able to troubleshoot current/live issues, as well as collect and view historic data.
The next tool in our series will be the Operations Management Suite (OMS); also known as Log Analytics.