Automating Application Performance Monitoring
October 19, 2018

Keith Bromley
Ixia

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Application performance monitoring (APM) is becoming more complex as the days go by. Server virtualization and cloud-based systems with containers and orchestration layers are part of this growing complexity, especially as the number of data sources increases and continues to change dynamically.

To keep up with this changing environment, you will need to automate as many of your systems as possible. Open APIs can be an effective way to combat this scenario.

The use of open APIs applies to the monitoring data capture process as well. Your APM tools need good data to make good conclusions. This has never changed and never will. A good choice to address this issue includes using a Representational State Transfer (REST) based interface to a network packet broker (NPB). The NPB is useful in the data capture process as it can aggregate data from multiple sources, filter that data on Layer 2 through 4 criteria and/or Layer 7 criteria, and then distribute that specific subset of data to the APM tool for analysis and the creation of actionable insights.

Two common use cases for the automation of the monitoring data capture process include the following:

■ Event triggers

■ Orchestration systems

Event triggered responses are fairly straight forward. Once an event is spotted by a security information and event management (SIEM) or the APM tool, instructions can be sent to the NPB to collect specific types of data (based upon IP address or other criteria) and then send that data to the APM tool for analysis.

In a different use case, orchestration and management systems can be used to support a zero-touch provisioning process. In the case of the NPB, built-in features like a RESTful interface allow for the use of automated provisioning systems, which reduces start-to-finish programming times to five minutes or less.

Besides the initial programming and provisioning, this solution can also be adapted to implement a continuous self-configuration system for the NPB and the monitoring data capture process, taking advantage of the flexibility of virtualized tools and cloud-based security analytics tools for monitoring. As the network (and data sources) changes, the NPB can be reconfigured automatically to collect the right data. Your APM system can then continue to perform its central function of analyzing data.

If you need a way to keep up with a dynamically changing environment, Open APIs could be a good answer.

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