Introducing AppDynamics for Kubernetes

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Kubernetes Monitoring with AppDynamics gives organizations visibility into application and business performance, providing unparalleled insights into containerized applications, Kubernetes clusters, Docker containers, and underlying infrastructure metrics—all through a single pane of glass.

Today we’re excited to announce AppDynamics for Kubernetes, which will give enterprises end-to-end, unified visibility into their entire Kubernetes stack and Kubernetes-orchestrated applications for both on-premises and public cloud environments. Enterprises use Kubernetes to fundamentally transform how they deploy and run applications in distributed, multicloud environments. With AppDynamics for Kubernetes, they will have a production-grade monitoring solution to deliver a flawless end-user experience.

Why is Kubernetes so popular? Because it delivers on the promise of doing more with less. By leveraging the portability, isolation, and immutability provided by containers and Kubernetes, development teams can ship more features faster by simplifying application packaging and deployment—all while keeping the application highly available without downtime. And Kubernetes’ self-healing properties not only enables operations teams to ensure application reliability and hyper-scalability but also boost efficiency through increased resource utilization.

According to the latest survey by the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF), 69% of respondents said Kubernetes was their top choice for container orchestration. And Gartner recently proclaimed that “Kubernetes has emerged as the de facto standard for container orchestration.” The rapid expansion of Kubernetes is also due to the vibrant community. With over 35,000 GitHub stars and some 1,600 unique contributors spanning every timezone, Kubernetes is the most engaged community on GitHub.

Challenges Emerge

Kubernetes brings, however, new operational workflows and complexities, many involving application performance management. As enterprises expand the use of Kubernetes beyond dev/test and into production environments, these challenges become even more profound.

The CNCF survey reveals that 38% of respondents identified monitoring as one of their biggest Kubernetes-adoption challenges—one that grows even larger to 46% as the size of the enterprise increases.

Shortcomings of Current Monitoring Approaches

When experimenting with Kubernetes in dev/test environments, organizations typically either start with the monitoring tools that come with Kubernetes or use those that are developed, maintained and supported by the community. Examples include the Kubernetes dashboard, kube-state-metrics, cAdvisor or Heapster. While these tools provide information about the current health of Kubernetes, they lack data storage capabilities. So either InfluxDB or Prometheus (two popular time-series databases) is added to provide persistence. For data visualization, open-source tools such as Grafana or Kibana are tacked on. The system still lacks log collection, though, so log collectors are added as well. Quickly, organizations realize that monitoring Kubernetes is much more involved than capturing metrics.

But wait: additional third-party integration may be needed to achieve reliability. By default, monitoring data is stored on the local disk susceptible to failure due to node outages. And to secure access to their data, organizations must develop or integrate additional tools for authentication and role-based access control (RBAC). Bottom line: While this approach may work well for small development or DevOps teams, a production-grade solution is needed, especially as enterprises start to adopt Kubernetes for their mission-critical applications.

Unfortunately, traditional APM tools often aren’t up to the task here, as they fail to address the dynamic nature of application provisioning in Kubernetes, as well as the complexities of microservices architecture.

Introducing AppDynamics for Kubernetes

The all-new AppDynamics for Kubernetes will give organizations the deepest visibility into application and business performance. With it, companies will have unparalleled insights into containerized applications, Kubernetes clusters, Docker containers, and underlying infrastructure metrics—all through a single pane of glass.

To effectively monitor the performance of applications deployed in Kubernetes, organizations must reimagine their monitoring strategies. In Kubernetes, containerized applications are deployed on pods, which are dynamically created on virtual groups or clusters called namespaces. Since Kubernetes decouples developers and operations from deploying to specific machines, it significantly simplifies day-to-day operations by abstracting the underlying infrastructure. However, this results in limited control over which physical machine the pods are deployed to, as shown in Fig. 1 below:


Fig. 1: Dynamic deployments of applications across a Kubernetes cluster.

To gather performance metrics for any resource, AppDynamics leverages labels, the identifying metadata and foundation for grouping, searching, filtering and managing Kubernetes objects. This enables organizations to gather performance insights and set intelligent thresholds and alerts for the performance of Pods, Namespace, ReplicaSets, Services, Deployment and other Kubernetes labels.

With AppDynamics for Kubernetes, enterprises can:

  1. Achieve end-to-end visibility: From end-user touch points such as a browser, mobile app, or IoT device, all the way to the Kubernetes platform, AppDynamics provides line-of-code-level detail for every application deployed (either traditional app or microservice), granular metrics on Docker container resources, infrastructure metrics, log analytics, and the performance of every database query—all correlated and within the context of Business Transactions, a logical representation of end-user interaction with applications. AppDynamics for Kubernetes will help enterprises avoid silos, and enables them to leverage existing skill sets and processes to monitor Kubernetes and non-Kubernetes applications from a unified monitoring solution across multiple, hybrid clouds.
  2. Expedite root cause analysis: Cascading failures from microservices can cause alert storms. Triaging the root cause via traditional monitoring tools is often time-consuming, and can lead to finger-pointing in war-room scenarios. By leveraging unique machine learning capabilities, AppDynamics makes it simple to identify the root cause of failure.
  3. Correlate Kubernetes performance with business metrics: For deeper visibility into business performance, organizations can create tagged metrics, such as customer conversion rate or end-user experience correlated with the performance of applications on the Kubernetes platform. Health rules and alerts based on business metrics provide intelligent validation so that every code release can drive business outcomes.
  4. Get a seamless, out-of-the-box experience: AppDynamics’ Machine agent is deployed by Kubernetes as a DaemonSet on all the worker nodes, thereby leveraging Kubernetes’ capability to ensure that the AppDynamics agent is always running and reporting performance data.
  5. Accelerate ‘Shift-Left’: AppDynamics is integrated with Cisco CloudCenter, which creates immutable application profiles with built-in AppDynamics agents. Leveraging the capability, customers can dramatically streamline Day 2 operations of application deployment in various Kubernetes environments, such as dev, test and pre-production. And proactive monitoring enables customers to catch performance-related issues before they impact the user experience. Go here to learn more about Cisco CloudCenter.

AppDynamics at KubeCon Europe

We are excited to be a sponsor of KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2018, a premier Kubernetes and cloud-native event. Our team will be there in full force to help you get started with production-grade monitoring of your Kubernetes deployments. And don’t forget to load up on cool new AppD schwag at the event.

Stop by AppD booth S-C36 in the expo hall. Additionally, I will be presenting the following sessions at Cisco Lounge in the expo hall:

  1. Introduction to Application Performance Monitoring—Wed-Fri, May 2-4, 12:30 PM
  2. Enterprise-grade Application Performance Monitoring for Kubernetes—Wed-Thu, May 2-3, 3:30 PM, Friday 3:00 PM

We are looking forward to engaging with all of our fellow Kubernauts. See you in Copenhagen!