ExtraHop, Hyper-V and Analysis as a Service

ExtraHop launches agentless management for Hyper-V based virtual servers and a new service offering.

ExtraHop recently reached out to me to let me know about two announcements — agentless technology to monitor virtual servers that are supported by Microsoft's Hyper-V and Atlas Connect Service a new service offering designed to help organizations manage complex, mutli-tier, physical/virtual/cloud-based applications.

What ExtraHop has to say about its announcement

The First Agentless APM Solution for Microsoft Hyper-V

Working with early-access versions of the new Windows Server 2012, which was released for general availability in September, ExtraHop announces the first agentless APM solution to run as a Hyper-V virtual appliance taking advantage of the new Hyper-V Virtual Switch capability. For the first time, Microsoft customers can achieve cross-tier operational visibility in a Hyper-V environment, correlating metrics across the application, network, web, database, and storage tiers. Enterprises can monitor both public and private Windows Azure cloud environments with the new enhancement and can even try the solution in these environments free for 60 days with the ExtraHop Discovery Edition download.

Cloud-Based Application, Network, and Infrastructure Analysis with ExtraHop Atlas Connect

With skilled IT workers continually cited as one of the top-five workplace shortages, ExtraHop’s new cloud-based Atlas Connect service enables enterprises to quickly and easily gain secure remote access to ExtraHop’s IT operations experts with a single click. With no network or security adjustments required, Atlas Connect provides organizations with timely application, network, and infrastructure analysis so they can focus staff resources on other important IT projects. The new cloud-based offering also enables cloud and managed service providers (MSPs) to deliver additional value to their own customers by offering them the same analysis-as-a-service options to help manage their IT environments.

Snapshot Analysis

The Application Performance Management (APM) market is hotly contested. Well over 20 different companies are offering technology that allows an organization to monitor their multi-tier distributed applications, analyze the operational data about application performance, and take the necessary actions to make applications perform well and meet service level objectives. ExtraHop is one of those competitors that focuses on using an agentless approach to APM.

Three approaches to APM

After speaking with most of the competitors in this market, it quickly becomes clear that the primary approaches  to management are:

  1. Build management in — Developers are expected to instrument everything so that traditional management tools can monitor, analyze and orchestrate management. This approach is becoming increasingly difficult to use because suppliers of applications, development tools, application frameworks, database, systems, storage and networking don't always agree on what should be monitored and how. Quite a bit of custom software has not been instrumented either due to time constraints or performance requirements.
  2. Agents are to be installed everywhere — special pieces of software, called agents, are designed to reach into every single component of systems, networks, storage and software and then must be installed everywhere. These agents collect data and send it to a central collection point for analysis. This approach may not be practical when the environment includes thousands of servers and tens or hundreds of thousands of client devices.
  3. Monitor network traffic — monitoring tools hook into the network and gather operational data on the fly by analyzing who is talking to who, what is talking to what, where components are located on the network and then sophisticated analysis is performed on that operational data.

Some of the most sophisticated software utilizes a combination of these. ExtraHop is a proponent of approach number 3.

Is this the best choice for your organization? It would be wise to discuss your organization's requirements with a number of suppliers to learn which products would be the best fit.

Analysis as a service offering

ExtraHop's announcement also mentioned a new service offering in which ExtraHop's own analysts will help customers monitor and manage their own IT infrastructure. If your organization is using ExtraHop's APM tools and doesn't have the time or expertise to use those tools to their fullest extent, it might be wise to learn more about ExtraHop Atlas Connect Services.