Monitoring buzzword warning – full stack

With so many vendors touting full stack as a buzzword to describe their monitoring solutions, the time has come to cut through the noise and to set the record straight.

In this article, I submit to you the complete and proper definition of full stack monitoring.

Why does this matter?

The benefit of a full stack solution is that it reduces the number of separate tools required to fully monitor your environment and it provides a single source of truth for all teams. However, more times than not, these so-called full stack solutions fall short and you end up needing a bunch of tools which results in a bunch of finger pointing. This is unacceptable.

The fundamentals of full stack monitoring

Let’s start by listing the capabilities that are MANDATORY in a full stack monitoring solution. If anything is missing from this list, it’s not full stack.

  • End user experience
    • Real user – browser
    • Real user – mobile
    • Synthetic transactions
  • Application performance monitoring
    • Transaction tracing
    • Code-level visibility
    • Business transactions
    • SQL performance
  • Infrastructure monitoring
  • Network monitoring
  • Log file monitoring

Additional key capabilities

Although not considered mandatory, below are additional key capabilities that an enterprise-caliber full stack monitoring solution will include.

  • User sessions and click-actions
  • Container monitoring
  • Micro-services monitoring
  • Log analytics
  • Cloud & platform monitoring
  • Mainframe monitoring
  • 3rd party performance
  • Single all-in-one product – If multiple products are required to provide full stack coverage, then the odds of successful implementation and adoption are greatly diminished.

What to watch for

The next time you see or hear a vendor use the words “full stack” to describe their monitoring solution, here are 3 critical things to be on the lookout for. Odds are, the tool will be missing these:

  1. End user experience monitoring
  2. Code-level visibility
  3. End-to-end transaction tracing

Dynatrace is a full stack solution (surprise!)

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Since 2001, I have been immersed in the field of performance monitoring technologies while helping some of the largest companies in the world implement successful monitoring practices. Outside of work, I stay busy with a house full of teenagers and competing on the squash court.

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