Dynatrace APM – Continuous Monitoring for Today's DevOps

Today’s enterprise applications are necessarily high-demand and high-performance environments. With the current pandemic, these environments are under constant stress. While tools such as Nagios and Prometheus are in extensive use, they do not work well in a dynamic environment, and hence scalability has been their Achilles heel. At the same time, writing our monitoring systems is not a viable option.

In this post, we introduce Dynatrace for monitoring the frontend, backend, infrastructure, and Cloud technologies.

While Nagios is excellent if there are existing plugin investments, it is simple, secure, and reliable. With additional custom plugins, it can be scalable, API-ready, and configuration friendly. How this also entails writing these plugins.

Some lacking API poverties in Nagios are as below:

  1. It cannot easily integrate with other systems
  2. Cannot quickly write custom dashboards
  3. Can’t get information out again

What is it?

Dynatrace solves these challenges and more. Dynatrace APM is an application performance management tool. It provides full-stack monitoring for front- and back-end, for infrastructure and in the Cloud as well where code-level tracking is needed. It monitors the application infrastructure and its health and reports with in-depth diagnostics for troubleshooting bottlenecks using bytecode instrumentation.

How does it help?

Only a single agent (OneAgent) can be deployed in full-stack mode, giving visibility into infrastructure and applications, all the way down to code-level. It also works in infrastructure mode, which covers infrastructure such as servers, containers, and orchestration platforms at a fraction of the cost of full-stack. While other monitoring solutions require an agent/plugin for every different technology, Dynatrace sees it all with a single agent.

It helps administrators track the experience of individual users and see events as they happen and understand their behavior for every user on every device. This APM helps developers, testers, and operations to ensure their applications work faster and reliably.

The core of the product derives its functionality from its patented PurePath technology. This technology facilitates tracing every single transaction (such as a web request, user interaction, batch jobs, etc.) from Browser to Database.

It monitors the entire infrastructure and lets administrators debug application performance issues or infrastructure issues (Virtual or Physical), relating to apps, servers, web servers, app code, databases, or any other tier. AI helps to discover performance issues.

Dynatrace AI with Davis Engine

Enterprise applications in hybrid cloud environments are increasingly complex. They often comprise thousands of connected services, millions of lines of code, and many dependencies. One break could mean significant revenue loss and irreparable damage.

The Dynatrace AI engine, Davis (A virtual assistant), processes trillions of dependencies in real-time supersize answers, not just data on glass and root cause analysis, but also behavioral intelligence and business impact.

It performs an automatic fault-tree analysis, the same methodology that NASA and the FAA use. This analysis reduces problem resolution time from weeks to seconds. In many cases, they are solving issues before there is any customer impact: Davis and Dynatrace automation auto-remediate and self-heal environments.

Davis processes data from any source – a mainframe, the infrastructure, a cloud platform, or a CI/CD pipeline. With Davis, users are no longer just monitoring but are now focusing on innovating and driving better business outcomes through near-perfect perfect software.

How does Dynatrace’s Davis analyze critical situations?

  1. Real user experience
  2. Topology
  3. Transactions
  4. Code-level insights
  5. Metrics
  6. Cloud platform
  7. Events
  8. Logs
  9. Third-party events

Using Dynatrace

Dynatrace SaaS and Dynatrace Managed

Dynatrace SAAS

Install the Dynatrace OneAgent on your physical or virtual hosts. You can also configure Dynatrace to monitor your web site or infrastructure.

  1. No infrastructure investments
  2. Data is stored securely in the Dynatrace cloud
  3. Be up and running in under five minutes
  4. Dynatrace Mission Control takes care of operations and updates automatically
  5. We ensure that Dynatrace scales with your applications

Dynatrace Managed

Managed is ideal for organizations with security or privacy policies requiring on-premises data storage.

  1. Get the simplicity and convenience of a SaaS solution
  2. Maintain full compliance with your company’s policies
  3. Dynatrace Mission Control takes care of operations and updates automatically
  4. Store data on your local infrastructure
  5. Scale Dynatrace horizontally during run-time

Dynatrace supports Windows, Linux, and AIX. After installation, the agent (OneAgent) will start collecting all data from the OS. It monitors all applications and, in turn, the end-users of these applications. Dynatrace detects and automatically puts log files in the context of the corresponding host or process with no need for manual configuration.

How is Dynatrace different from other approaches?

Let’s talk about scenarios where Dynatrace helps better than any other monitoring tool

Microservices

Dynatrace OneAgent automatically discovers and monitors dynamic microservices running inside containers. It follows their performance, how they communicate with each other, and detect poorly performing microservices.

Kubernetes

Operations for adding monitoring for additional Kubernetes nodes can be repetitive and tedious. Dynatrace automates this by automatically rolling up the agent and starting monitoring. Better rules for visibility, such as monitoring pods and containers via namespaces, can also be set.

Advanced visibility by Dynatrace

Dynatrace offers built-in Kubernetes cluster overview pages that offer extended visibility into Kubernetes cluster performance and health
It provides a single pane of glass for the most crucial utilization and performance metrics on a cluster level. These metrics are:

  1. Actual CPU/memory usage of cluster nodes (min, max, median)
  2. Available CPU/memory resources for running additional pods/workloads on cluster nodes (min, max, median)
  3. Maximum memory that pods can use
  4. Total CPU that can be allocated for pods (since the system typically reserves a part of CPU)

Databases

Dynatrace monitors databases and also debug exact causes for issues such as slow responses and performance degradation.

For each query statement, Dynatrace shows the number of executions/min, total executions, total time, response time median, response time for the slowest 10% of executions, and the failure rate.

Suppose you have installed a single OneAgent (Dynatrace) on a web server and a single OneAgent (Dynatrace) on the database. At this time, Dynatrace tracks the entire execution of web requests to the database response and shows it in the dashboard.

Dynatrace OneAgent salient points

  1. Covers all technologies
  2. All in context – includes all applications, processes, changelogs, topologies, os metrics, virtualization, containers, disk, networks, hosts and cloud infrastructure
  3. Full-stack visibility – zero configuration
  4. Automatic updates
  5. Auto code module injection for deep code-level visibility

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About the author

Vivek Bangare

Vivek has about three years of experience as a DevOps Engineer at Synerzip. He is skilled at developing Continuous Integration/Delivery pipelines. Vivek holds certifications such as the Microsoft Technology Associate Database Administration Fundamentals, and a Professional Certification Program from IBM i2 iBase Support Master. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Engineering from D.K.T.E’s, Ichalkaranji, India.

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