April 29, 2017

With more IT organizations starting to embrace microservices to construct applications, gaining visibility into those microservices is becoming a high priority for IT operations teams. To address that requirement, AppDynamics is now providing visibility into those microservices in the summer 2016 release of its namesake monitoring service.

Matt Chotin, director of Product Marketing for AppDynamics, said a new Microservices iQ module in the AppDynamics cloud service automatically monitors all the endpoints that make up a particular microservices. Once detected, IT operations teams  then can track the number of calls per minute being made to that service, the average response times and errors made per minute. IT operations teams also can create snapshots to gather more detailed diagnostics when trying to identify performance issues affecting a specific microservice.

Regardless of where those microservices are deployed, IT operations can also logically track any number of microservices associated with a specific application or even business transaction, he said. Just as significant, Microservices IQ includes a thread contention analyzer that identifies where a thread is blocked all the way down to a specific line of code.

Obviously, there is no shortage of options when it comes to monitoring IT operations in general and containers in particular. But other monitoring tools for containers don’t scale past the individual cluster those containers are running on, Chotin said.

Scheduled to be available this month, the Microservices IQ module will give IT operations teams the confidence they need to deploy microservices in production environments at scale. Without visibility into those microservices, most IT organizations are going to be uncomfortable with a class of applications they can’t easily identify issues with should an application fail or, more commonly, performance starts to degrade inexplicitly, he said.

Just as important, legacy applications are not going away anytime soon, Chotin noted. IT organizations have been crafting services around them for decades. There may be a lot of enthusiasm for microservices these days, but from an IT operational perspective, IT organizations will need a common framework for monitoring existing “macro” and new microservices for years to come. Rather than trying to stitch all that data together from a variety of monitoring tools, AppDynamics is making a case for a more holistic approach.

There’s an old IT adage about not being able to manage what you can’t see. One of the bigger challenges IT operations teams will have with microservices is the ephemeral nature of many of them. While stateful applications are being deployed on containers, the majority of the container applications being deployed today are stateless. In that regard, many of them are spun and down by developers before IT operations teams even know they existed. Obviously, IT monitoring tools won’t solve what amount to process management issue inside the IT organization, but they do give IT operations teams a better chance of understanding the impact any one of those applications might have had on the overall IT environment at any given point in time.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.