Performance Monitoring in Azure: Balancing Efficiency and Expenditure

Azure's native monitoring tools gives organizations the ability to gain insights and control over their cloud performance. Learn more now!

Carolyn Norton

Director of Cloud

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Table of Content

    Why Performance Monitoring Matters in the Cloud

    Cloud computing offers many benefits for organizations, such as scalability, flexibility, and cost savings, but it’s important for organizations to stay on top of optimal cloud performance while avoiding unnecessary costs.  

    Performance monitoring is the process of collecting and analyzing data on how well a system or application is functioning in the cloud. It helps identify and resolve issues that affect user experience, service availability, and resource utilization, before they occur. Performance monitoring is essential for achieving operational excellence in the cloud, as it enables organizations to: 

    • Ensure that their cloud services meet the expected service level agreements (SLAs) and quality standards. 
    • Detect and troubleshoot performance bottlenecks, errors, and failures before they impact users or business processes. 
    • Optimize resource allocation and scaling strategies to match the demand and workload patterns. 
    • Reduce cloud spending by eliminating waste and inefficiencies in resource consumption. 
    • Perform capacity planning before predicted changes in usage patterns (such as seasonal variations, product updates, or marketing campaigns). Microsoft Azure Cloud Services for Dynamics 365

    How to Monitor Performance in Microsoft Azure 

    Microsoft Azure provides native tools and features for performance monitoring, such as: 

    Azure Monitor

    A comprehensive service that collects, analyzes, and visualizes data from various sources, such as Azure resources, applications, and infrastructure. Azure Monitor helps users gain insights into the performance, availability, and health of their Azure environment. It also supports creating alerts, dashboards, and reports for performance monitoring and management. Here’s what it does: 

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    • Data Collection and Aggregation: Azure Monitor collects and aggregates data from every layer and component of your system across multiple Azure and non-Azure subscriptions and tenants. It captures information from various resources such as applications, virtual machines, guest operating systems, containers (including Prometheus metrics), databases, security events (in combination with Azure Sentinel), and networking events (in combination with Network Watcher). 
    • Common Data Platform: The collected data is stored in a common data platform. This platform allows you to correlate, analyze, visualize, and respond to the data effectively. You can also integrate other Microsoft and non-Microsoft tools with Azure Monitor. 
    • Monitoring Insights and Actions: 
      • Availability and Performance: Azure Monitor provides insights into the availability and performance of your applications and services. 
      • Manual and Programmatic Responses: You can manually or programmatically respond to system events based on the monitoring data. 
      • Visualization and Analysis: Azure Monitor offers visualization tools to help you understand how your applications are performing. 
      • Notifications: It notifies you of any issues related to your monitored resources. 

      Azure Application Insights

      A feature of Azure Monitor that focuses on monitoring the performance and usage of web applications and services. Azure Application Insights helps users track and diagnose issues that affect the end-to-end user experience, such as response time, availability, and reliability. It also supports analyzing user behavior, trends, and patterns to improve customer satisfaction and retention. Here are some key features and experiences it provides for organizations: 

      • Application Performance Monitoring (APM): 
        • Health Assessment: The Application Dashboard provides an at-a-glance assessment of your application’s health and performance.
        • Architecture Overview: The Application Map offers a visual representation of your application’s architecture and interactions between components. 
        • Real-Time Analytics: Live Metrics gives you a real-time analytics dashboard to monitor application activity and performance. 
        • Transaction Tracing: Use Transaction Search to trace and diagnose transactions, identifying issues and optimizing performance. 
        • Availability Monitoring: The Availability View helps proactively monitor and test application endpoints’ responsiveness. 
        • Failure Analysis: The Failures View allows you to identify and analyze failures, minimizing downtime. 
        • Performance Metrics: Review application performance metrics and identify potential bottlenecks using the performance view.
      • Monitoring and Alerts: 
        • Wide Monitoring Scope: Monitor various aspects of your application, triggering actions based on conditions. 
        • Deep Metrics Dive: Dive into metrics data to understand usage patterns and trends. Diagnostic Settings: Configure streaming export of platform logs and metrics to your preferred destination. 
        • Log Analysis: Retrieve, consolidate, and analyze all collected data in Azure Monitoring Logs. 
        • Custom Reports: Create interactive reports and dashboards using Workbooks to visualize monitoring data. 
        • Usage Analysis: 
          • Understand how users interact with your app: Users, Sessions, and Events: Determine when, where, and how users engage with your web app. 
          • Funnels: Analyze conversion rates and identify where users progress or drop off in the funnel. 
          • User Paths: Visualize user navigation to identify high engagement areas and exit points. 
          • Cohorts: Group users by shared characteristics for trend identification and performance troubleshooting. 

          Azure Log Analytics

          A feature of Azure Monitor that collects and analyzes log data from various sources, such as Azure resources, operating systems, and applications. Azure Log Analytics helps users identify and troubleshoot issues that affect the performance and functionality of their Azure environment. It also supports creating custom queries, alerts, and dashboards for log analysis and reporting. With Azure Log Analytics, you can: 

          • Data Collection and Analysis: 
            • Collection: Azure Log Analytics gathers data from various sources, including virtual machines, applications, and other services. 
            • Analysis: You can use Log Analytics to search, analyze, and visualize data. This helps you identify trends, troubleshoot issues, and monitor your systems. 
            • Querying and Insights: 
              • Log Queries: You can write log queries against the data collected by Azure Monitor logs. These queries allow you to retrieve records that match specific criteria. 
              • Insights: By analyzing patterns and trends in the data, you gain insights into system behavior, performance, and potential issues. 

              Azure Functions

              Azure Functions is a serverless solution that allows organizations to write less code, maintain less infrastructure, and save on costs. Instead of worrying about deploying and maintaining servers, the cloud infrastructure provides all the up-to-date resources needed to keep applications running. Here are some key points about Azure Functions: 

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              • Event-Driven Triggers and Bindings: Azure Functions provides a comprehensive set of event-driven triggers and bindings that connect your functions to other services without having to write extra code. Some common scenarios include: 
                • Processing File Uploads: You can run code when a file is uploaded or changed in blob storage. 
                • Real-Time Data Processing: Capture and transform data from event and IoT source streams on the way to storage. 
                • Inference on Data Models: Pull text from a queue and present it to various AI services for analysis and classification. 
                • Scheduled Tasks: Execute data clean-up code on pre-defined timed intervals. 
                • Building Web APIs: Implement a set of REST endpoints for web applications using HTTP triggers. 
                • Serverless Workflows: Create an event-driven workflow from a series of functions using Durable Functions. 
                • Database Change Responses: Run custom logic when a document is created or updated in Azure Cosmos DB. 
                • Reliable Message Systems: Process message queues using Queue Storage, Service Bus, or Event Hubs.
                • Development Lifecycle: With Azure Functions, you write your function code in your preferred language (C#, Java, JavaScript, PowerShell, Python, and more) using your favorite development tools. Functions integrate directly with Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, Maven, and other popular development tools for seamless debugging and deployments. Azure Monitor and Azure Application Insights provide comprehensive runtime telemetry and analysis of your functions in the cloud. 
                  • Hosting Options: Azure Functions offers various hosting options to meet different business needs and application workloads: 
                  • Consumption Plan: Fully serverless, where you only pay for execution time. 
                  • Premium Plan: Always warm instances kept ready for fastest response times. 

                    Best Practices for Performance Monitoring in Azure 

                    Using Azure’s native monitoring tools can help organizations gain visibility and control over their cloud performance and costs. However, to make the most of these tools, organizations should also follow some best practices, such as: 

                    • Setting performance baselines: A performance baseline is a reference point that defines the normal or expected performance of a system or application. Setting performance baselines can help organizations measure and compare the current and historical performance of their Azure environment. It can also help identify deviations and anomalies that indicate performance issues or inefficiencies. 
                    • Creating alerts for anomalies: Creating alerts for anomalies can help organizations detect and respond to performance issues or incidents in their Azure environment. It can also help prevent or minimize the impact of performance degradation or downtime on users or business processes. It’s so important to curb costs before you get the bill, like getting an unexpectedly high A/C bill in the middle of a hot summer. 
                    • Optimizing resources: Resource optimization is the process of adjusting and fine-tuning the configuration and allocation of cloud resources to match the performance requirements and demand patterns. Optimizing resources can help organizations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their Azure environment. It can also help reduce cloud spending by avoiding overprovisioning or underutilization of resources. 


                    Performance monitoring is a key aspect of cloud management that helps organizations achieve operational excellence and cost efficiency in their Azure environment. By using Azure’s native monitoring tools and following some best practices, organizations can gain insights and control over their cloud performance and costs. Performance monitoring can help organizations ensure that their Azure environment is not only running efficiently but also cost-effectively. 

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                      Carolyn Norton

                      Director of Cloud

                      Follow Me: