Extend the AI and automation core of Dynatrace with host extensions to resolve infrastructure problems

By using Dynatrace host extensions, you can extend the AI and automation core of Dynatrace to resolve problems before they impact your customers.

A single instance of OneAgent can handle the monitoring of many types of entities, including servers, applications, services, databases, and more. OneAgent gives you all the operational and business performance metrics you need, from the front end to the back end and everything in between—cloud instances, hosts, network health, processes, and services. But what if a particular metric is crucial for your monitoring needs and it isn’t there?

What if your:

  • SSL certificate expires, and you find out about it from frustrated customers?
  • Host clock is unsynchronized, and you realize this only after losing the data on an unsynchronized Hadoop node?
  • GPU-based machine learning system crashes, and you don’t know why?

With each such problem, you can install yet another tool and hope that you won’t face a new, unknown problem. Or, you can use Dynatrace host extensions to extend the AI and automation core of Dynatrace to resolve problems before they impact your customers and your business.

Let the Davis AI causation engine analyze additional metrics

Host extensions enable you to add additional metrics, events, and properties to hosts. Additional data means better visibility and an ability to act proactively. All the data bound to hosts is analyzed by the Davis AI causation engine and made available on custom dashboards and events pages. This also lowers your maintenance costs by enabling you to have one platform instead of many.

Example 1: Gain visibility into your NVIDIA GPUs

One of our software engineers, Tomasz Gajger, has been involved in a research project related to GPU performance analysis. In the course of his research, he developed a OneAgent NVML extension, which is now available under the MIT License. With this extension, you’re informed about high GPU utilization—metrics are automatically assigned to hosts, which means that Davis analyzes them correctly and finds problems without the need to set any thresholds.

NVIDIA GPU metrics

Note: Due to the highly specialized nature of this feature, we haven’t built this extension into the product, and, consequently, it isn’t officially supported by Dynatrace. Nevertheless, it shows how powerful a custom host extension can be.

Example 2: Keep ahead of SSL certificate expiration dates

SSL certificates must be renewed periodically so that they’re always up to date. A Dynatrace partner from Tempest, Julius Loman, has developed a OneAgent SSL certificate extension with which you can be notified before an SSL certificate expires.

SSL certificate expiration warning in Dynatrace

Besides helping improve your system availability, this extension also provides Dynatrace with additional metadata (see the image below), which you can collect via our REST API. The metrics provided by this extension are also analyzed by Davis.

Certificate extension metadata

Note: We plan to add a Dynatrace-built extension that will be able to detect and monitor internal and third-party certificates.

Write your own custom host extensions

If you’re new to our extensions framework, start with this tutorial. To get you started, we’re providing you with an example host extension. Sign in to Dynatrace and go to Settings > Monitored technologies > Add new technology monitoring > Add OneAgent extension > Download Extension SDK. The host extension example demo_oneagent_plugin_host is in the examples folder. In order to send metrics/metadata to host entities, select the entity type “HOST”—"entity": "HOST".

Custom host extension

You need an extension but don’t have time to write one?

If you need an extension but don’t have the time or skill to write it, Dynatrace Expert Services are here to help. So far, we’ve delivered more than 100 extensions tailored to the specific requirements of our customers.

What’s next

So that we can expand our coverage of infrastructure-related problems, we plan to work on more built-in infrastructure extensions, available out of the box with Dynatrace. Next in line are:

  • An NTP (Network Time Protocol) extension that will detect the offset of the host clock.
  • A certificate extension, which automatically detects and monitors certificates.
  • Active Directory and DNS extensions.

Looking for ways to solve some of your infrastructure-related problems? Feel free to reach out to me at jakub.mierzewski@dynatrace.com.

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