With so many new web technologies available, one might assume that things are getting easier for the average Operations-minded DevOps professional, but they aren’t. In fact, things are becoming more difficult. It used to be that a little background in shell scripting and some basic knowledge of infrastructure—whether it be networking or servers—could get you a long way. Then came virtualization and the Cloud and software-defined everything. Today you find yourself bleary-eyed reading orchestration strategies and API references trying to keep up. Despite your efforts, you are drowning as the next new term has arrived in your inbox. Catch…this post is your life preserver!
“Liquid infrastructure” is that new shiny term and everything you know about data centers is obsolete. You’re now being asked to use a software-defined data center to optimize your application delivery and save a boatload of money! To achieve such monetary benefits, your infrastructure needs to be dynamic, elastic, and transient. Or, in a single word, “Liquid.” As you have discovered in your late night Internet pursuits, you need to re-learn all of the concepts you once knew. No longer is your server “from those guys in Austin, TX.” Your storage doesn’t “come from those folks in Hopkinton, MA” (now Austin, TX as well). Even the Operating system from Seattle, WA isn’t the pane of glass you will be looking at. These elements are the dinosaur bones of your legacy data center. Today your server is an application running on a generic computer with an open-source operating system in one of the many alphabets named data centers in the cloud. The only thing that is tangible at this moment is “you don’t know what you don’t know!”
The knowledge you need can be acquired with a monitoring tool for your liquid infrastructure and we are all in the same boat. Liquid infrastructure isn’t “on-prem.” It is the cloud and it’s changing all the time. Traditional alert and log-based solutions aren’t effective because liquid infrastructure spans physical geographies with a rate of change that is exponential. Keeping such static legacy solutions up to date is a herculean effort. The newest applications are optimized to run on liquid infrastructure and may even circumvent the traps you have set. Yesterday you were abstracting your hardware using Virtualization and Software Defined Networking (SDN). Today you are orchestrating those abstractions further with Linux containers like Docker and Mesos. Tomorrow’s abstraction is already on the way. By the time you learn what it is, will it be too late? I’m only a Solutions Engineer, not a psychic after all.
Whatever monitoring solution you seek, it has to solve this paradox: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Your monitoring solution must help you visualize—in real-time—the entire infrastructure stack, from your applications to the virtual datacenters hosting them, because if you can’t see something, you probably don’t know about it. Your monitoring must seamlessly incorporate all relevant technologies into a single pane of glass because every new tool is a console you no longer have time to learn. With an exponential rate of change, your monitoring must automatically update context because you won’t have time or capacity to keep track of changes manually. When something changes you must be able to see what the change is, what the effect on the applications is, and any events that led to the change, intended or otherwise. Lastly, when problems occur there needs to be an automatic analysis of cause and impact because infrastructure and application metrics change so quickly you might otherwise miss them when trying to correlate unmonitored metrics using someone’s customized dashboard.
To summarize, you need:
- Real-time visualization
- Seamless integration
- Automatic adjustment
- Change tracking
- Automated problem analysis
- Application impact analysis
Dynatrace is a SaaS based monitoring tool that provides all of the above solutions. It’s quick to set up and run and it’s the only tool you need to learn. Dynatrace removes the blind spot in your liquid-infrastructure monitoring and enables you to be empowered in the new agile world.