APM Data Gathering in Cloud Solutions
March 26, 2019

Keith Bromley
Ixia

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Application performance monitoring (APM) is important regardless of what platform you run your applications on. However, cloud environments can be particularly difficult for two reasons. First, there is an attitude that everything is taken care of for you. While some functions are taken care of for you, other functions will be "add-ons" that you need to purchase and append to your cloud instance.

Still other functions, like the collection of packet data for deep packet inspection (DPI), are not even available as part of the offering from your cloud vendor. You need to buy and install those types of capabilities separately, if you want them.

And you should want packet data. According to a Dimensional Data study, 80% of the study participants did not have the data they need to monitor public cloud environments accurately. Nearly half said that their lack of cloud visibility has led to application performance issues. Half also indicated that the tools provided by public cloud vendors were inadequate to support monitoring.

This leads to the second issue — you need the right tools to collect and analyze your cloud data. Lack of proper monitoring will typically result in compliance issues and potential security issues.

Both of these issues can be remedied with the collection of proper the data. That data can then be sent on to a data lake for storage and then analysis by DPI tools or artificial intelligence.

So, how do you collect this data?

The answer is that you will need to install some sort of packet data collection solution yourself. The trick is to make sure it copies the full packet data. Unnecessary headers or payloads can be deleted later on, but you want to capture all of it up front so that you have options. Your collection tool also needs the ability to have settings so that you capture only the specific data that you need. Otherwise, if you try to copy everything, or almost everything, you will have to pay for a lot of data storage — which will become expensive.

To be clear, we are talking about capturing the complete data packet. Summarized data, log data, etc. have their place but real problems can be missed when you only look at snippets of data. Don’t cheat yourself and find yourself in a bind down the road, invest in a good packet data capture solution upfront.

Keith Bromley is Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing at Ixia Solutions Group, a Keysight Technologies business
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