When I speak to IT Operations teams about their application monitoring needs, I frequently hear about their struggles in understanding what infrastructure and application components actually support a given application. While the general architecture is rarely a complete mystery, it is equally rare that customers have the full details at their fingertips. Most often, I find that the information is out of date or incomplete, stored in a combination of spreadsheets, visio diagrams, CMDBs and resident expert x’s brain.

With that thought in mind, I’m pleased to announce the general availability of service dependency monitoring with the Foglight Cartridge for Dependency Mapping. What is this all about, you ask? Well, we know that APM teams need an easier way to track and model the underlying architecture of their applications, and we know that the typical discovery and dependency mapping tools are expensive and targeted to CMDBs and asset management. So, we have created a new set of features in Foglight (available to Foglight customers at no extra charge) designed to simplify APM use cases.

Specifically, the functionality is designed to help IT Operations teams automatically identify relationships in your infrastructure (physical or virtual) in order to:

  • Simplify the process of creating and keeping application service definitions up to date.
  • Ensure that IT Operations team members are assured of a common, up-to-date view of the topology to assist with triage and root cause use cases.

Besides the specific use cases above, a number of customers who have used or seem demonstrations of the technology have commented on several other use cases for which they plan to use the technology:

  • Identifying unauthorized connections into the production environment. One customer called it a “developer monitoring solution”.
  • Providing a quick way to check for dependencies to a host prior to making changes.
  • Visually identifying missing dependencies that are the result of environmental changes.

Importantly this is not meant to be a competitive solution to enterprise discovery and dependency mapping tools. While these data might be valuable to your CMDB initiative, we just want to provide a pragmatic, simple way to deal with your application topologies in Foglight.

What is particularly exciting is that this release represents a scratch on the surface of what we plan to do. We are laying the foundation with a common dependency model that can capture detailed dependency data from any of our other collectors, be they architectural components (web servers, java servers, db servers, etc.) network devices, or code based transactional profiles, in a single place to provide truly unified application views that are simply not available from any vendor today. We have a team of solution architects who are chomping at the bit to share the technical goodies in the cartridge, so keep your eyes open for blog posts from them about the details. If anyone in the community would like to talk with me more specifically about the cartridge and its capabilities, please reach out to me directly at richard.schiller@quest.com.