Startup Boundary Offers Real-Time, Cloud-Based App Monitoring, Analytics

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2012-08-15 Print this article Print

Boundary claims to be the industry's first cloud-based service that discovers and creates a visual representation of logical application topology and tracks changes to it in real time.

Newcomer Boundary has found its own way to bring baked-in business intelligence and analytics to the monitoring of data center systems--and in a real-time cloud service.

The San Francisco-based startup, which launched in April, on Aug. 14 announced several updates to its platform, including a freemium version and predefined integrations for both Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and Rackspace Cloud.

Boundary claims to be the industry's first cloud-based service that discovers and creates a visual representation (any type of chart) of logical application topology and tracks changes to it in real time.

New-gen applications are highly distributed and dynamic, and development operations teams are finding it increasingly difficult to monitor and maintain those applications, due to the ever-increasing size and scope of workloads.

"Fundamentally, we look at monitoring as an analytical problem, as opposed to a texting-and-alerting type of problem," President and CEO Gary Read told eWEEK. "Boundary helps to bridge that gap by replacing the 'mental model' of the application topology with the actual model."

Boundary's secret sauce is real-time application discovery and visualization made possible by monitoring each packet that flows to or from every server instance--whether the packet is in a cloud, data center or hybrid environment.This is done by installing a small agent on each node within an IT system, which then reports to the central control platform.

Mobile Devices Welcome

By the way, this information is available to be read on any browser, so connected mobile devices are welcome.

If that sounds like quite an IT problem to tackle, well, it is. Instead of relying on a periodic rediscovery of the data topology or an outdated CMDB (configuration management database), Boundary monitors all nodes all the time and shows in real time the actual and true communication between application tiers.

Details of the new Boundary features are as follows:

  • predefined integrations for Amazon EC2 and Rackspace Cloud, where any status or alerts from those cloud providers can be annotated into the Boundary data;
  • a universal Rich Site Summary (RSS) integration capability enabling any RSS status or alert to be annotated into the Boundary data. This capability is available today to integrate alerts from New Relic, Splunk, Papertrail and others;
  • a big data store that will enable customers to define longer periods of historical data that they wish to keep; and
  • a full-function, free version of the Boundary solution that offers 2GB of free storage.
In only four months, Boundary has attracted about 50 paying customers, including such progressive companies as Github, Canonical, Okta and Cloudant.

Pricing is as follows: Free account: Self-service, 2GB storage; $199/month: 2GB storage, full support; $395/month: 5GB storage and service for 30 to 50 app servers.

Users can sign up for a free Boundary account here.

Chris Preimesberger Chris Preimesberger was named Editor-in-Chief of Features & Analysis at eWEEK in November 2011. Previously he served eWEEK as Senior Writer, covering a range of IT sectors that include data center systems, cloud computing, storage, virtualization, green IT, e-discovery and IT governance. His blog, Storage Station, is considered a go-to information source. Chris won a national Folio Award for magazine writing in November 2011 for a cover story on and CEO-founder Marc Benioff, and he has served as a judge for the SIIA Codie Awards since 2005. In previous IT journalism, Chris was a founding editor of both IT Manager's Journal and and was managing editor of Software Development magazine. His diverse resume also includes: sportswriter for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering NCAA and NBA basketball, television critic for the Palo Alto Times Tribune, and Sports Information Director at Stanford University. He has served as a correspondent for The Associated Press, covering Stanford and NCAA tournament basketball, since 1983. He has covered a number of major events, including the 1984 Democratic National Convention, a Presidential press conference at the White House in 1993, the Emmy Awards (three times), two Rose Bowls, the Fiesta Bowl, several NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments, a Formula One Grand Prix auto race, a heavyweight boxing championship bout (Ali vs. Spinks, 1978), and the 1985 Super Bowl. A 1975 graduate of Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif., Chris has won more than a dozen regional and national awards for his work. He and his wife, Rebecca, have four children and reside in Redwood City, Calif.Follow on Twitter: editingwhiz

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