Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Stackify Blog, APM Blog, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Open Source Cloud, @CloudExpo

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

Tracing Transactions By @TrevParsons | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

How to Trace Transactions Across Every Layer of Your Distributed Software Stack

How to Trace Transactions Across Every Layer of Your Distributed Software Stack

On every invocation of a method along the transaction data is logged. An example of what might be logged by an APM tool is as follows:

unique transaction id - sequence number - call depth - method details - performance data

You can then easily piece together full transaction traces by ordering all method calls by sequence number. Further analysis can be applied to this information for a number of purposes. For example, by analysing the transactions, developers can easily construct design diagrams that can help quickly deduce overall system structure. Relationships between system components can help understand interdependencies enabling developers to anticipate potential conflicts and to debug problems as well as allowing them to reason about their system design (which in turn can have a major impact of system performance).

Tracing Transactions Across the Network

The real challenge with transaction tracing can come when you are dealing with distributed components.

In such scenarios you need to be able to trace transactions across the network. One approach here is to piggy-back the necessary correlation data (unique transaction ID) onto the request from a client to the remote server.

RPC (remote procedure call) systems generally employ a standard mechanism, known as ‘stubs and skeletons‘, to hide the complexities of the network from the client making any remote calls.
Stubs and skeletons work as follows:

The stub masks the low level networking issues from the client and forwards the request on to a server side proxy object (the skeleton).
The skeleton masks the low level networking issues from the distributed component. It also delegates the remote request to the distributed component.
The distributed component then handles the request and returns control to the skeleton, which in turn returns control to the stub.
The stub, in turn, hands back to the client.

One approach to the issue of tracing transactions across the network can be achieved by taking advantage of the stubs and skeletons model. Essentially the stub and skeletons can be modified such that the unique transaction ID piggy backs on the communication and is sent as part of the request to the stub and response from the skeleton. The implementation may differ from platform to platform, but the principles can generally be applied.

For example, Remote Method Invocation is used for distributed communication on java platforms and details on how this can be achieved for RMI can be found in one of my older research papers here.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 10.21.14 PM

RMI with Custom Stub Wrapper and Server Side Interception Point

Going Beyond APM

The above transaction tracing will give you visibility at a method call level across your distributed application. However sometimes external factors outside your application code (server resource, SAAS components your app communicates with, network speed etc.) will have an impact on your overall system performance.

bob

Cartoon courtesy of http://www.1202performance.com/

One way of enhancing the information provided by your APM solution is to collect and analyze your log data. Logs provide a very flexible way of gathering information on your system behavior without any requirement for deep instrumentation and any of the complex techniques described above. Furthermore you may not be able to instrument every software component or cloud service that makes up your overall system – yet almost all of these will produce valuable log data containing system usage and performance information.

In such scenarios, combining APM and log data will give you the complete picture. Below are some tips that will allow you to map logs to APM transactions or to enhance them with data from additional components such as OS, middleware or network level components:

Logging the Transaction ID: Any log data produced by your apps can be easily mapped to transactions produced by your APM tool by logging the transaction ID used to trace the transaction.

Client Side Logging & Logging User/Session/Account ID: Logging other unique identifiers such as session ID, user ID or account ID, can also help you assist with tracing transactions across log events, where the transaction ID used by the APM tool is unavailable. This can be particularly useful if you are logging events from the client side as well as from back end components where you want to be able to view the sequence of log events related to a give user action or session for example.
Same Time Frame For System Logs: Where unique identifiers have not been logged as part of your log events, viewing logs within the same time frame window as your APM tool will help you narrow down related log events and will give you a view into system behavior during the transaction time frame.

Correlating with Other KPIs: Logs will contain key performance and resource usage metrics that can be rolled up into trend lines and charts. Correlating APM transaction traces with performance metrics and server resource usage information can help with investigation can result in quicker root cause than investigating transaction traces in isolation.


Build It Yourself?

Naturally anybody in their right mind would not actually go about building their own APM solution, it’s almost as hair-brained as rolling your own logging solution :)

The good news is you don’t have to do either – simply take advantage of the new Logentries and New Relic integration such that you can trace transactions from end to end and from top to bottom of your entire distributed software stack.

More Stories By Trevor Parsons

Trevor Parsons is Chief Scientist and Co-founder of Logentries. Trevor has over 10 years experience in enterprise software and, in particular, has specialized in developing enterprise monitoring and performance tools for distributed systems. He is also a research fellow at the Performance Engineering Lab Research Group and was formerly a Scientist at the IBM Center for Advanced Studies. Trevor holds a PhD from University College Dublin, Ireland.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...