Dynatrace: Advanced Cloud Automation and Security

Thursday, April 30, 2020
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Image Source: dynatrace.com

The more business operations are transferred into the cloud, the harder it becomes to keep track of everything that’s going on in the backend. You may be saving money through cost-effective, pay-as-you-go resource plans that can be scaled based on your current needs, as well as through a smaller, more agile IT department, but you might also lose some of your ability to manage and optimize your online services or applications.

This doesn’t have to be the case. Through Application Performance Monitoring (APM), you can cut down on the time and manpower necessary to solve day-to-day troubleshooting. This enables you to innovate more, not to mention offer higher quality of service to your customers.

APMs like Dynatrace ultimately simplify the complexity of what goes on in your cloud, so that you can focus on your digital transformation. Let’s see what they’re about.

Image Source: dynatrace.com

What Is Dynatrace?

At the most basic level, Dynatrace is one of the rare full-stack solutions on the market that makes it possible for you to monitor your entire infrastructure – from desktop/mobile applications to user interactions, containers, network processes, and more. Currently, it competes with the likes of Cisco AppDynamics, New Relic, Sumo Logic, and Microsoft System Centre.

Its selling point is the AI-powered, straightforward dashboard that integrates information coming in from multiple sources in one place. As its developers rightly point out, Dynatrace has the potential to work as a valuable source of objective truth for your entire organization. The best part about it is that it’s extremely low maintenance. Trust me: your developers will love you for it.

Instead of wasting developer time on day-to-day troubleshooting, such as figuring out why a feature of your service (say, posting reviews or comments) has terrible performance for some users, but works seamlessly with others, your tech crew can focus on what actually matters. Dynatrace will anonymously collect and record what’s going on at all times and then convey on your end whether there’s a browser incompatibility, code-level bug, or something else that’s causing an issue.

Image Source: dynatrace.com

You can bet that an experienced software engineer will able to do debugging, but why waste their valuable time scouring through logs and databases when the entire process can be streamlined? Nobody likes looking for the bug needle in the proverbial haystack, even more so if it has to be done on a daily basis. Dynatrace is advanced automation for DevOps at its finest.

The Components of Dynatrace

Without getting into too many details, Dynatrace has several patented technologies that work together to achieve its goals of automatic component discovery, analytics, and dependencies:

  • OneAgent. This is the foundation of the entire APM. An OS-level agent injects the machine’s technologies (.NET, Java, Node.js etc.) with monitoring functionality, which guarantees an accurate read of what’s going on, since the analysis is being done “from the inside” as it were. The agent then relays and reports metrics from each available host.
    This tool is capable of analysing processes and entire systems in order to ascertain whether they’re working at full potential. Then, you can use it to store compliant performance logs about what’s going on. If there are any issues related to network health, communication, or capacity, you’ll know about it.

Image Source: dynatrace.com

  • Smartscape. This encompasses Dynatrace’s visualization and dependency auto-discovery tool. In a matter of clicks, you and your team can see exactly how your environment is controlled and operated. With this information, you can then improve application performance, as well as examine individual and third-party processes that may be misbehaving.
  • PurePath. Developers love this one. A patented, Dynatrace technology, PurePath makes it possible to view several requests out of thousands or tens of thousands. Such high-level isolation helps you conduct method-level transaction analyses with greater accuracy than before.
    For instance, you’ll be able to understand why your clients are reporting slow loading times down to each individual user. In each request, PurePath makes it possible to see how much time was spent on the client’s and on the server’s side to handle an authentication process.
    Then, your team can easily ascertain whether the issue was caused by software incompatibility or something more or less circumstantial, such as isolated network latency.
  • AI Engine. All relationships and dependencies are analysed for potential issues and bugs by the Davis AI-powered engine. If something’s not right, it leta you know what’s causing it, what can be done to fix it, and what the consequences of not fixing it would be at the level of your business.

More importantly, all communications that happen between Dynatrace and its agent is encrypted and highly secure. OneAgent communicates directly to your Dynatrace mainframe, or via the ActiveGate tool, and its requests are solely one-sided. Given administrative privileges and customer consent, some user information might become visible. Otherwise, the dashboard obscures it with asterisks.

Image Source: dynatrace.com

The Case for APM with Dynatrace

At the end of the day, this particular APM gives you access to invaluable software intelligence, not just metrics.  You get accurate assessments of how your software and services are doing at the code, network, and user-interaction level. Plus, Dynatrace is an open platform, which means that if you need additional features, the platform can easily be extended.

Dynatrace was designed to make things easier for hybrid cloud infrastructures where thousands of apps and small services are deployed across several virtualized containers. These environments are a breeding ground for failed micro-interactions that can end up impacting the overall quality of your service.

Did I mention that deployments and upgrades are completely automated? It can hardly get better than this.