Top Azure metrics to monitor for performance

Microsoft Azure is one of the most utilized cloud computing platforms. It offers software as a service (SaaS), infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and platform as a service (PaaS) offerings. Consequently, Azure is frequently used to develop and host web applications, create connections between Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into your applications.

To help you understand the performance of your workloads, Azure provides access to a wealth of metrics you can monitor, track, and analyze. A clear understanding of how these metrics and the underlying resources relate to your application’s performance allows you to troubleshoot performance issues more easily. Additionally, these metrics highlight opportunities for optimization, enabling you to enhance your application’s performance and use your cloud resources more effectively.

This article highlights several key Azure metrics, including availability, response rate, network capacity, processing capacity, and more. Let’s explore how these metrics relate to application performance and the best practices for optimizing your applications.

Key Azure metrics to keep an eye on

Keeping an eye on the following metrics enables you to maintain your Azure application’s performance, availability, and efficiency.


Availability assures your cloud workload has a constant 24*7 uptime year-round — the first and most important metric in cloud systems. It’s crucial to implement a strategy that helps you routinely monitor individual services, resources, and the entire workload.

With compute workloads, you must monitor your servers by ensuring that your virtual machines (VM) maintain uptime in the different subnets and resource groups. It’s also essential to watch the state of your app services and ensure that your APIs, back ends, and automated services aren’t experiencing downtime.

Storage services are essential to cloud systems. Monitor these services to ensure they’re available and can receive and dispense data to other Azure services, including load balancer front-end pools, web applications, and more.

Additionally, you should constantly monitor Azure networks and subnets, which connect different services and resources within Azure. These include interconnecting peers, ExpressRoute for connecting to on-premises networks, application gateways, and load balancers.

Administrators of Azure systems must ensure these network components are constantly running without fail. When your Azure networks are in excellent health, you can quickly transfer data within networks and block unwanted access to network components.

Some best practices for monitoring availability include:

  • Drilling down in granularity — Know what’s available and not by collecting data from every monitored resource. This helps you identify resources that are now unavailable and the cause of downtime. Then, you can restore your application performance when downtime and issues occur in production.
  • Setting up alerts — These can inform you when system parts become unavailable and the application no longer works well for your end-users. For instance, you can set up specific alerts when a VM is consuming excess CPU.

Response rate

While availability is critical, application performance requires high responsiveness as well. Consequently, the response rate metric is the second most critical metric for cloud environments. It describes the time your Azure cloud components and resources take to respond to user and system requests related to compute, storage, and networking.

  • Compute — You must know how quickly your Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Virtual Machine Scale Sets (VMSS) can respond to power applications and code hosted on them.
  • Storage — Knowing the speed of delivery of your storage resources helps determine when to modify access tiers regarding availability and latency.
  • Networking — Fast network connections are crucial for data transfer across your virtual networks. Insights into the response rate of your network inform decisions about how to connect the resources and network devices for a higher response rate.

Understanding the response rate helps you identify optimization opportunities. This allows you to deliver a faster, more responsive experience to your users and team.

Best practices for monitoring your response rate and optimizing your application include:

  • Study trends in the responsiveness of individual resources. Then, take actionable steps to improve redundancy and add more instances to zones or geographical regions to match application demands. You’ll know which resources to work on to make the application faster for end-users.
  • Configure a threshold for alerts when the response time becomes too slow. This informs you about the compute capacity or network strength when resource usage peaks and users struggle to load web pages or use application functionalities.


Azure networking consists of virtual networks. A virtual network comprises one or more IP ranges within an Azure subscription and a specific region. It can’t span areas or subscriptions. The network IP address space comprises subnets that house compute, storage, and other resources.

You can easily connect resources within a network. IP address route tables, network interfaces, network security groups, and application security groups can connect resources within a network. However, you can connect with other virtual networks using peers, virtual private networks, ExpressRoute, service endpoints, Azure Private Link, Azure Load Balancer, and network appliances.

Important metrics to monitor in Azure networking systems include:

  • Network availability — The total uptime when network services and background components are available for the application to deliver content and features.
  • Network responsiveness — How fast a network responds to the received requests for data and messages. This, in turn, gives insights into how quickly the application receives data and responses from the backend to users.
  • Network throughput —The bandwidth in the network and the quantity of data exchanged between the source and destination endpoints in the network. Essentially, it informs you about request and response data from the application moving around in the network.
  • Network utilization — How the application loads and uses the network connection.
  • Network capacity — Whether current network resources can withstand load before hitting limits. At sufficient network capacity, the application will be fully working and performant.

Best practices for monitoring these network metrics and optimizing your applications include:

  • Setting up alerts to receive notifications regarding issues in your networks, such as when network latency is above 500ms.
  • Diving deeply into issues when you receive alerts or notice an anomaly in your network links. Check individual links to identify the cause of the problems and fix them quickly.


Azure storage services encompass the Azure Files sent to messaging queues in Azure Queues, NoSQL stores in Azure Tables, Azure disk volumes connected to compute virtual machines, and blob objects in Azure Blobs. These storage and data management solutions must maintain 100 % uptime for the cloud environment’s data processing and storage processes to run effectively.

Monitor the following metrics to track your use of Azure storage services:

  • Storage availability — How many configured storage services are available for storing and accessing data. Unavailable storage resources mean the application can’t store the data collected from the user and system.
  • Storage utilization — This tracks the upper and lower limits of your usage per time to determine the average utilization of the storage services per time. It ensures you know how your application uses storage solutions for 100% uptime and user availability.
  • Storage scalability — This tracks the storage’s responses to increase the data capture and request rate while achieving transactional integrity. The ability to expand to meet application storage needs means your users won’t experience errors or crashes when the application needs to hold their data.

Some best practices for monitoring storage and implementing optimizations include:

  • Setting alerts for unusual activities, such as a sudden exponential increase in storage consumption. This way, you’ll be notified when your system is under potential attack or when there’s a spike in user activity.
  • Stopping and deleting idle resources to free resources for other tasks. This saves costs and improves performance.

Processing capacity

How reliably your VMs, Virtual Machine Scale Sets (AVMSS), and other compute services perform drives the overall IT operations for you and the customer experience for your users. You must consistently monitor your compute instances and servers to ensure 100% uptime.

Metrics to monitor processing capacity include:

  • Server availability — This measures the time percentage of the uptime of your VM and compute services. A 100% uptime is the ideal server availability measure, meaning anything less than 99% needs improvement.
  • Server capacity — The server and compute capacity used at a point in time and the remaining capability of the total available size. Lower CPU/memory means the application begins to lag in performance.
  • Server utilization — This measures the percentage of the available compute and processing capacity used at a particular time. You can use this metric to determine the trend of your application performance by how much of the server processing power it computes.
  • Server responsiveness — This measures the speed at which the compute services and servers respond to requests from other services within or outside the network where they’re stationed. This metric can help you determine the server speed, which defines the application performance.
  • Server scalability — This metric measures how well your compute system expands in terms of I/O speed, processing capacity, and memory capacity to handle increasing demand for processing capacity. This metric tells you how your server can handle increased application performance demands.

Best practices for monitoring these metrics and improving your application based on these metrics include:

  • Setting up end-to-end visibility into the operations of your compute and processing services. Sufficient data and visibility allow you to debug performance errors easily without leaving any stone unturned. It also saves time when solving issues causing downtime.

Monitoring and tracking Azure metrics

You don’t need to monitor metrics in Azure manually. You can implement tools to track these metrics across your Azure infrastructure and help you gain a more holistic view of your infrastructure and application performance.

Azure Monitor is the Azure service for collecting metric data, logs, and traces. It aggregates metrics into a time-series database and provides the Metrics Explorer tool to analyze the collected metric data interactively. For example, Azure Monitor’s Application Insights, Container insights, and VM insights help you diagnose issues with your application and connect infrastructure issues.

Alternatively, you can utilize a third-party monitoring solution like Site24x7’s Azure monitoring tool. It offers full-stack monitoring on all Azure resources, providing alerts and out-of-the-box reports. With its intuitive out-of-the-box dashboard and reports, Site24x7’s Azure monitoring tool identifies performance issues before they reach the production environment.

Site24x7’s Azure monitoring tool provides metrics and insights into the entire digital experience of your application — not just its cloud performance. It also includes monitoring for other cloud-based Microsoft software, including Office365.


This article explored the importance of monitoring in Azure cloud environments, the metrics to monitor, and how these metrics directly reflect your environment and application’s performance. Metrics provide observability and insights into the state of your Azure cloud infrastructure. When properly tracked and analyzed, they help you predict and prevent downtimes and resource failure.

Monitoring tools like Azure Monitor and Zoho Site24x7’s Azure Monitoring tool make it easy and sustainable to track the metrics. These AI-driven analyses will guide you to better decisions and actionable, metric-driven steps to improve your application’s performance.

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