In the past, application performance monitoring (APM) tools were primarily used by engineers on enterprises’ operations teams. But as companies push to deliver services and applications faster, the schema of IT operation teams is changing and more employees — with different skill-sets and needs — require access to APM.
Instana saw this increase in the number of users per company of its APM tool, which is specifically designed for microservices architectures. The company also noticed that these users were not traditional ops users. To serve this wider breadth of users, it added a new set of customization features that personalize the APM tool to specific users, called Application Perspectives.
“A tool built by a bunch of APM and IT tool veterans is going to be a tool built for ops teams,” said Chris Farrell, Instana’s head of technical marketing. “We started getting more and more customers coming in…and we started to get the feedback that operations tools aren’t really useful for developers. We knew that this expansion of use was going to keep going and that it was going to create this whole new class of user that needed something different.”
Instana’s Application Perspectives enable users — be it application owners, developers, or operational engineers — to have a personalized dashboard that shows the services, API calls, or infrastructure components that are relevant to a user’s particular task or need. The tool can automatically group these calls and services based on tags put in by the end users.
According to Farrell, users can see a slice or a perspective of the services relevant to them. “One you create a perspective the dashboard is built automatically, the analytics are done on your perspective only automatically. Then you start to get guided troubleshooting, specific analytics. The API pieces are applied and that perspective and you start to understand what each of your perspectives is doing.”
For developers specifically, Instana offers code-level visibility and can give information based on a piece of code. Enterprises can create perspectives based on tags put in the infrastructure layer or the application layer, or they can create them on-the-fly.
The ability to create perspectives does not redefine or change how Instana’s APM agent model works, said Farrell. Instana APM relies on one agent that auto deploys sensors for over 100 technologies and 10 languages. “The ultimate benefit is that problems get solved faster but that happens because every single stakeholder gets the exact data they want, in a way that they want to see it,” he said.
Instana’s APM tool has three core capabilities. First, by building an internal data model it offers continuous discovery and visualization of the entire technology stack to identify performance issues. Second, the APM tool monitors and visualizes this data in real-time. And lastly, it offers artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, which Abrams said is a necessity due to the complexity of these environments.
Its APM focuses on providing visibility into microservice architectures, which includes its containers and applications. These architectures are difficult to monitor as there is an increase in application data and traditional monitoring tools are not designed for the complexity of microservices.
According to Instana COO and co-founder Pete Abrams, “The hardest step is the agile step. You have to reprogram your humans on how to think about their process for constructing software. Once you do that, then the microservice cloud container orchestration sequence is pretty fluid; it’s pretty natural.”
Instana Application Perspective is geared toward helping these humans understand only what they need to in order to more efficiently construct software and understand the segments of the architecture that are important to them. Farrell noted that while Instana APM works with monolithic applications, an enterprise might require more different stakeholders in your a containerized application or microservices application to work more efficiently and to develop faster.