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VMblog Expert Interview: SIOS Talks APM Solutions and AppKeeper for AWS EC2
SIOS interview

This week, SIOS Technology Corp. announced the availability of SIOS AppKeeper, the industry's first out-of-the-box solution to automatically respond to service outages on Amazon EC2 instances, protecting applications from service interruptions and downtime while eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming manual intervention. 

To learn more, VMblog spoke with Frank Jablonski, VP of Global Marketing, at SIOS.

VMblog:  Cloud services like AWS EC2 make it easy and cost-effective to deploy business applications.  What availability protection services are generally included?

Frank Jablonski:  AWS offers various solutions to help customers deal with application issues. 

AWS Cloudwatch is a monitoring service that provides a unified view of operational health and alerts IT personnel to system-wide performance changes to optimize resource utilization.

AWS AutoRecovery allows IT teams to write scripts that automatically recover supported instances in response to alerts from AWS CloudWatch.  AutoRecovery does not restart services, it just reboots instances.

AWS SystemsManager can reboot services but requires programming or scripting to set up.  The scripts, like all custom scripts, will require maintenance as upgrades to the environment are released.

VMblog:  The use of Application Performance Monitoring (APM) solutions in the cloud are commonplace today.  What role do they play in helping devops teams manage business applications and keep them running?

Jablonski:  APM solutions do a great job when it comes to monitoring the performance of cloud applications and servers against predetermined expectations. They can quickly alert Administrators of problems with detailed logs, metrics, and events, and can even pinpoint the issue(s) so the IT team can avoid them in the future. However, they do not remediate the issues.  They still require manual intervention to review logs and get applications and servers back up and running. 

VMblog:  What gaps do you see that APM solutions and cloud providers like AWS are not addressing?

Jablonski:  APM solutions do not remediate any issues by themselves.  Human intervention is required to restart services or reboot instances, resulting in excessive downtime and additional costs. 

Native tools from AWS such as AWS CloudWatch, only monitor a customer's AWS resources, producing logs, metrics, and events.  CloudWatch does not remediate any issues. 

To automatically recover EC2 instances, users need to set up a CloudWatch Alarm that sends a message to AWS Auto Recovery when it detects a failed system status check.   AWS Auto Recovery then reboots the instance (it can also Stop or Terminate an instance).  This requires manual scripting and ongoing maintenance and support as the environment changes.

CloudWatch and Auto Recovery can only reboot instances.  They do not have the ability to deal granularly with individual services which might be the only thing that needs to be restarted to recover from an issue.

VMblog:  SIOS is introducing AppKeeper in the US marketplace for AWS EC2.  Tell us specifically what it does, and how it fits into the overall AWS EC2 environment.

Jablonski:  SIOS AppKeeper is a SaaS solution that automates recovery from service impairments within AWS EC2 environments.  It is an essential element to ensuring the availability of your cloud applications. Use it alone or to add recovery capabilities to an application performance monitoring (APM) tool.

AppKeeper monitors and can automatically restart application services on your EC2 systems, and if necessary and configured to do so, can perform a complete instance reboot. AppKeeper alleviates the need for administrative resources to be spent performing investigations and reviewing logs to identify the root cause or having to take action.

VMblog:  How typical is it for outages to occur in AWS EC2?

Jablonski:  According to our data from our existing customers in Japan using SIOS AppKeeper, the average customer experienced EC2 downtime at least once a month prior to installing SIOS AppKeeper. 

SIOS AppKeeper was able to address 85% of system impairments, allowing our customers to reduce the need for IT resources and provide their users with better SLAs.

VMblog:  What if a customer is already using an APM tool - can they also use AppKeeper?

Jablonski:  Absolutely, yes.  SIOS is testing integration with several market-leading cloud application performance monitoring (APM) solutions.  The use case will be that the monitoring solution identifies an issue and sends a request to AppKeeper to either restart the service or reboot the instance if necessary.  SIOS AppKeeper addresses a big gap in many of these solutions - APM tools tell you what is happening but you still have to manually investigate and remediate the problem.  SIOS AppKeeper automatically reacts to resolve the problem without waiting for manual authorization. 

VMblog:  SIOS is recognized for its high availability and disaster recovery solutions that protect large, mission-critical applications.  How does AppKeeper fit into your product portfolio?

Jablonski:  SIOS AppKeeper is part of the SIOS portfolio of solutions that keep businesses running.

SIOS LifeKeeper is a clustering solution designed to protect mission-critical applications from local and regional outages, protecting against application, hardware, software, and storage failures for systems running on-premises, in the cloud, and on physical or virtual systems.  LifeKeeper monitors the entire system and orchestrates a failover when the system can't be recovered.

SIOS AppKeeper is intended for the rest of your EC2 systems, focusing solely on ensuring critical OS and application services are running and available. 

SIOS now allows you to apply the appropriate level of availability to your EC2 systems based on specific SLAs and risk tolerances.

VMblog:  Finally, how can customers license AppKeeper?

Jablonski:  SIOS AppKeeper is just US$40 a month per EC2 instance and is available from the SIOS website at [https://us.sios.com/sios-appkeeper/ ].

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Published Wednesday, January 29, 2020 7:01 AM by David Marshall
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