Create Custom Azure Dashboard To Monitor Azure File Sync

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Published on | Updated on December 6, 2020

3 Min. Read

Introduction

In July 2018, Microsoft announced the GA release for Azure File Sync. With Azure File Sync, you can centralize your files in Azure and then install a sync agent on Windows Server whether it’s on-premises or in Azure to provide fast local access to your files. Your server and Azure Files are constantly in sync, so you have one centralized location for your files with multi-site access powered by fast local cache and cloud tiering.

For more information about Azure File Sync, check my previous step-by-step guide on how to get started with Azure File Sync and PowerShell. Additionally, Microsoft streamlined the deployment of Azure File Sync in Windows Admin Center to make that process easier. Check the following article to learn more about Windows Admin Center and Azure File Sync. And recently, Microsoft announced Azure File Sync v6 support for Server Core installations.

Now you enabled Azure File Sync and everything is running well, but like for every solution you deploy, you need to monitor its health status, data synchronization, activity logs, etc. A couple of months back, I wrote an article on how to monitor Azure File Sync, I highly encourage you to check it out.

Now wouldn’t be nice to have a Graphical User Interface (GUI) for a sync group or some high-level point in the solution to show what files are syncing or which files have issues, etc. Fortunately, this can be accomplished by creating a custom dashboard in Azure where you can pull all the monitoring data into a single pane of glass.

In this quick article, I will show you how to create a custom dashboard for Azure File Sync and aggregate all the important metrics and activity logs into a single view.

Create Custom Dashboard

Launch the Azure Portal and select the + New dashboard button next to the current dashboard’s name.

Create Custom Azure Dashboard To Monitor Azure File Sync 1

This action creates a new, empty, private dashboard and puts you into customization mode where you can name your dashboard and add or rearrange tiles. For more information about editing and customizing Azure dashboards, please check the following guide from Microsoft.

Create Custom Azure Dashboard To Monitor Azure File Sync 2

Now open Azure Monitor, then click Metrics and create each of the following metrics, then rename the metric and give it a meaningful name, and finally pin it to the current dashboard.

Create Custom Azure Dashboard To Monitor Azure File Sync 3

In this example, I will create the following metrics to build my Azure File Sync dashboard:

Azure Monitor – Resource (Storage Sync Service)

  • Metric Namespace: Bytes synced with Aggregation Type: Sum and Avg.
  • Metric Namespace: Cloud tiering recall with Aggregation Type: Sum.
  • Metric Namespace: Files synced with Aggregation Type: Count, Avg, and Sum.
  • Metric Namespace: Files not syncing with Aggregation Type: Count and Sum.
  • Metric Namespace: Server online status with Aggregation Type: Max.

Azure Monitor – Resource (Storage Account)

  • Metric Namespace File: Egress metric with Aggregation Type: Sum.
  • Metric Namespace File: Availability metric with Max and Avg.
  • Metric Namespace File: Ingress metric with Aggregation Type: Sum.
  • Metric Namespace File: Transactions metric with Aggregation Type: Sum.

Storage Sync Service – Activity Log – Add Filter Operation

  • Operation Name: Create or Update Registered Server
  • Operation Name: Create or Update Server Endpoints
  • Operation Name: Create or Update Sync Groups
  • Operation Name: Create or Update Cloud Endpoints

And last, but certainly not least, if you have an EA Azure subscription, then you can also add the Cost Management to the dashboard so you can monitor the consumption of Azure File Sync, however, at the time of writing this article, CSP subscriptions are not yet supported in Cost Management. Azure Cost Management should be ready for Cloud Solution Providers (CSP) in the second half of 2019.

Here is a view of the final dashboard once you put all the metrics together.

Create Custom Azure Dashboard To Monitor Azure File Sync 4

Once the custom dashboard is built, you can choose/change the desired time range, then all the metrics for the different resources will get refreshed automatically. That’s awesome!

Share Custom Dashboard

After configuring a dashboard for Azure File Sync, you can publish it and share it with other users in your organization. You allow others to view your dashboard by using Azure Role-Based Access Control (RBAC). You assign a user or group of users to a role, and that role defines whether those users can view or modify the published dashboard.

For more information, check how to share Azure dashboards by using Role-Based Access Control here.

That’s it there you have it! Happy monitoring with Azure File Sync :)

Summary

As you can see, we have several options to monitor Azure File Sync health and activity status. Personally, I see the integration with Azure Monitor looks really promising. Microsoft has great documentation for troubleshooting guidance, make sure to check it if you encounter any issue.

Azure File Sync extends on-premises file servers into Azure by providing cloud benefits while maintaining performance and compatibility. Azure File Sync provides:

  • Multi-site access – provide write access to the same data across Windows servers and Azure Files.
  • Cloud tiering – store only recently accessed data on local servers.
  • Integrates with Azure backup service so no need to back up your data on-premises.
  • Fast disaster recovery – restore file metadata immediately and recall data as needed.

I hope you find this guide useful.

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Thank you for reading my blog.

If you have any questions or feedback, please leave a comment.

-Charbel Nemnom-

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