Our previous blog addressed SRE and its nitty-gritty and how Google influences our approach towards it. At Parkar, it’s all about helping you get there faster no matter how nuanced your needs are and which stage of adoption you are at while looking for services. It’s all about the need for speed. Not surprising then, this blog is dedicated to microservices and the critical aspect of monitoring them. In this blog, we will talk about microservices and the critical aspect of monitoring them.
Things were different when you used the traditional monolith system that had different points of failure and dependencies when deployed as a single executable or library. But when it comes to monitoring microservices applications, it is important to get a fresh perspective. Microservices based applications have unique, intensive requirements necessitating all concerned to correlate data from various services. It has very specific monitoring requirements too.
Microservices monitoring – Whys & Hows
Before we delve deeper, we need to have answers to the following questions:
- Why should systems be monitored and how are things different when monitoring the microservices architecture?
- What kind of data is required?
- What are the tools you should be using for publishing, collating and storing data?
What are Microservices
We’ve already explained in detail what microservices is all about in our earlier blogs. It is an architectural style that structures an application as a collection of services that are easy to maintain and test. These services are loosely coupled, independently deployable, and meticulously organized keeping business capabilities in mind.
Often, these are owned by a small team that relies on the microservice architecture to ensure rapid, frequent and reliable delivery of large, complex applications while evolving the organization’s technology stack.
There are potholes to avoid on your road to successful implementation and challenges and strategies too that we’ve covered in detail in our previous blogs.
Moving on, we now tell you how to assess and monitor microservices.
The monolith architecture pattern has worked well for many organizations for several applications, though its limitations are hard to overlook.
Many larger organizations with more complex applications are migrating to the microservice architecture pattern. If you have already migrated and built an application with the microservice architecture, we’ll tell you the ways and means to monitor it and reduce architectural and organizational risk.
Microservices Application Monitoring
For starters, let’s accept no one likes to fail. Complex systems, even monoliths, can operate in a degraded state causing a huge impact on performance and eventually leading to failures.
Monitoring ensures that operators are alert and well-equipped to manage systems as they hit the degraded state way before total failure occurs. As you are aware, there is a Service Level Agreement in place when such services are offered. But the only way to know if it was being honored or not is through effective monitoring.
Monitoring will also render invaluable data that can be employed effectively to enhance service performance.
There will be patterns in system failures that would otherwise go unnoticed. Often times, there is a correlation between events.
Imagine getting information that confirms that most of the time, total system failures occur within an hour of a new deployment.
This kind of information is critical and would alert operators to pay greater attention to the deployment process. This is where application performance monitoring or APM comes into play and is fast burgeoning into a market of its own.
The role of APM is so dominant today that Gartner even publishes a Magic Quadrant report for APM suites. According to a survey by Gartner, 61% of respondents identified APM as important or critical out of which 46% cited end-user experience monitoring as the most critical dimension of APM. It is important however that you are not swayed by everything that’s promised and take the time to critically review solutions that are being offered and look into their ability to adapt to more complex systems and environments.
At Parkar, we raise the benchmarks for end-user experience monitoring. Our focus has been to deliver greater functionality and reliability and our NexGen Platform ensures just that. We offer excellent alerting features and data that can be used effectively by the development and operation teams to shift and filter out all but critically important events. These alerts, in turn, can be escalated via dashboards, emails and other means.
The architecture which encompasses monitoring
As opposed to monoliths that are usually deployed as a single executable or binary library, microservices applications are often deployed as a family of independent services wherein each service is assigned a special function. These services are also expected to communicate with other services to ensure that a particular task or unit of work is carried out in a symbiotic manner.
Through a series of microservices, complex workflows are orchestrated and each service communicates with dependent resources such as a disk or a database or other services as required. This means every interaction is likely to be a potential point of failure that can have a huge impact on the entire system. The only way to prevent systemic degradation or failures is to detect issues early on and raise an alarm.
A robust microservice architecture factor in all the above concerns in development as well as operational contexts. So the development teams get clarity at design time while the operations teams build and support the necessary infrastructure to gather data reported by applications and platforms.
For the short term, the data is used for emergency scenarios like sending out alerts, while for long-term it comes in handy for data mining and analytics to look for patterns. Patterns offer useful insights when it comes to the analysis of common reasons for failures.
Microservices Application Monitoring Metrics to get insights
Application metrics: This applies to the application we are using.
Let’s take an example of a healthcare application, say Patient Registration application. The application accepts user registrations and you would want to know how many registrations were successfully completed in a specific amount of time. This kind of information is necessary for development teams and the organization as a whole to understand how the system functions.
To elaborate this further, let’s take an example where the system usually completes 1000 registrations in an hour and suddenly they drop to just 300 in the last couple of hours.
You know there’s a major cause of concern and the system needs to be immediately investigated for anomalies.
Platform metrics: These metrics are just what you need to tighten your grip on the infrastructure.
Average response time, average execution time, the number of requests received per minute, etc. are good examples of platform metrics.
Together, they typically offer a dashboard that throws light on low-level system performance and behavior. They alert you to degraded performances that impact overall throughput or lead to a system-wide failure.
Parkar NexGen platform is quick to spot anomalies and prevent failures way before they occur.
Operational Metrics: There will be operational issues that are often disruptive. A classic case in point – new deployments. The correlation between new code deployments and system failures is well known. It is a good idea to record such instances including scaling events, configuration updates, and other operational changes that are crucial and important candidates for monitoring to ensure good system behavior.
A lot of customers use the Parkar NexGen platform to manage and monitor their application deployment. This ensures that there is no loose end and the inbuilt monitoring as part of the NexGen platform takes care of operational issues.
Parkar NexGen Platform and Monitoring
The constant need for speed has given Parkar the edge and motivation to come up with a solution that is revolutionary in every way. As environments and architectures continue to evolve and become more complex, monitoring too is becoming equally complex and critical.
Not surprising then, this need has caused a ripple effect within software management, including monitoring systems. What we offer is a platform that helps you tide over monitoring challenges and level up your business.
Parkar NexGen Platform critically monitors, with the help of Nagios, Datadog:
- Service performance
- Multi-location services
- Cloud-Scale monitoring
- Log consolidation, event correlation
It is important to align your monitoring with the organizational structure. To facilitate smart and effective monitoring, our NexGen Platform ensures that monitoring is easily configurable, non-intrusive and highly scalable.
Fig: Parkar NexGen Platform Benefits
NexGen Platform benefits:
- Integrates legacy system and marketplace systems to accelerate your digital transformation journey
- Reduces app release time from months to days
- Ensures shorter build times for rapid deployment of new updates and version releases
- Provides secured data access through enterprise API for third-party data interoperability between legacy and modern systems
- Offers web service mesh for easy connection with third party wearables and customer platforms
- Facilitates scalable governance of multiple applications with enterprise-grade protection and support
- Provides visibility across all the data streams and usage
The monitoring of microservices is critical. Parkar with its highly effective NexGen Platform is changing the way organizations are addressing their monitoring needs. It offers amazing capabilities to users helping them move with agility in the right direction. It is changing business dynamics not only from microservices perspective but also with its approach towards AIOps. You can experience its benefits too.
Let us talk to assess your environment and we will help you with insights and capabilities to make better business decisions
Innovative Director of Software Engineering. Entrepreneurial, methodical senior software development executive with extensive software product management and development experience within highly competitive markets. I am an analytical professional skilled in successfully navigating corporations large and small through periods of accelerated growth.