SolarWinds is advancing its campaign to become a leading provider of DevOps tools by adding the ability to profile live code to SolarWinds AppOptics application performance monitoring (APM) platform.
Keith Kuchler, vice president of engineering for SolarWinds, said live code profiling provides a breakdown of the most frequently called functions and methods in a transaction, including class, method, filename and line number. That capability makes it possible for DevOps teams to identify what line of code might be causing a performance issue without requiring any changes to the code itself, he said.
According to Kuchler, the ability to profile live code extends a distributed tracing capability that SolarWinds previously incorporated into SolarWinds AppOptics. Collectively, the two offerings show how committed SolarWinds is to providing DevOps teams with access to advanced capabilities at a fraction of the cost of rival APM platforms delivered as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application, said Kuchler. Pricing for SolarWinds AppOptics starts at $7.50 per month. SolarWinds AppOptics is part of what SolarWinds describes as a DevOps Toolkit that also includes Pingdom, a website performance monitoring tool, Papertrail, a log management service, and Loggly, a log analytics service.
The ability to profile live code supports applications written in Java and PHP, with support for additional programming languages forthcoming, said Kuchler. The goal is to reduce the amount of time DevOps teams need to spend guessing where the source of any issue might be after an application is deployed or updated, he added.
As the rate at which applications continue to be deployed and updated, DevOps teams need to be able to pinpoint issues at the code level to enable developers to address that issue as soon as possible. Sharing a bunch of generic alerts typically doesn’t provide a developer with enough actionable intelligence to solve the problem. Not surprisingly, a recent survey of over 300 developers conducted by SolarWinds finds that most of them spend a lot more time troubleshooting existing applications versus writing new code. All that time spent troubleshooting code winds up having an adverse impact on the ability to make the transition to DevOps.
In general, SolarWinds is trying to expand the total APM market by making its tools available as a service that organizations of any size can invoke. Historically, reliance on APM tools has been limited to mission-critical applications mainly due to cost. But over time, the number of applications deemed to be mission-critical has increased. In addition, because of the all interdependencies between applications, the potential impact a single line of code can have across the enterprise IT environment can be substantial. As a result, the need for an affordable approach to APM has become more acute.
Naturally, it will be interesting to see how much pressure there is on APM pricing over the course of the coming year. Competition between providers of APM platforms is already fierce. The challenge will be finding a provider of an APM platform that not only provides all the capabilities required, but also has deep enough pockets to be around for the long haul.