SignalFx, New Relic Scale Up on Cloud App, Function Monitoring

NEWS ANALYSIS: The popularity of serverless computing means there are now millions potential activities to watch over compared to standard virtual machine or container workloads. However, New Relic and SignalFX are two forward-looking companies offering new tools to handle this.

NewRelic.SignalFX.AWS

LAS VEGAS—With Amazon Web Services doubling down on serverless computing and development, the pressure is on application performance monitoring (APM) partners to keep up the pace.

AWS Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels announced several new tools and services for serverless in his AWS Re:Invent 2018 keynote this week. Those included Ruby language support for the Lambda serverless runtime as well as bring your own IDE (independent development environment) and language capabilities, including PHP, Rust and Cobol.

The popularity of serverless means millions potential activities to watch over compared to standard virtual machine or container workloads.

New monitoring services coming to the fore

"A single search or API call into Amazon is going out into dozens or hundreds of individual microservices," said Karthik Rau, Founder and CEO at SignalFx, one of several companies here showing new monitoring services to handle serverless and microservices-based applications.

"Each microservice is elastic and has hundreds or potentially thousands of containers that are spinning up and spinning down," Rau told eWEEK. "What you have to understand is the patterns across the entire service and the relationships in between different services. These modern architectures generally are pretty resilient, but troubleshooting long-tail issues is more complicated."

SignalFx's new Microservices APM product offers real-time application performance monitoring, which it achieves through its "NoSample" distributed tracing architecture, Rau said. As opposed to alternatives that take only samples, SignalFx can capture streams of data in real time.

SignalFx's technology team formerly worked on at Facebook on its ODS monitoring tools and brought over what they learned there. The company was formed within weeks of Docker’s first release.

Rau said the company will continue to develop the solution to incorporate other forms of data that  can use analytics and to enable "closed loop" automatic remediation of problems. In other to do that, the company, which received $45 million in funding earlier this year, will open a new research and development center in Krakow, Poland.

New Relic shows new support for AWS Lambda

"We're not bottled-necked on our ability to fund R&D but on our ability to find great engineers," he said. "There's a tremendous arbitrage opportunity in the quality of talent in other countries."

For its part, New Relic, the overall APM market leader, was also showing off its new support for AWS's Lambda serverless runtime, along with new features that include support for Amazon EKS container services for Kubernetes, distributed tracing anomaly detection, and on-host integrations.

New Relic's vice president of observability tools Henry Shapiro told eWEEK that new monitoring challenges must embrace the ephemeral nature of new cloud applications. "Instances go up and down, you have to view not 10 things but 10 million," he said. "And be able to pull data from the cloud services themselves so customers can not just see there's a problem, but see why."

New Relic user Steve Henry of marketing technology firm ScribbleLive says the big difference-maker for advanced APM technology is getting a clearer picture of how performance affects customers.

"The big thing is how do we use these tools and put more customer specific information in them, stuff that you can have meaningful business conversations about," Henry said. "When there are errors, show me in real time which customers are impacted, and affected these people [in a major way]; now we can do something about that."

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. He has an extensive background in the technology field. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture, at TechTarget. Before that, he was the director, Editorial Operations, at Ziff Davis Enterprise. While at Ziff Davis Media, he was a writer and editor at eWEEK. No investment advice is offered in his blog. All duties are disclaimed. Scot works for a private investment firm, which may at any time invest in companies whose products are discussed in this blog, and no disclosure of securities transactions will be made.

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...