Modern applications are interdependent on different devices and servers. If you are not familiar with your software structure, you will encounter problems when you make changes within your application. To prevent this, you need to observe application discovery and dependency mapping (ADDM).
In this article, you will find out:
Application discovery and dependency mapping is the process of identifying and documenting the external dependencies of a software application such as servers, networks, storage, and applications. This process does not only identify all the elements of the software ecosystem, but understanding how they work together and how they affect one another.
Imagine five gears with interconnecting cogs. When the first gear turns, the connecting gears follow. Once a gear located in between is removed, it can affect the movement of the other four gears. This can also happen in software applications. A change within the app can affect the components that are dependent on the application. These can impact application performance if not taken into consideration.
Discovery and mapping are essential for every application. The risk of ignoring this process is extremely critical. It can impact a software application in a blink of an eye.
Before, developers identified and mapped dependencies manually. However, today’s technology is becoming more and more complex. Manual mapping is now impossible. Various tools and solutions can identify dependencies and carefully map them out.
Application Discovery and Dependency Monitoring has been implemented in various ways and techniques in the past. It can be done from brainstorming and manual element polling, up to the current automated discovery of the IT ecosystem.
Here are various ways how Application Discovery and Dependency Monitoring works:
Sweep and Poll is a traditional way of discovering IT assets. It works by pinging the IP addresses and identifying the devices that respond. This technique identifies components, devices, and server systems based on the information, including discovery ping rate and device group information.
Unlike Sweep and Poll, Network monitoring looks through real-time packet information and captures more accurate data on application dependencies. Two ways this can be observed include: (1) packet-level by packet capture or at (2) flow level through NetFlow. Packet-level monitoring needs an appliance that monitors the packets while the latter works by allowing the routers themselves to probe and send NetFlow records of the traffic.
NetFlow protocol contains IP traffic information such as volume, path, source and destination nodes, and other IP flow attributes.
This type of application discovery and dependency mapping includes placing a software component or an “agent” on the client server which will conduct real-time monitoring on both incoming and outgoing traffic. The user will then find and understand each and every component and will immediately recognize changes as the topology changes.
This type of application dependency mapping leverages orchestration platforms themselves. Orchestration platforms are increasingly gaining popularity when it comes to managing IT environments. Why? Mainly because these solutions combine multiple automated tasks as well as configurations in various app components that are utilizing necessary IT resources. It means the platforms monitor, measure, and manage everything taking place within the environment including reports on what individual components are part of a specific application.
An example is Stackify Retrace. Stackify is an Application Performance Monitoring solution that can help you observe and improve applications in production environments. While Retrace monitors the performance of your application, it also identifies dependencies. You can take it as a hybrid discovery and dependency mapping tool. You get accurate application reporting at an optimal cost.
Now you understand what application discovery and dependency mapping are and learned different ways of implementing them. Next, learn why you need application discovery and dependency mapping.
By mapping dependencies, users can assess the risk or impact of changes before making them. Let’s take migration for example. Say you are migrating from your data center to your public cloud. Through mapping the dependencies, you are made aware of your current setup and control any risk of migration failure. If some problems occur, you can easily monitor and pinpoint the issue because the dependencies are mapped out.
Migration and application changes always have risks to dependencies. However, dependency mapping can help downstream the impacts of problems. You can plan strategic solutions to be ready for possible problems. It’s a foolproof game plan before the season starts.
For accurate application discovery and dependency mapping, choose an APM tool that can both monitor your application performance and all its components, like Stackify Retrace.
With Retrace, users can now proactively identify issues in QA and even improve overall application performance. It can help you analyze bottlenecks by monitoring Apdex user satisfaction, track deployments, monitor app performance, as well as identifying slow dependencies.
Stackify understands how hard it is to check each code and find issues. Retrace offers lightweight code profiling to give developers code-level insights.