The article, Visibility in the cloud, provides a general discussion of how to monitor cloud infrastructure.
There are a number of APIs and tools available for managing large cloud server deployments in the Rackspace cloud. By default, Rackspace creates Linux cloud servers with a restrictive firewall configuration. An advantage of using the sFlow standard for server monitoring is that it provides a multi-vendor solution.
In addition, the top servers page, shown below, provides a real-time view comparing the performance of the busiest servers in the cluster. In addition to monitoring server and network performance, sFlow can also be used to monitor performance of the scale-out applications that are typically deployed in the cloud, including: web farms, memcached and membase clusters.
The sFlow push model is much more efficient than typical monitoring architectures that require the management system to periodically poll servers for statistics.
Finally, sFlow provides the detailed, real-time, visibility into network, server and application performance needed to manage performance and control costs. Cluster performance metrics describes how to use sFlow-RT to calculate metrics and post them to Graphite . The sflowtool command line utility is used to convert standard sFlow records into a variety of different formats. The Graphite realtime charting software provides a flexible way to store and plot time series data.

Extending the reach of automation tool for more developers, JumpCloud announced the automated SaaS-based offering is now available through the Marketplace for Rackspace Hosting. For Rackspace customers, JumpCloud can now automate server management and saves DevOps teams and IT admins significant time managing users, patches, security, and compliance. In fact, while the figure of the DevOps becomes more and more central, especially in startups where there is no clear distinction between developers and the IT department, the offices are crowded on the shoulders of fewer and fewer administrator. JumpCloud covers the gap between what you can do and what you know you should be doing with regard to the management of users and the security of the entire cloud infrastructure. The company recently closed a $3.1 million Series A round led by Bullet Time Ventures and Foundry Group to expand its sales and software engineering team–most importantly to boost server management automation. SIGN UP FOR THE SiliconANGLE NEWSLETTER!Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
This article uses the Rackspace cloudservers™ hosting service to provide a concrete example of implementing sFlow monitoring in a public cloud. The private network is intended for inter-server communication and there are no usage charges.
The firewall configurations were modified (changes shown in red) to implement packet sampling and allow sFlow datagrams to be received from the private network interface (eth1). Windows and Linux servers export standard metrics that link network and system performance and allow a wide variety of analysis applications to be used. With sFlow, data is continuously sent from the cloud servers to the sFlow analyzer, providing a real-time view of performance across the cloud.

Polling breaks down in highly dynamic cloud environments where servers can appear and disappear. DevOps and IT pros utilize JumpCloud to automate the critical server lifecycle steps of provisioning, configuration, management, and monitoring. IT teams using Rackspace Hosting can now receive automated server management capabilities with JumpCloud.
The JumpCloud server agent, which integrates with incredible ease in managing their own servers, is able to control the servers and users, identify missing security patches, to alert personnel in the event of attacks in progress and verify any abnormal use of resources. With sFlow, cloud servers are automatically discovered and continuously monitored as soon as they are created. It's best to compile sflowtool from sources since the older pre-compiled version are missing decodes for newer sFlow structures. In practice, it is as if JumpCloud took over the management, maintenance, monitoring and security of the server. The sFlow messages act as a server heartbeat, providing rapid notification when a server is deleted and stops sending sFlow.

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