Netsil Launches Auto-Discovered Maps for Kubernetes, Docker Apps

New tool enables DevOps teams to gain complete visibility into all the services and their dependencies--with absolutely no code changes required.

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Enterprise IT shops can never know too much about their systems, applications, networks and security--and the virtual health of all four.

Systems often have inherent blind spots in their application environments, which are becoming increasingly dominated by numerous microservices based on Docker containers and Kubernetes schedulers. They can’t see everything that’s going on, and as a result can’t determine the true performance of their apps and APIs. They also can’t monitor the many dependencies that result from this rapid shift from hypervisors to microservices.

Finally, they lack control of “as-a-service” components, such as Amazon Web Services RDS (Relational Database Service), DynamoDB, or GoogleAuth.

Netsil, a startup born after five years of research at the University of Pennsylvania, has been focusing solely on this problem. The company says it has solved it primarily through using auto-discovered maps.

The San Francisco-based startup launched from stealth Sept. 19 by unveiling the Netsil Application Operations Center (AOC), a universal observability and monitoring platform for cloud applications. With the AOC, Netsil says it enables DevOps teams to gain complete visibility into all the services and their dependencies--with absolutely no code changes required.

As a result, DevOps teams are able to reduce downtime, ensure safer deployments and meet their service level objectives (SLOs), CEO Harjot Gilltold eWEEK.

This critical blindness incurs a financial cost from:

  • Prolonged outages: “The service looks fine; some other dependency is causing errors.”
  • Bad deployments: “We didn’t know this code change impacts that service!”
  • Ineffective planning: “Which services are critical for end user transactions?”

The Netsil AOC addresses this blindness problem by delivering auto-discovered, real-time maps capturing all the services and their dependencies.

“The AOC can be thought of as ‘Google Maps for Cloud Apps,’ “ Gill told eWEEK. “The AOC generates maps which automatically discover every Docker container, Kubernetes pod, host and service endpoint, along with all the interactions among them. The maps also capture key service health metrics of latency, throughput and error rates for API calls, database queries, DNS lookups and several other service interactions.”

Using the Netsil maps, DevOps teams can:

  • reduce downtime by quickly identifying root cause using dependencies on the map;
  • ensure safer deployments by evaluating impact of deployments on latency, throughput and errors of dependent services; and
  • deliver on service-level objectives (SLOs) by monitoring and addressing the latency and errors of services that impact end users.

A key benefit of the AOC is that it does not require any code changes to generate maps and metrics, Gill said.

Netsil “listens” to service interactions and conducts a real-time analysis of packets to obtain deep application insights. As a result, Netsil observes everything that “hits the wire,” including calls to external services such as AWS RDS, AWS DynamoDB, API calls to Google Maps, Salesforce, Stripe, Twilio and others.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in large part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 12 years and more than 3,900 stories at eWEEK, he...