10 Reasons to Use Azure Operational Insights

Author by Nathan Lasnoski

With today's announcement of the upcoming GA of Azure Operational Insights I wanted to provide you with the top 10 reasons why you should immediately start taking advantage of operational insights in your business.  We've had the opportunity to see Azure Operational Insights provide drastic capabilities to our customers and I'm sure you'll see these in your business.  
  1. Analyze your logs, fast.  As effective as System Center Operations Manager has been at gathering logs, I've always found it a bit sluggish in presenting those logs for analysis.  Azure Operational Insights presents data to the analyst fast through "big-data" type analytics speeds. 
1. Logs
  1. Turn it on quickly.  The enabling of Azure Operational Insights can be done stunningly quickly.  Chiyo has done an excellent job of detailing this configuration process here. If you have System Center Operations Manager deployed, you can enable this immediately.
 
  1. Security log analysis.  The analysis of security logs has traditionally been a daunting task.  Azure Operational Insights includes a security log analysis intelligence pack out-of-box to review logs and provide important recommendations around common problems like "failed logons", "locked out accounts", "suspicious executables", and quantity of accounts authenticated. 
2. Security Logs
  1. Alert management.  The ability to analyze alerts within Azure Operational Insights enables problem management through root cause analysis against alert management.  The opportunity to review the active alerts, understand their commonalities, and systems with the most alerts. 
3. Alerts
  1. Malware assessment.  In the day of zero-day attacks we need to ensure that we can react to malware scenarios and ensure we have patch consistency across an infrastructure.  Azure Operational Insights lets an administrator understand the relationship between necessary patches and the servers within an infrastructure.
4. Malware
  1. Configuration assessment.  Are your systems configured with best practices?  If not, Azure Operational Insights can review the configuration and report the status.  I've worked with many organizations that have hired Microsoft to do reports on their SQL or AD infrastructure.  This is essentially a continuous assessment of the infrastructure for best practices.
5. Configuration
  1. Capacity planning.  The capacity planning capability allows a private cloud administrator to understand the trending in the capacity needs of their platform, as well as the specific areas of concern.  It will analyze your Hyper-V private cloud and provide detailed feedback about how it can be improved or scaled differently.
6. Capacity
  1. Generic log analysis.  You can bring generic logs into Azure Operational Insights and gain serious value.  We recently did a project with a company who wanted to use AOI specifically for Cisco network log analysis and through the flexible log capture and analysis capabilities, we were able to effectively hit their needs.
7. Generic Logs
  1. Change tracking.  A common question in an environment is, "what changed?"  With Azure Operational Insights an analyst can quickly understand the history and changes of a particular server within the infrastructure.
8. Change Tracking
  1. Connect servers directly.  If you don't have System Center Operations Manager, no problem.  You can connect servers directly to Azure Operational Insights with the out of box agent.
  Every time I've enabled Azure Operational Insights I've seen positive user experiences almost immediately, simply from customers using the platform for themselves.  Microsoft has traditionally done a great job building platforms, but with Azure Operational Insights I've seen that they have done a great job presenting immediate value from the platform in the form of the intelligence packs.   Cheers!   Nathan Lasnoski
Author

Nathan Lasnoski

Chief Technology Officer