F5 Networks, at its Agility 2020 online event today, unfurled Beacon, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform that enables IT teams to better monitor and troubleshoot applications using telemetry data collected from networking equipment from both F5 and third-party sources.
In addition, the company announced an update to NGINX Controller that enhances application analytics along with improvements to the declarative application programming interfaces (APIs) that NGINX Controller provides.
Finally, F5 Networks unveiled an update to BIG-IQ, a set of tools for managing application services delivered via its network operating system. Version 7.1 of BIG-IQ adds visibility into legacy application services, streamlines management workflows and adds security management functionality.
Hitesh Patel, senior director of product management for automation, orchestration and ecosystems at F5 Networks, said all three offerings are part of an ongoing effort to make it easier for IT organizations to meld network operations (NetOps) and best DevOps practices. Beacon, for example, ingests telemetry data streams from multiple sources to provide visibility and surface actionable insights via an application-centric view of the IT environment, he said, adding that approach makes it easier for NetOps and DevOps teams to collaborate.
A companion Beacon Insights tool can be employed to detect anomalies and run analytics to determine the root cause of an issue, he said.
Patel noted as IT environments become more complex, the need to eliminate silos that make managing IT holistically has become more pressing. For example, modern applications based on microservices are especially difficult to manage across an increasingly distributed computing environment.
Less clear currently is how much or even whether DevOps and NetOps teams will merge. Network resources increasingly are being exposed via APIs that developers can programmatically invoke to provision resources. However, many IT teams are trying to control how much network bandwidth is allocated to any given application. As a result, many NetOps teams are setting up portals through which DevOps teams are given access to a maximum amount of bandwidth for specific sets of applications.
On the plus side, Patel noted that as applications become more instrumented, thanks in part to the rise of DevOps, it’s becoming easier to apply analytics. That capability makes it easier for developers and NetOps teams to troubleshoot issues using a common set of metrics and dashboards that can feed data back to a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform, he said.
It may be a while before each IT organization finds the optimal level of convergence between their respective DevOps and NetOps teams. However, as applications become more distributed in the age of the cloud, networking will have a greater impact on application performance. The trouble is, most DevOps teams aren’t sure whether application performance issues are the result of the code written by developers or the latency being introduced by the network. Whatever the root cause, many IT teams are spending an inordinate amount of time trying to determine the root cause of application performance issues.