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    April 29, 2024

    Universal Monitoring Agent: A Powerful, Flexible and Innovative Approach to Monitor Modern Apps

    Microservices, cloud native, and complexities

    With the advent of microservices and cloud native, organizations are shifting how they approach software development and deployment to become more agile and respond quickly to continually evolving business needs. These changes result in fundamental transformation for IT.

    • IT teams can now develop new or modify existing services at an increasingly rapid pace. And, individual changes to a service can be developed independent of other changes.
    • Deployments are now tightly coupled with the CI/CD pipeline; agile development has spurred agile deployments.
    • At the same time, with cloud native platforms resource optimization becomes more important as applications and virtual infrastructure may scale up and down in dramatic ways, on-demand.

    These factors introduce huge complexities. With numerous touch points between services, a simple failure in a small part can cause cascading effects that impact end users and the business. Expectations are rising for ‘agile monitoring’ that provides deep insights that transcend domain boundaries with a simple push of a button. Organizations are realizing that they will need to transition from traditional monitoring to more advanced approaches that automate discovery, instrumentation and correlation to gather rich data from the expanding range of technologies in the IT estate.

    UMA: powerful and flexible

    The Universal Monitoring Agent (UMA) from Broadcom marks a paradigm shift for monitoring cloud native environments. This agent technology leverages information within containerized platforms to discover applications and infrastructure elements automatically. It can then establish monitoring for these applications and infrastructures with little involvement of practitioners. These near zero-touch capabilities make UMA perfectly suited for monitoring modern application platforms. UMA offers several deployment options which include deployments using the OpenShift Operator Console, HELM, operator and yaml.

    Although UMA is simple to deploy with minimal administrative overhead, it is also clear that one-size-fits-all is not a realistic expectation for enterprise-level deployments. Reality of any enterprise is the existence of diverse sets of technologies. This is why UMA offers numerous instrumentation options to address different scenarios.

    • Dynamic Auto-attach: This popular approach provides the highest level of visibility into applications. With this method, UMA automatically discovers applications and infrastructure elements for a wide range of technologies including java, .net core, nodejs and others. Instrumentation is automatically established. This provides a solution complete with out-of-the-box correlations and deep visibility for teams across IT domains.
    • Containerized Service Agent (CSA): Somewhat similar to dynamic auto-attach, the CSA approach instead uses a lightweight agent to instrument the application which means it consumes fewer resources. This option is well-suited to resource sensitive deployments where having less granular visibility into applications is acceptable.
    • SideCar Approach: Some technologies which require monitoring within large enterprises may not be compatible with the modern auto-attach approach. Certain deployments of microservices, for example, use legacy java apps that offer limited sets of java libraries. This means the auto-attach libraries are unavailable, i.e., they are stripped out. The SideCar approach addresses this limitation. It allows enterprises to instrument the application with UMA and retain the other aspects of UMA such as auto-discovery, out-of-the-box correlation and other capabilities.
    • eBPF Agent: This is the latest in the series of innovations that Broadcom engineering is incorporating into our agent technology. Using the eBPF agent from Broadcom, teams will be able to monitor cloud native applications running on Kubernetes and OpenShift. The agent will take advantage of the built-in capability of Linux kernels to observe system calls, network traffic rather than instrumenting the applications directly. This provides outside-in dynamic instrumentation capabilities and yields deeper insights while greatly reducing monitoring overhead. Stay tuned for more details coming in my forthcoming blog.

    In summary

    The Universal Monitoring Agent from Broadcom provides auto-discovery, deep visibility and cross domain correlation out-of-the box for modern and legacy applications in a containerized environment with a simple push of a button. Flexible deployment options coupled with innovative approaches for monitoring modern applications make it an ideal solution every enterprise should consider. With new capabilities coming with the eBPF agent, monitoring innovation from Broadcom continues to evolve to support new demands from the business and IT teams.

    Additional Contributors:

    Tag(s): AIOps , DX OI , DX APM

    Srikant Noorani

    Srikant Noorani, Client Services Architect focusing on AIOps and Observability, has over 20 years experience working on complex technical challenges. A hands-on architect with a passion for guiding enterprises in their digital transformation journey, Srikant has worked on the largest APM deployments plus DevOps,...

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