I was very pleasantly surprised by the rich amount of monitoring available within Azure that was effectively free.
The good points:
- Free – there is no additional cost over the cost of the resource you are using.
- Triaging can be done via pinning tiles to a dashboard.
- 90 days retention so you can see short term history.
- There is no free alerting, notifications or automation. However, alerting and notifications do come in at very low cost so configuring alerts would be a logical next step. Azure Automation would require more thought depending on the use case.
- Although you can triage via pinning tiles to a dashboard, you can’t query across multiple data streams. Using log analytics would allow you to collect that data into a single data store and then query that data across resources and indeed subscriptions. This makes it hugely more powerful
- Is 90 days of history enough?
- You are restricted in the metrics you can collect. Azure Application Insights and Log Analytics offer up huge extensibility that allow for much more granular metrics.
So my conclusion would be that the free monitoring offers a whole lot more than I thought it would. But for enterprise scale monitoring and visualisations you will need to look at Log Analytics to provide that scalability, extensibility and longer data retention periods than the free functionality provides.