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Dynatrace delivers flexible and scalable Kubernetes native synthetic private locations

Dynatrace now offers containerized auto-scalable private location deployment, eliminating the need to deploy individual synthetic ActiveGates on separate hosts or virtual machines.

Many organizations today are utilizing Kubernetes to orchestrate their containers’ deployment, scaling, and management. The benefits of this approach include faster deployment, easier and more effective management, cost reduction, and more. Because it’s critical that operations teams ensure that all internal resources are available for their users, synthetic monitoring of those resources is important. Private locations are crucial in achieving this goal. So why not use the advantages of K8s to make synthetic deployment monitoring easier and more effective?

Large enterprises face different challenges

A well-described synthetic check can reduce, and in many cases avoid, unforeseen downtime due to failure domains by replicating the expected user journey and measuring its performance. Global corporations with offices in multiple countries need to ensure that their internal systems are accessible to all employees, regardless of their location.

To simulate those users’ journeys, multiple synthetic locations deployed within various sections of internal networks are required. A prominent solution is virtual machines, however, this is inadequate for customers who deploy their systems with Kubernetes. For large enterprises, this is not even a consideration. Some organizations need to weigh cost considerations due to technology and business scalability limitations whereas others need to adhere to company policies. In addition, the need for automation dictates proceeding with containerization, particularly for monitoring services that are not exposed outside of Kubernetes. This is in line with market trends which indicate that the growing number of open source vendors providing container platforms, the rising popularity of microservices, the increasing digital transformation of businesses, and the requirement to abide by regulatory requirements are all expected to contribute to the growth of the Kubernetes market by 23.4% CAGR in the forecasted period ending 2030.

Private locations in K8s offer numerous benefits

Dynatrace identified that it is insufficient to deploy private locations in virtual machines only, where modern and truly cloud-native solutions require support for container-based application development. With this update, we’ve expanded our offerings to cover deployment trends in Kubernetes. Instead of treating this as merely another supported platform along with Windows and multiple Linux distributions, auto-scalability was built to simplify efforts related to the management and maintenance of private locations. In the case of one of the largest banks in the US, this was decisive in the deployment of Dynatrace Synthetic Monitoring, where a practitioner quoted, “deployment of private synthetic locations in K8s allows our organization to proceed with synthetic monitoring to proactively react on issues with our systems.” Not only do operations personnel now have an easier time deploying synthetic tests faster with fewer resources, it’s also no longer necessary to track utilization.

For operations personnel working with Kubernetes, this is a significant leap ahead. This is how Synthetic deployment should be for cloud-native environments. With this update, practitioners can easily manage synthetic locations for multiple environments. Furthermore, they can schedule deployments when needed while leaving the hassle of scaling to the Dynatrace platform. With the deployment of private locations in containers, development teams can increase the velocity of deployments, improve infrastructure durability, and automate the building, running, and maintaining of applications throughout their production environments. This has been confirmed by the operations lead of a European organization catering to disabled people, “it significantly speeds deployment up and allows us to replicate the locations very quickly in a test environment.” To stay in lockstep with container usage across industries, synthetic monitoring solutions are making tools available to cater to those trends.

Compared to the alternate approach of deploying in VMs, containerized location deployment is much faster and does not require setting up new virtual machines for each node.

Who can benefit from this update?

If you’re part of any one of these groups, you can benefit from the private locations in K8s

  • If you’re exclusively a virtual machine user using Dynatrace Synthetic Monitoring but haven’t migrated to containers due to a lack of support.
  • If deploying synthetic ActiveGates on separate VMs is a hassle while using Dynatrace Synthetic.
  • If you partially deploy your applications as containers.
  • If you’re already using containers for your software and have requested private locations for them but aren’t entirely satisfied with the need to set up virtual machines.

How does it work?

To begin, it’s important to be aware of the difference in approach employed by this update compared to existing solutions in the market. Kubernetes takes care of keeping the necessary minimum number of nodes alive for executing all the tests assigned to a location. This way the location is always big enough to effectively handle the load but does not consume more resources than needed. Also, instead of deploying single Synthetic-enabled ActiveGates and assigning them to selected locations (including tracking utilization metrics and adding new ActiveGates the same way, if required, for executing more tests) in a containerized version, Dynatrace deploys the whole location immediately with a minimum and a maximum number of nodes as the necessary input parameters.

The configuration process is straightforward. Simply define the new location name and geographic location, as well as the size for a single node (XS, S, or M) and the minimum and maximum number of nodes. These numbers serve as limits for scalability, utilizing the power of the Kubernetes platform.

Dynatrace always recommends using 2 as a minimum number of nodes to achieve a high availability setup. A maximum number is specified for resource control purposes. Automation practitioners may utilize an API-based to achieve the same results. After saving the location’s configuration, you’re allowed to download the generated YAML file automatically which will be the basis for your deployment.

How to add Kubernetes or OpenShift locations in Dynatrace screenshot

In the Deployment of Synthetic Private Location section, you need to either provide existing tokens or create new ones. You also have the option to adjust Kubernetes namespace and/or ActiveGate names if necessary. Lastly, you’re given a series of commands to execute on the K8s/OpenShift cluster.

Deployment of Synthetic Private Location in Dynatrace screenshot

Now, all you need to do is execute the commands.

Commands in Dynatrace screenshot

After just a few minutes your pods are up and running, as is your new synthetic private location. As a next step, you could assign tests to it or execute tests from a new location in on-demand mode.

Commands in Dynatrace screenshot

Deployment of containerized locations is now significantly faster as it negates the need to be repeated for each node, particularly in comparison to the virtual machine approach which requires setting up new virtual machines beforehand.

Take advantage of Dynatrace Synthetic Monitoring today

If you’re considering ways to cut down on resource expenses, streamline deployment processes, and improve your synthetic monitoring capabilities, private location deployment in containers with auto-scalability can be incredibly beneficial. These solutions will allow your SMEs to concentrate on crucial areas where their expertise is most needed.