Using the experiences they gleaned as developers at Flickr, the founders of startup Opsmatic today debuted a real-time data platform and live-state monitoring service built specifically to support the needs of fast-moving DevOps teams.
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The combination of DevOps and Agile environments creates a complex operating environment that demands real-time visibility and a 'single source of truth,' said Jim Stoneham, CEO and co-founder, in an interview. But too often developers must use multiple tools with conflicting data, adding another layer of confusion in an already fraught setting, he said.
'I've dealt with a lot of environments that weren't Agile. They were chaotic,' Stoneham said.
At first, Opsmatic is concentrating on configuration management: Gartner determined configuration errors accounted for 40 percent of outages, he said.
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- They were chaotic,' Stoneham said. At first, Opsmatic is concentrating on configuration management: Gartner determined configuration errors accounted for 40 percent of outages, he said. 'It's a component of the actual chaos. All that configuration-related stuff is a huge actor in these that outages are occurring,' said Stoneham.
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'It's a component of the actual chaos. All that configuration-related stuff is a huge actor in these that outages are occurring,' said Stoneham.
To tame the bedlam, Opsmatic developed a data platform that tracks the state of hosts in real-time at scale. The company's API allows developers to add data from other applications and includes operations management tools for more insight and answers, said Stoneham. Opsmatic's service monitors all hosts in real-time, giving DevOps a current and accurate image of the configuration and any changes being made to the host. Since any variations in configuration across host groups are immediately visible, teams can fix issues before they cause problems, according to Opsmatic.
'This is a purpose built tool for live-state monitoring. It's extremely lightweight, written in Go,' Stoneham said. 'The first time it appears on a host – it can be bare metal, in the cloud, it doesn't matter – it will catalog what's on the host, and from that point forward it will track what's changing every time it happens.'
The SaaS-based offering allows teams to instantly search live-state inventory data to locate vulnerable packages; all versions of open source packages, or which hosts are running a specific service. In addition, DevOps can define specific policies (or assertions), then run them against live-state data to enforce dependencies, verify configuration, or identify potential issues.
'It's like Google for your infrastructure, basically,' said Stoneham. 'If they hear about a vulnerability they can quickly go and find it.'
Through integration with configuration management tools from Chef, Puppet, Ansible, SaltStack, and Docker, DevOps professionals can track and report failed and successful automation runs; file integrity monitoring, and gain visibility into key host attributes of each run. The service also tracks the entire host and report on changes made outside automation runs, the company said.
Opsmatic provides DevOps with 'intelligent alerts' that prevent unnecessary 3 a.m. wake-ups but inform professionals about important changes or conditions, said Stoneham. A host or host group can scope any alert, feed it into specific chat channels such as Slack or HipChat, or email it to a specific individual, the developer said.
'My expectation is we'll see people in all stages of the evolution. DevOps culture, like any relationship, needs ongoing care and feeding. It's something you have to constantly pay attention to, like any other relationship,' said Stoneham. 'We've run into a handful of homegrown tools that nobody wants to maintain or the person who wrote them left. I've seen a lot of people using Excel, even in my own teams. We've seen people trying to use other tools but not being happy with the results.'
Opsmatic – which works with any cloud-based infrastructure, datacenter, or hybrid environment across various operating systems – is available as a monthly subscription service for $5 per host per month, based on the peak number of hosts monitored each month. Enterprise licenses for more than 500 hosts per month also are available. A free 30-day trial also is available.
Because Opsmatic garners a lot of insight into an organization's ongoing development and operations initiatives, as well as its existing infrastructure and applications, the company has ambitious long-term goals for its platform that extend beyond these initial first steps, Stoneham said.
'There are lots of things we can do with this data and there are lots of things we want to do over time,' he said.
Today, Opsmatic is focusing on configuration management because so many errors occur here. But the developer plans to continue partnering with ISVs in areas like performance monitoring and expanding into segments such as threshold monitoring, said Stoneham.
'We're not going to build network security stuff… but we already do some integrity monitoring…,' he added. 'Today there's no single source of truth, no system of record for this. They're a collection of tools that don’t have a common anything. It creates a lot of overhead and friction. If you're trying to build a DevOps culture it's all about being on the same page. It's all about being aligned with what's true and what's not true.'