|By Sebastian Kruk||
|March 19, 2013 11:00 AM EDT||
When the operations team gets an alert about potential performance problems that users might be experiencing, it is usually either the infrastructure or the actual application that is causing those problems. Things get interesting when neither the ISP nor the application provider is willing to admit fault. Can we tell who is to blame? Could it be that it is neither the ISP nor the application provider?
The IT department of our customer, SerciaFood, a food production company from Sercia (names changed for commercial reasons), received complaints about the performance of one of its applications. The IT department suspected network problems while the local ISP stood firmly behind its infrastructure and blamed the solution provider.
It Is Not Our Infrastructure
The SerciaFood IT team recently tested a new application before rolling it into production. During the tests the team complained about the performance of that application; the most likely cause of the poor performance was attributed to network problems.
SerciaNet, a big name not only in Sercia but also worldwide, was delivering the network infrastructure for SerciaFood. The ISP began to monitor the network with manual traces and other techniques; the company could not, however, provide any strong evidence that it was not their issue.
The pperations team at SerciaFood was appointed to look into the problem using a real user monitoring tool.
Its first observation was that network performance, i.e., the percentage of traffic that did not encounter network-related issues (Server Loss Rate, Client RTT and Errors), was varying between different regions where SerciaFood services were used.
Figure 1 shows a report where both network and application performance metrics for EMEA are good. EMEA is the most active region on the report since it is where the core business operations of SerciaFood are focused. Other distant regions reported performance problems; the second most active "third-party" region reported high Client RTT and Server Loss Rate. Client RTT is the time of the SYN packet (sent by a server) to travel from APM probe to client and back again. Server Loss Rate is the percentage of total packets sent from a server that were lost and needed to be retransmitted.
Figure 1: Overview of KPIs across all monitored regions
How Is the Network Performance in EMEA?
The Operations team decided to first confirm what was indicated in Figure 1: the key business region, EMEA, was not affected by network problems.
Figure 2 shows a report with all areas monitored within the EMEA region. According to this report the performance is consistently good with about 2.5 sec of operation time and no network-related problems (100% network performance) for all areas within EMEA region.
Figure 2: Performance across all areas appears consistent with operation time at around 2.5 sec for all operations. Network Performance is good across all areas.
After a drill-down to one of user sites (Switzerland), the report shows that the operation time is spent almost entirely on the server side and that the network performance is good too (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Operation time is spent almost entirely on the server. Network performance is good at this location.
Another drill down to the report with transactions executed at that site (see Figure 4) shows that although server time varies between transactions, the network time remains consistently below 400 ms. The differences in server time between transactions are a result of the different computational complexity between these transactions. For example, responding to Query is likely to be more demanding than responding to Get File.
Figure 4: Server time varies across transactions between 0.5-4 sec. network time is consistently below 400ms
The operations team decided to further investigate two transactions: one that should be heavy on network (Get File) and one that might be heavy on the server side (Query). The former was mostly responsible for merely delivering files to the client application while the latter required more computational power of the server to execute the query. The performance of the former is good with an almost even split between server and network time (see Figure 5), which does not indicate any network-related problems. The operation time for the latter is almost exclusively spent on the server, with negligible network impact (see Figure 6).
Figure 5: Performance is good for the Get File transaction, which by its nature would be more impacted by network time
Figure 6: Performance is poor for the Query transaction with time spent almost exclusively on the server
The operations team concluded, based on the analyzed traffic in the EMEA region, that at least in that region the performance was good and that it was not affected by network infrastructure delivered by SerciaNet.
Who Is Really Affected?
The question remained: why were some users reporting performance problems? From the overview report (see Figure 1) the operations team decided to drill down through third party, the region with the lowest network performance and highest server loss rate.
This region reported poor network performance below 50% and a significant contribution of network component in the operation time (see Figure 7).
Figure 7: Network performance is degraded at third-party locations
Figure 8 shows the report with a list of transactions for the affected user site. Although server and network time varies between transactions, the application performance for all transactions is low, down to 0% for Get File and Query transactions.
Figure 8: Server and network time varies between transactions likely due to the nature of the transactions
Further analysis of the Get File operation across different users shows significant contribution of the network time (see Figure 9). The network time for both operations is inconsistent; it took 4x more time to deliver results of the Query operation to the second user than to the first one (see Figure 10). This might indicate that users represented in this report connect to the SerciaFood applications through different ISPs.
Figure 9: Performance is inconsistent for the Get File transaction with network time being the main contributor
Figure 10: Performance is improved for the Query transaction but network time again showing inconsistency
Based on that analysis the operations team could determine that some users did in fact experience performance problems caused by network issues. Further investigation revealed that those users who were experiencing poor performance were not connecting to the SerciaFood application using the SerciaNet infrastructure but were instead working remotely through VPN using various ISPs.
When operating a service accessed by users from various locations it is important to remember that the end user experience may vary, sometimes significantly. In the case of SerciaFood its most active users were coming from the EMEA region that was implemented on the SerciaNet infrastructure. However, the second most active users were connecting to the SerciaFood services via VPN. Since these users relied on the general Internet connection, their experience was affected by poor network quality. Different users were connected from different ISPs; as a result the network performance in the third-party region was inconsistent.
Using Compuware dynaTrace Data Center Real User Monitoring (DCRUM) the operations team was able to show evidence, which SerciaNet could not gather otherwise, that the problems were neither caused by SerciaNet infrastructure nor by the application itself. They were, in fact, only experienced by remote users connecting via VPN, who were negatively impacted by ISPs network performance problems.
Virtualization is everywhere. Enormous and highly profitable companies have been built on nothing but virtualization. And nowhere has virtualization made more of an impact than in Cloud Computing, the rampant and unprecedented adoption of which has been the direct result of the wide availability of virtualization software and techniques that enabled it. But does the cloud actually require virtualization?
May. 28, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,033
There’s a lot of discussion around managing outages in production via the likes of DevOps principles and the corresponding software development lifecycles that does enable higher quality output from development, however, one cannot lay all blame for “bugs” and failures at the feet of those responsible for coding and development. As developers incorporate features and benefits of these paradigm shift, there is a learning curve and a point of not-knowing-what-is-not-known. Sometimes, the only way ...
May. 28, 2015 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,267
The release of Kibana 4.x has had an impact on monitoring and other related activities. In this post we’re going to get specific and show you how to add Node.js monitoring to the Kibana 4 server app. Why Node.js? Because Kibana 4 now comes with a little Node.js server app that sits between the Kibana UI and the […]
May. 28, 2015 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 761
Right off the bat, Newman advises that we should "think of microservices as a specific approach for SOA in the same way that XP or Scrum are specific approaches for Agile Software development". These analogies are very interesting because my expectation was that microservices is a pattern. So I might infer that microservices is a set of process techniques as opposed to an architectural approach. Yet in the book, Newman clearly includes some elements of concept model and architecture as well as p...
May. 28, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,630
I’ve been thinking a bit about microservices (μServices) recently. My immediate reaction is to think: “Isn’t this just yet another new term for the same stuff, Web Services->SOA->APIs->Microservices?” Followed shortly by the thought, “well yes it is, but there are some important differences/distinguishing factors.” Microservices is an evolutionary paradigm born out of the need for simplicity (i.e., get away from the ESB) and alignment with agile (think DevOps) and scalable (think Containerizati...
May. 28, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,442
How can you compare one technology or tool to its competitors? Usually, there is no objective comparison available. So how do you know which is better? Eclipse or IntelliJ IDEA? Java EE or Spring? C# or Java? All you can usually find is a holy war and biased comparisons on vendor sites. But luckily, sometimes, you can find a fair comparison. How does this come to be? By having it co-authored by the stakeholders. The binary repository comparison matrix is one of those rare resources. It is edite...
May. 28, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,658
As the world moves from DevOps to NoOps, application deployment to the cloud ought to become a lot simpler. However, applications have been architected with a much tighter coupling than it needs to be which makes deployment in different environments and migration between them harder. The microservices architecture, which is the basis of many new age distributed systems such as OpenStack, Netflix and so on is at the heart of CloudFoundry – a complete developer-oriented Platform as a Service (PaaS...
May. 28, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,651
T-Mobile has been transforming the wireless industry with its “Uncarrier” initiatives. Today as T-Mobile’s IT organization works to transform itself in a like manner, technical foundations built over the last couple of years are now key to their drive for more Agile delivery practices. In his session at DevOps Summit, Martin Krienke, Sr Development Manager at T-Mobile, will discuss where they started their Continuous Delivery journey, where they are today, and where they are going in an effort ...
May. 28, 2015 04:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,417
There is no question that the cloud is where businesses want to host data. Until recently hypervisor virtualization was the most widely used method in cloud computing. Recently virtual containers have been gaining in popularity, and for good reason. In the debate between virtual machines and containers, the latter have been seen as the new kid on the block – and like other emerging technology have had some initial shortcomings. However, the container space has evolved drastically since coming on...
May. 28, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,325
The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential. The DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo – to be held June 3-5, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City – will expand the DevOps community, enable a wide...
May. 28, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,955
Cloud Expo, Inc. has announced today that Andi Mann returns to DevOps Summit 2015 as Conference Chair. The 4th International DevOps Summit will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. "DevOps is set to be one of the most profound disruptions to hit IT in decades," said Andi Mann. "It is a natural extension of cloud computing, and I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers. So I am excited to help the great team at ...
May. 28, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,681
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
May. 28, 2015 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 707
Enterprises are fast realizing the importance of integrating SaaS/Cloud applications, API and on-premises data and processes, to unleash hidden value. This webinar explores how managers can use a Microservice-centric approach to aggressively tackle the unexpected new integration challenges posed by proliferation of cloud, mobile, social and big data projects. Industry analyst and SOA expert Jason Bloomberg will strip away the hype from microservices, and clearly identify their advantages and d...
May. 28, 2015 12:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,496
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
May. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,407
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
May. 28, 2015 12:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,712
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption...
May. 28, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 676
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseDB (EDB), the leading worldwide provider of enterprise-class Postgres products and database compatibility solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EDB is the largest provider of Postgres software and services that provides enterprise-class performance and scalability and the open source freedom to divert budget from more costly traditiona...
May. 28, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,565
Do you think development teams really update those BMC Remedy tickets with all the changes contained in a release? They don't. Most of them just "check the box" and move on. They rose a Risk Level that won't raise questions from the Change Control managers and they work around the checks and balances. The alternative is to stop and wait for a department that still thinks releases are rare events. When a release happens every day there's just not enough time for people to attend CAB meeting...
May. 28, 2015 10:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,424
I read an insightful article this morning from Bernard Golden on DZone discussing the DevOps conundrum facing many enterprises today – is it better to build your own DevOps tools or go commercial? For Golden, the question arose from his observations at a number of DevOps Days events he has attended, where typically the audience is composed of startup professionals: “I have to say, though, that a typical feature of most presentations is a recitation of the various open source products and compo...
May. 28, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 821
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...
May. 28, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,072