A Thousand Points of Light: Critical Performance Insights from Wire Data

Modernizing and optimizing. Transforming. If you’re in IT, you hear these terms frequently. They likely mean different things to different organizations, but there are a couple of recurring themes. Increasing agility to respond in real time to shifts in business demands. Managing the costs associated with increased complexity, through automation and intelligence as well as rationalization and consolidation. Cloud – private, hybrid, public – is not the result; rather, cloud is a means of reaching for these goals.

Inherent in this modernization shift is a transition – sometimes subtle, sometimes seismic – from static traditional architectures (got any 3-tier apps left?) and proprietary platforms to new paradigms of virtualization, microservices, and software-defined everything.

What does this shift mean for monitoring visibility? Specifically, for critical performance insights sourced from wire data? As network and application architectures change to support modernization goals, traditional approaches to monitoring must also adapt. Gone are the days where a SPAN on a core switch could provide comprehensive visibility into users accessing your entire application portfolio. Today, these core aggregation points have exploded into dozens or hundreds of smaller points of light. As a result, some vendors claim agents are the answer; some even suggest that NPM may be dead.

Long live wire data

This physical to virtual technology shift has many ramifications. From a network visibility perspective, it has disrupted the status quo, creating access challenges that are today being addressed by packet broker vendors such as Ixia. In fact, the approach remains consistent, mirroring the same physical to virtual shift. Modern and optimized visibility architectures incorporate virtual taps to complement (or supplant) physical taps, aggregating and pruning packets as appropriate to deliver clean traffic streams to monitoring tool destinations.

So don’t let your architecture dictate your level of performance monitoring. If it has been important to include wire data in your data center APM strategy, and you’re migrating these apps to the cloud (or your data center is becoming more cloud-like), won’t the same level of visibility still be important after the shift?

Listen to Dynatrace’s Jason Suss and Ixia’s Keith Bromley as they chat with the folks at LMTV. You’ll hear them discuss visibility architectures from the data center to the cloud, the importance of wire data APM, even compare apps to autos. You may also be interested in this free eBook, co-authored by Dynatrace and Ixia: Operational Visibility in the Software-Defined Data Center.

Gary is a Subject Matter Expert in Network Performance Analytics at Dynatrace, responsible for DC RUM’s technical marketing programs. He is a co-inventor of multiple performance analysis features, and continues to champion the value of network performance analytics. He is the author of Network Application Performance Analysis (WalrusInk, 2014).