Kentik today unfurled a developer hub, dubbed Kentik Labs, through which it is making five open source projects available as part of an effort to advance observability across network operations (NetOps).
The five projects are:
kTranslate: A system for pulling and pushing network data that is the basis of the Kentik Firehose integration the company created for the New Relic observability platform
NetDiag: Scalable, asynchronous implementations of low-level network diagnostics
Convis: Example code showing how to attribute process and container information to network traffic via the Linux kernel using eBPF
kProbe: A high-performance host and sensor network probe (PCAP)
Grafana App: A real-time tool for ingesting and querying network data
Nick Stinemates, vice president of business development at Kentik and co-chair of Kentik Labs, said the goal is to enable DevOps teams to incorporate NetOps within the workflows already being employed to programmatically manage the rest of IT.
Stinemates noted that, as IT environments become more distributed, managing NetOps has become more challenging. If there is a failure, it can be difficult for DevOps teams to determine if the issue is due to application code, the underlying infrastructure or some other root cause. Kentik Labs is committed to providing tools that will help DevOps teams reduce their mean time to recovery (MTTR), he added.
Most NetOps teams increasingly rely on software to manage distributed networks either in the form of graphical tools provided by router and switch vendors or by using the Python programming language and the open source Ansible automation framework that enables IT teams to declaratively manage IT infrastructure.
As the teams that manage network operations gain more proficiency with those tools, it becomes simpler to incorporate them within the construct of a larger DevOps team. While DevOps teams have been programmatically managing IT infrastructure-as-code (IaC) for years, network management has largely remained in a separate silo. However, as more applications are deployed in the cloud, it’s clear NetOps needs to become more integrated with the rest of the workflows employed to deploy and manage a highly distributed IT environment, said Stinemates.
Less clear is to what degree the networks that make up a hybrid cloud computing environment will continue to be managed by network administrators versus site reliability engineers (SREs) that are starting to assume responsibility for managing compute and storage.
Regardless of who manages the network, the next generation of microservices-based applications that are dependent on application programming interfaces (APIs) to call various services are much more latency-sensitive than previous generations of applications. Many of those applications will regularly experience performance issues due to networking issues that are often not readily apparent to DevOps teams. The goal should be to, at the very least, arm those DevOps teams with the tools required to confirm the source of those issues before a “war room” is convened to determine how to address the issue.