Metrics are essential for improvement and growth because they tell you if a particular process, tool, or resource is doing the right thing for your business.
It gives you exact numbers to compare with past ones to identify which aspects have improved and what needs to be done. You can also compare them with existing baselines if that works better.
Since metrics provide snapshots of performance, they are an essential part of IT operations where different data, such as CPU performance, memory usage, disk activity, etc., are gathered and analyzed to understand the state of the infrastructure and make informed decisions accordingly augur well for the organization.
One such platform that makes it easy to collect data for further processing and analysis is Netdata.
In this article, we will explore what Netdata is and its benefits, so you can decide if this is the right platform to monitor your IT infrastructure.
What is Netdata?
Netdata is an open-source tool for collecting a wide range of metrics from systems and applications to understand their performance, plan for future capacity based on business needs, and troubleshoot complex problems.
All these metrics are displayed in visually stunning charts to help make sense of the data and get a context of the same from organizational decision-making.
Netdata consists of two components, namely, Netdata Agent and Netdata Cloud.
Netdata Agent is a distributed monitoring component that gathers data from systems, hardware, and applications spread across your entire infrastructure. It requires no configurations and can run continuously on all devices and edge servers to gather metrics from them.
Netdata Cloud, on the other hand, is a web application that provides real-time visibility into your infrastructure.
This component acts as a single stop place to view all your key metrics and charts, and you can navigate through each node to understand its performance. This ability can come in handy during anomalies, as you can simply navigate to a node to understand the root cause of the problem.
This ability to understand the performance of each node is what makes troubleshooting a breeze.
You can also set alarms for notifications when the values of some critical nodes go below the threshold values, so you can address these variations before they impact the broader organization.
Another advantage of Netdata Cloud is that you can invite your colleagues to monitor these values and collaborate with them.
Now that you have an idea of Netdata let's see what you can do with it and how it can benefit your organization.
Benefits of Netdata for Your Organization
Here is a look at how Netdata can benefit your organization.
Though it may sound simple, collecting pertinent metrics from all the systems and applications in your infrastructure is anything but easy.
But Netdata eases this process for you as its agents run on different devices, including all physical and virtual servers, desktops, IoT devices, edge computing servers, containers, cloud deployments, and more.
Since these agents run continuously on all the devices, they constantly gather data.
And the best part is these agents use less than 1% CPU and just a few MB of RAM and run only in the background. Hence, there is no impact on the performance or operations of your devices.
Charts and Visualizations
If gathering data is one side of the coin, coherently presenting them completes the process.
These visualizations are the key aspect of any monitoring platform because mere data from different devices don’t offer value and help decision-making. Instead, when the data is combined and presented in a chart, you can better understand if a particular aspect has improved or deteriorated and the reason for the same.
Since Netdata provides a unified view of every node's performance in a single pane, you can navigate to what you want and understand the overall performance of your infrastructure through a single window.
Such visualizations are what make data a powerful tool for decision-making.
Monitor with Alarms
Netdata has hundreds of built-in alarms that are preconfigured to send notifications when any value goes below or above the established threshold values.
When an anomaly arises, it sends these notifications through Slack, emails, PagerDuty, and other options. You can also configure to send these alerts based on roles and teams so that the respective resources can address a problem at the earliest.
Since Netdata gives granular information about the performance of each node, you can identify the root cause of a problem quickly. In turn, this will reduce the time and effort to troubleshoot them.
Also, Netdata displays historical information that, in turn, makes it easy for you to compare with past performance so that you can understand the cause of the change quickly.
In all, these aspects reduce the Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) and the resultant impact on your organizational activities.
Netdata collects second-by-second metrics and stores them efficiently so that you can access them even after many months.
It is efficient because the data is stored in each network locally and can be accessed at any time to understand that node’s performance. Such a decentralized storage model helps with easy accessibility, understanding, and even possible deployments, where applicable.
You can do more with your data with the Netdata platform.
Netdata makes it easy to export your data to other tools such as Graphite, Prometheus, TimeScaleDB, and more, for further processing and analytics. You can even leverage Netdata's interoperable core to set up automatic data export through an operational pipeline/workflow.
Integrates with Your Stack
Another significant advantage with Netdata is that it integrates well with your existing infrastructure and scales to any size, as needed. In addition, every feature in Netdata is extensible and interoperable and can work well with other tools in your infrastructure.
You can even build a new monitoring stack with Netdata's core and extend it to other analytics tools such as Prometheus.
Easy to Deploy
Netdata is easy to deploy as it requires only a single line for deployment on Linux distributions!
Further, it requires no configuration and maintenance, and this can be helpful when you want to monitor devices spread across the entire infrastructure.
Thus, these are some reasons why Netdata is a popular choice among organizations that require a monitoring solution.
Some of the alternatives to Netdata are:
- Datadog Αn advanced service for monitoring your IT operations and ensuring that the data produced by your apps and infrastructure is converted into meaningful insights for better decision-making. It integrates with the most popular apps, while its SaaS-styled structure enables teams to collaborate.
- Grafana Α standard tool used for visualizing data and sharing it with other teams and stakeholders to help the concerned people to understand the state of your organization's operations. It integrates well with time-series databases, and hence, can be used for visualizing data from any application or device.
- Zabbix Αn enterprise-level platform that monitors applications in real-time by collecting metrics and analyzing them for detailed insights. It works well on any device and can scale as needed. Further, it comes with advanced alerting systems as well.
- PRTG Network Monitor This is a sensor-based monitoring system that can monitor a wide range of metrics such as traffic, usage, uptime, and downtime of applications, bandwidth, CPU, memory, and more. A dedicated sensor monitors each aspect to give all the information you need for making informed decisions.
- Nagios A powerful monitoring platform that stays on top of the performance of different devices and applications and reports any anomalies as they occur, so you can troubleshoot the issue before it affects the entire organization.
To conclude, metrics are an essential part of every organization. It provides visibility into operations and, more importantly, can help compare with past performances and baselines to understand the impact of any policies, decisions, devices, changes, etc.
Netdata is a popular monitoring platform for gathering systems, hardware, and devices metrics. It is simple, requires no complicated configuration, and provides high levels of granularity in data collection.
It offers many benefits to organizations such as zero configuration and maintenance, easy deployment, export of data to other platforms, streamlined storage, visualization of problems, and more.
While these are excellent benefits, there is always a possibility that your organization may require additional features that are not present in Netdata. However, they can be found in one of its alternatives outlined above that you may wish to consider.