Monitoring Distributed Applications

September 12, 2022

Section’s Kubernetes Edge Interface (KEI) and Adaptive Edge Engine (AEE) have dramatically simplified distributed application deployments, allowing DevOps teams to use familiar workflows and tooling (kubectl, Helm, etc.) to move apps to distributed footprints, then control and manage those workloads using simple policy-based rules. In short, the distributed footprint becomes one big cluster that’s automatically optimized in the background based on rules you set, while teams continue to manage application updates and deployment as they would with a single cluster.

But what about ongoing operational requirements? How can and should you be monitoring app distributed applications?

Multi-cloud and edge platforms and services must be flexible enough to adapt to different architectures, frameworks and programming languages. Take, for example, when a developer works with Section; they can continue to work with their existing code and continer repository, similar to any other Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) workflow. The platform ultimately supports code portability for developers building across many different runtime environments, handling the deployment of any code changes as needed.

But Section’s vision doesn’t stop there. To quote Stewart McGrath, Section’s cofounder and CEO, “since we’re in a DevOps world, not only do we need to think about the application development lifecycle and the CI/CD workflow, but we need to think about the observability and management of the distributed application.”

Observability for Distributed Systems: Diagnostics and Telemetry

Speed of innovation is a key differentiator for businesses in a competitive market, so it’s not surprising to see how many SaaS, PaaS, and application builders are now getting onboard with new and more dynamic ways to accelerate apps through distribution. Developers should always look for ways to iterate quickly, yet safely. Observability helps these DevOps teams move quickly with greater confidence.

Even if you’re using KEI and AEE to automate distribution optimization, deployment best practices demand a comprehensive monitoring strategy; it’s critical for developers to have a holistic understanding of the state of their application at any given time. But that observability becomes increasingly complex when you consider distributed delivery nodes across a diverse set of infrastructure from different providers.

As reported in a recent Dynatrace survey of 700 CIOs, “The dynamic nature of today’s hybrid, multicloud ecosystems amplifies complexity. 61% of CIOs say their IT environment changes every minute or less, while 32% say their environment changes at least once every second.” To add to the complexities of trying to keep up with dynamic systems, that same report revealed that: “On average, organizations are using 10 monitoring solutions across their technology stacks. However, digital teams only have full observability into 11% of their application and infrastructure environments.”

An effective solution for multi-cloud, muti-cluster or distributed system observability should be able to provide a single pane of glass to draw together data from many locations and infrastructure providers. This kind of visibility is essential for developers to gain insight into the entire application development and delivery lifecycle. The right centralized telemetry solution allows engineers and operations teams to evaluate performance, diagnose problems, observe traffic patterns, and share value and insights with key stakeholders.

Monitoring with Section’s Composable Edge Cloud

Section provides a Composable Edge Cloud on which your application can run consisting of a global network of compute locations.

Kubernetes Console

To see real time feedback of where your traffic is running, Section provides the access to the standard Kubernetes Console which is presented as though the various locations on which an application may be running at any one time are running in one single cluster; even though they may be any where in the world. In the Kubernetes console users can SSH onto every single container immediately in any location to diagnose and debug. Users can also use the standard Kubernetes logging functionality.

Analytics Integration

In addition, users can easily integrate with their existing application analytics tools such as Grafana, Splunk and Datadog.

Summary

Monitoring is essential for effecitve operation of any modern application. However, monitoring complexity increases significantly when face with instrumenting distributed systems. Section provides such monitoring instrumentation out of the box with every application deployed.

Section’s ability to continuously optimize the orchestration of secure and reliable global infrastructure for application delivery was a key selling point for Kentik co-founder and CEO Avi Freedman:

“As a network observability company, Kentik has a global view of the internet combining passive and active measurements. Partnering with Section allows us to quickly and easily augment our edge deployments, and their cloud-native platform and partnerships make it easy and affordable to integrate as we continually expand our footprint.”

If you aren’t already on the Section platform, try it for free today.

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