How to Monitor Containers Efficiently at Scale?

April 13, 2017 Stela Udovicic

Use Wavefront metrics! I’m excited to share our new Wavefront Container Monitoring Application live with you next week at DockerCon 2017 in Austin, Texas. Our customers love the power, speed, and flexibility of Wavefront’s query-driven analytics. To help developers and DevOps teams get immediate value out of Wavefront unified metric analytics, and get started quickly, we’ve enhanced our platform with prepackaged, container-focused dashboards. They provide instant visibility into the performance of distributed apps running on containers. And, you can use Wavefront metrics to give you insight across any container orchestration system including Amazon EC2 Container Service (ECS), Kubernetes, Docker Swarm, and Mesos.

Get Started Quickly: Send Container Metrics to Wavefront using an Open Source Agent

It’s very simple to get started monitoring your containerized applications and orchestration systems. For metric data collection, Wavefront provides a lightweight agent, cAdvisor, that runs natively as a Docker container itself. cAdvisor collects various performance metrics and sends them to Wavefront. Users have the flexibility to configure how often metrics are sent to Wavefront depending on granularity they’d like to see; the default is 60 seconds. Once there, you can use pre-built dashboards or customize them using the Wavefront Query Language to match to your unique environment.

You can get the latest Wavefront’s cAdvisor image from Docker Hub here. For more details on configuring container metrics ingestion, please explore Wavefront docs describing Amazon ECS, Kubernetes, and other packaged applications and integrations.Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 1.20.16 PM

Wavefront Container Monitoring Block Diagram

How Wavefront’s Container Monitoring is Better

Breaking monolith applications into microservices and running containers drive a rapid increase in measurement points. Developers and DevOps need insight into the performance of services as well as granular lower level resource utilization metrics (CPU, mem, etc.). Since metrics are lightweight, quick to process and scale easily, they’re a natural choice for monitoring containers. The cloud-hosted Wavefront software empowers developers and DevOps engineers to:

  • Use metrics to scale container environments, add new container metrics, without worrying about incremental costs; metrics are cheap to store and process and adding hundreds of new metrics and dashboards is quick
  • Tag container metrics to help correlate container performance with host performance and higher service domains, saving time in problem isolation; using tags, you can aggregate several types of metrics and create logical groupings
  • Customize metrics using the powerful Wavefront Query Language, get fast answers to any question
  • Collaborate and share container dashboards and metrics across all teams using Wavefront integrations with DevOps platforms such as PagerDuty, HipChat and Slack
  • Trend and retain at minimum cost all container metrics for historical analysis and capacity planning

Comprehensive Visibility into Amazon EC2 Container Serivce

The Wavefront platform collects and correlates metrics from Amazon ECS, CloudWatch, CloudTrail, EBS and many other Amazon services. As a result, you gain insight into the performance of entire Amazon ECS environment including all EC2 instances, containers, and task definitions families. Both higher level services visibility and consumption, as well as container level visibility and key resources insight, are provided. Key metrics collected include:

  • EC2 instances metrics: CPU, memory, networking throughput (bytes in, bytes out), disk reads and writes
  • Task definitions metrics: CPU usage, memory usage, bytes transmitted/received, networking errors
  • Container metrics: CPU usage, memory usage, bytes transmitted/received, networking errors
  • ECS-EBS storage metrics: ECS-EBS volume size, ECS-EBS cluster read, write bytes

Large container montirong screenshot

Wavefront Amazon ECS Dashboard – Sample Metrics

Comprehensive Visibility into Kubernetes

The Wavefront platform provides Kubernetes and container dashboards, delivering visibility into high-level services and applications as well as granular container metrics including:

  • Node metrics: average memory, file system, CPU, and storage utilization
  • Pod metric: CPU usage rate, bytes transferred and received rate
  • Container metrics: uptime by container CPU and file system usage rate

Wavefront Kubernetes Dasbhoard

Wavefront Kubernetes Dashboard – Sample Metrics

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Austin next week! Drop by the Wavefront booth E3 and grab one of our retro surfer t-shirts. Can’t wait, and want to try the Wavefront platform now? Get started with a hands-on demo and free trial here.


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The post How to Monitor Containers Efficiently at Scale? appeared first on Wavefront by VMware.

About the Author

Stela Udovicic

Stela Udovicic (@stela_udo) is a Director of Product Marketing at VMware leading Tanzu Observability by Wavefront PMM team. Before VMware, while at Wavefront, as Sr. Director, Product Marketing, she led Product, Solutions and Partner Marketing. Before Wavefront, Stela led Product Marketing for Splunk's DevOps, IT Ops, storage, and networking solutions. Stela holds an MSc in Electrical Engineering. She has presented at many major conferences, including Splunk.conf, VMworld, DevOps Days, Cisco Live, RSA, Monitorama, PuppetConf, NetApp Insight, etc.

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