Netsil launched today from stealth by unveiling the Netsil Application Operations Center (AOC), a universal observability and monitoring platform for modern cloud applications. With the AOC, Netsil enables DevOps teams to gain complete visibility into all their services and dependencies, with absolutely no code changes required. As a result, DevOps teams are able to reduce downtime, ensure safer deployments and meet their service level objectives (SLOs).
Every digital business is powered by hundreds of services and thousands of service interactions. Yet DevOps teams, responsible for uptime and performance of applications, cannot see the services and cannot see the service dependencies.
To quote Adrian Cockcroft, an expert on cloud architectures, “flow visualization is a big challenge.” With the shift to Kubernetes- and Docker-based microservices, the blindness is worsening as more services and interactions become part of applications. The Netsil AOC squarely addresses this blindness problem by delivering auto-discovered, real-time maps that capture all the services and their dependencies.
The Netsil AOC can be thought of as “Google Maps for Cloud Apps.” The AOC generates maps which automatically discover every Docker container, Kubernetes pod, host and service endpoint, along with all the interactions among them. The maps also capture key service health metrics of latency, throughput and error rates for API calls, database queries, DNS lookups and several other service interactions. Using the Netsil maps, DevOps teams can:
Reduce Downtime – by quickly identifying root cause using dependencies on the map
Ensure Safer Deployments – by evaluating impact of deployments on latency, throughput and errors of dependent services
Deliver on Service Level Objectives (SLOs) – by monitoring and addressing the latency and errors of services that impact end users
Another key benefit of the AOC is that it does not require any code change to generate maps and metrics. Netsil (“listen” spelled backwards) “listens” to service interactions and conducts a real-time analysis of packets to obtain deep application insights. As a result, Netsil observes everything that “hits the wire” including calls to external services such as AWS RDS, AWS DynamoDB, API calls to Google Maps, Salesforce, Stripe, Twilio, etc.
Using the network as the vantage point, the Netsil AOC can observe and monitor across generations of applications. In particular, Netsil is especially powerful for the Kubernetes- and Docker-based microservices applications. For Kubernetes clusters, DevOps teams can visualize their applications at multiple levels by creating maps of hosts, namespaces, services and pods. From the application maps, they can drill down and quickly diagnose a range of complex issues such as service configuration issues (e.g. Kubernetes DNS errors), service reachability issues (e.g. HTTP errors) and service creation problems (e.g. pod scheduling errors). Furthermore, the Netsil AOC delivers all of these features and capabilities with the simplicity of installing just one collector agent per node.
Incumbent APM providers such as AppDynamics and Dynatrace also deliver application maps that capture transactions and service dependencies. However, in contrast to Netsil’s code-agnostic approach, APM products inflexibly depend on programming languages since they rely on code-instrumentation techniques. With APM, each service written in an unsupported programming language becomes a blind spot for DevOps teams. Moreover, there is a wide range of critical services such as databases, load balancers, service discovery and DNS that are impractical to instrument using APM. All such services become blind spots for operations teams. Built for the monolithic Java and .NET era, the APM techniques are a liability for the polyglot, fast changing world of public clouds and containers. Netsil’s auto-discovered maps and deep analytics elegantly address these challenges without relying on code changes or instrumentation.
Netsil’s patent-pending approach is the combined result of years of research at the University of Pennsylvania and the operational experience of founders at Google and Twitter. Describing the key insights behind Netsil, CEO and co-founder Harjot Gill said, “When you consider the chaos in the application space with new programming languages, abstractions and frameworks, the network emerges as a natural, stable vantage point to observe and monitor modern cloud applications. Netsil’s network-centric approach is future-proof across generations of applications. So, whether it is Kubernetes and Docker today or Lambda functions tomorrow, the Netsil AOC will observe and monitor them without requiring any code changes.”
“As enterprises speed up the software development using DevOps and microservices, release management becomes a critical need,” said Steve Hendrick, Research Director at Enterprise Management Associates. “CI/CD pipeline tools, Kubernetes, and Docker enable enterprises to quickly deploy changes to production environments. However, without a complete understanding of service dependencies, making changes to a production environment is inherently risky. This is where Netsil’s ability to see every container, pod, host, and their dependencies is indispensable. Using Netsil’s maps and service metrics, DevOps can evaluate changes in complete application context, ensure safer deployments, and achieve agility without compromising reliability.”
“The proliferation of microservices makes it harder to monitor and debug applications, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for operation teams to have adequate visibility into the systems they manage,” said Alex Ethier, Chief Product Officer at SourceClear, who was earlier VP Product at Chef. “A deeper level of visibility and control is needed, and I’m excited about Netsil’s introduction of the application control center. With the AOC, operations teams finally have the tools they need to be successful for managing the ever-growing complexity of today’s and tomorrow’s systems.”
“Limetray is a rapidly growing company that is addressing the marketing & operational challenges of the restaurant industry. On the tech side, we have a modern stack running on Kubernetes, Docker, and AWS. As we add more features and services for our customers, one of the biggest challenges has been understanding service dependencies,” said Sooraj Elamana, AVP Engineering at Limetray. “Netsil maps and metrics have been instrumental for us to understand transaction flows and quickly identify root causes of latency and errors before they impact our customers. We love the simplicity of Netsil’s approach where we just drop an agent and are able to see everything. Equally impressive has been the responsive support and close engagement with Netsil team. If you are running a Kubernetes stack, then Netsil is essential for real-time visibility into all the services and their dependencies.”
“The lack of visibility into service dependencies is a big challenge and is getting worse with microservices and heavy usage of external SaaS services,” said Gokul Rajaram, Product Engineering Lead at Square, the “Godfather of Google AdSense” and an early investor in Netsil. “Netsil addresses this critical operational blindness in a non-intrusive manner without requiring any changes to code or containers. You simply drop an agent on the host and start seeing everything. This combination of power and simplicity is incredible.”
“With the continued rise of Kubernetes and Docker, we are seeing a secular shift toward microservices architectures,” said Ursheet Parikh, Partner at Mayfield Fund and one of the lead investors in Netsil. “This shift is exposing new challenges and creating opportunities to rethink entire category of products such as APM. We are very excited about Netsil’s radically innovative approach that delivers pervasive observability for DevOps with immense simplicity and ease of use. We are excited to partner with Harjot, Shariq and the Netsil team on this exciting journey.”