Network Analyzer Corvil Goes Deep Into App Performance

App Agent digs deep into an application's internal functions, allowing companies to drill down and track performance and latency of transactions.

Network data analytics provider Corvil has added a new component to its appliance, App Agent, which brings deeper visibility into application performance and nanosecond granularity for event time-stamping without adding overhead.

The appliance, which delivers analytics information in real time, passively taps into network data and automatically discovers, decodes and reconstructs all details of application and business data flows. When there's a crash of a system or application, or a disfunction in a patch procedure, or a security problem, this will create a deep report of what exactly happened.

The new App Agent extends Corvil's analytics capability into an application's internal functions, allowing companies to drill down and track performance and latency of transactions through various events contained entirely within a software process.

Getting to the Bottom of App Performance Issues

This capability allows companies to gain visibility into when application decisions are made and when data is sent and received. This transparency is increasingly important for digital and algorithmic businesses of all kinds and often required by regulatory agencies—especially, in the financial services sector, where most of Corvil's clients are located.

"Our customers were asking us: How can we get the same level of Corvil precision visibility and accuracy that you guys do by taking the stuff off the network? How can I get that for my virtualized software applications—or more specifically, how can I get that within my applications?" CEO Donal Byrne told eWEEK.

"What they wanted from us was the ability to track and event sequence all the way from the virtual wire, right through into the SAC [statistical analysis center] through various steps within the application itself, then back out again. The challenge in doing that is how to do that in a very lightweight fashion so that you're not putting a heavy burden on the application [and its resources] itself. Finally, how do you do that in an integrated fashion?"

"The App Center solves precisely that problem. We provide a library function that the application can call specifically to get a precise time stamp and event log created. We stream that from the software into our central collection engine; the net result is that you can get a very precise record of the event, time-stamped everywhere along the way, and with little overhead on the system."

Regulations Getting Tougher in This Area

Accurate event identification and time-stamping at a granular level is critical in understanding sequencing of events as required for MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive), performance management and optimization, and fluctuations to understand potential malicious or anomalous activity, Byrne said.

Being able to provide this level of visibility without increasing application overhead and reducing overall performance or user experience is what Corvil does. The App Agent offloads the work of event time-stamping and publishing, keeping code lean and fast, with an overhead impact to less than 10 nanoseconds, Byrne said.

App Agent can sustain more than 200,000 events per second and can buffer data to support higher bursts, Byrne said. With the App Agent, customers can immediately identify performance bottlenecks within application functions and latency hotspots, allowing them to optimize applications and monitor operational performance.

Corvil App Agent is provided as a software library with a simple API that supports multiple languages and makes custom integrations easy with minimal dependencies.

Exactly What App Agent Can Do

The App Agent can facilitate solutions to complex problems, such as:

--Providing end-to-end transaction transparency, within applications, to identify bottlenecks or performance fluctuations

--Measuring accurate latency within software-only systems such as delivery of market data to a client application via a software callback.

--Compliance reporting (e.g., MiFID II) in low latency environments. App Agent ensures application overhead is kept to the absolute minimum, even when software events need to be logged.

--Adding reliable microsecond performance results to application development and test processes.

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Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...