Today we announced the general availability of the Azure Monitor Agent (AMA) and Data Collection Rules (DCR) that are two brand new features from the Azure Monitor product. You can read more about the specific changes announced on this launch in this update announcement here.
Both these features address the data collection aspects of Azure Monitor. They aim to provide powerful new capabilities, while at the same time ensuring data collection setup is a breeze for users! Read on to find out how…
The AMA collects monitoring data from the guest operating system of virtual machines and delivers it to Azure Monitor. It is meant to replace all other agents that exist today for a similar purpose, consolidating their features and providing more capabilities on top and enabling long-requested asks by all of you.
So, while it is indeed another agent, it’s primary targeted to address the underlying sentiment of this question, which is pain and frustration at “too many agents”. For users today, there’s one agent if you wish to collect telemetry logs data, another agent if you want to collect metrics from Windows machines for alerting, another one if you want to do the same but from Linux machines. I think we all can agree that’s no fun, and the solution to this is (yep, you guessed it), the AMA!
The answer is no, but it’s meant to be the single agent for uploading data to Azure Monitor going forward, which collects telemetry data and sends it to Azure Monitor Logs or Metrics (today), and Event Hubs, Storage Accounts and many other destinations that you need to send telemetry data to (in future).
Other extensions need to be deployed for specific “curated” monitoring scenarios like security or insights, that all use the AMA to pump data to Azure Monitor.
Thus, it’s important to understand the new extension model that the AMA introduces that reduce management overhead and provide a consistent, easy way to enable, update, debug and remove specific monitoring scenarios.
"We are very excited with the new Windows Security filtering capabilities in Azure Monitor Data Collection Rules. During the last 4-5 months, 3 of our customers have used the new feature. They have all gained significant logging cost savings (30-50%) being able to exclude irrelevant security events into their log workspace. The XPath filtering capabilities adds great filtering capabilities on agent level, so we only send the needed data into Azure Log Analytics. Moving forward we are also excited to learn, that Microsoft will continue to enhance the filtering capabilities to support some of the features in newer versions of XPath"
- Morten Waltorp Knudsen, CEO & Cloud Architect, 2LINKIT
“We have a large investment for both on-premise and cloud resources. With Azure ARC and Azure Monitor Agent, we are able to collect real-time data from both environments into log analytics to provide analysis, gain visibility from operation management and compliances. This also allows us to reduce redundant tools, processes, and expenses”
– An avid user from a large US telecommunication company
“I want an easy way to setup monitoring and data collection for all my resources”
“I want to centrally manage what telemetry data I collect, and just do it one way for all instead of managing it differently per machine or resource type”
“I want a single pane of glass view for any/all data being collected from my resources and how/where it’s being sent to”
“I want a simpler monitoring life! :)”
If you can relate to any of the above, then Data Collection Rules is here to help!
Simply put, a DCR is a rule you can use to define what data to collect, how it should be processed, and where it should be sent to. It’s agnostic of the source of the data as well as the destination, making it independent of either and thus flexible enough to configure collection just the way you need to.
As such, DCR presents tremendous opportunity to revisit and simplify your existing data collection setup, and provides freedom from all existing limitations around configuration to make the most out of Azure Monitor!
Note: When using the DCR creation experience on Azure Portal (shown below), you only need to perform step #1. All other steps are performed on your behalf (woohoo, no need to worry about agent installation!)
As of today, DCR is used to configure what the AMA should collect and where the data should be sent to. In the long term though, Data Collection Rules will become the single, consistent way to configure data collection for other resources like PaaS services (uses Diagnostic Settings today) or application (uses AppInsights SDK today), and whatever else that you need. Tell us now and help us build it for you!
We will not be auto migrating customers due to the fact that AMA is not at full parity yet with the existing agents.
We will be releasing migration tools in the coming months to automate and simplify some of this for you. In the meantime, if you need additional guidance or have questions, please reach out to the product group directly. We would be happy to assist!
This launch is just the first step towards a better and more powerful world of data collection for monitoring.
On the agent side:
On the DCR side, we will expand scope to act as the control plane for other parts of Azure Monitor data collection, like API based ingestion and Diagnostic Settings.
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