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The Monitoring Gap you Might Not Know You Have

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The Monitoring Gap you Might Not Know You Have

Written by Keith Kuchler, Vice President of Engineering, SolarWinds

Digital transformation should be supported by highly-scalable, resilient, and responsive ‘infrastructures'. This means using a wide range of technologies to move quickly-from new development languages, to modern application architectures, to utilizing on-prem and cloud-based infrastructures, to containers and serverless, and so on.

With a plethora of distributed systems using different communications protocols with varying functionalities, having deep visibility is more important than ever. This is much easier said than done, and there are often huge gaps when monitoring these dynamic environments.

The gaps in visibility can result in unnecessary or inaccurate noise in the system-false alarms and notifications of events which may or may not actually be issues. This can cause delays in resolution, high stress levels for teams, and can continue into a miserable place from there.

Because of the varying levels of complexity, teams frequently do not discover the blind spots until they encounter a very challenging event. Strategic teams, however, are realizing the need to shift from being reactionary towards a more responsive mode, thinking about addressing problems more holistically.

Bridging the gap between on-prem monitoring and cloud monitoring is key to having a scalable hybrid environment. It calls for adaptation by utilizing new technologies and a new way of thinking about monitoring. It brings a new opportunity for IT to become a better service provider whose services deliver business value.

If IT professionals choose to evolve with this shift, they can learn new skills which can benefit them both professional within their career and also personally with an improved ability to adapt to change. One simple example might be that focusing on scaling containers could translate into their proactive ability to observe, predict, and respond to an increased need to scale.

Effective hybrid monitoring

New technologies, like multi-cloud-based containerized applications, cannot be managed effectively with traditional IT monitoring tools. They aren't able to effectively address the needs of the next generation of hybrid environments, and cannot provide visibility across distributed applications across cloud and on-prem infrastructures.

In addition, due to the sheer novelty of container services like ECS/EKS, containerized workloads can fall off the radar without comprehensive visibility of the ecosystem required to successfully support your applications.

A complete view covers on-prem infrastructure and applications, as well as cloud solutions. To identify the right tool, look for these key attributes in a monitoring suite:

  • Scalable: Supporting rapid releases like adding support for new languages or updating core capabilities to support their evolution, as the service must be able to evolve at the pace required for your success.
  • Fast and robust: Distributed application ecosystems generate large amounts of data, and the tool must be able to handle ingestion, classification, and searching with low latency.
  • Backed by the provider: Just as IT is providing support, the service needs to be supported with quick responses from the solution provider who understands your challenges and is there to help you through it.

Once in place, make sure to apply infrastructure monitoring everywhere-not just in production and not just some of your applications or part of your system. Many market studies reveal that only 10-25 percent of applications use performance monitoring.

In that case, not only do application visibility gaps exist in production, the CI/CD pipeline for DevOps' enabling improvements is lacking as well. Imagine the potential negative impact on customers who are using the applications.

Beyond APM

Deep visibility includes logs and associated events, but correlating the events which are coming from multiple sources for real-time troubleshooting is made difficult due to systems being interconnected in order to take data and derive value from it.

Beyond that, how can you really tell if the experience of the end users of an application has been depreciated? How do you tie that to an application issue, infrastructure-related problem, or network connectivity issue and find the exceptions and errors associated with it? Once you have found it, can you track down who committed the code change in the DevOps repository which contributed to the issue?

Close the gaps by adding digital experience monitoring.

Something as slight as slow page access can impact your business. Delays in rendering are likely to cause people to leave your site and go elsewhere. That bounce rate can turn into lost revenue, and the ones to wait may be unsatisfied with their experience.

You can have the most scalable infrastructure in the world, but if your user interface or application isn't instantly responsive, users' perceptions of your service will be that it's poor. They'll go looking for a better experience.

Digital experience monitoring also allows IT to better state their case through data. With complete observability, you can show the infrastructure was stable. There was no outage, but rather a depreciation of service. The information more definitively highlights the fact that efficient operations of a SaaS infrastructure is critical to being successful.


About the Author


Kuchler joined SolarWinds in 2017 after spending 20 years innovating through development of on-prem and SaaS software solutions for a Fortune 500 company and a startup. Today Keith is the vice president of engineering, leading SolarWinds' highly-distributed engineering teams for the company's SaaS portfolio of DevOps solutions including Pingdom, AppOptics, Loggly, and Papertrail. He is responsible for global transformation of the SolarWinds DevOps portfolio. He and his team focus on research, development, strategy, and service delivery (DevOps/SRE) through innovation and adoption of emerging technologies to optimize costs, speed, and service reliability. Kuchler is specifically intrigued with how technology is an enabler to accelerating positive change for humans (including SolarWinds customers).

Published Friday, November 09, 2018 8:29 AM by David Marshall
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