Microservices observability. Not all companies prefer open source. View in browser »
The New Stack Update

ISSUE 179: The Rise of Observability 

Talk Talk Talk

“When we blew up the monolith into many services, we lost the ability to step through our code with a debugger: it now hops the network. Our tools are still coming to grips with this seismic shift.”

Charity Majors,, Observability — A 3-Year Retrospective
Add It Up
Reality Check: Everyone Doesn't Prefer Open Source
Reality Check: Everyone Doesn't Prefer Open Source. We talk so often with "glass half full" evangelists, it is bracing to remember that enterprise IT is risk adverse and slow to change. According to one study, a plurality of IT executives say their companies prefer commercial software over open source. The IT Architecture Modernization Trends report found report found that overall 38% lean towards commercial software, 32% prefer open source and do not have 30% a preference. Call us cynics, but it is not cause for celebration that two-thirds of executives at companies with more than 5,000 employees are essentially saying they do not have a proprietary-first software strategy.

It is noteworthy that c-level executives and those at companies with more than 50,000 employees tend to favor open source versus commercial software. For the c-level, this may be because of potential cost-savings and technology flexibility. The largest companies may also be less concerned about open source security risks and the possible lack of formal support.

As you may know, The New Stack fielded two surveys this summer about open source. The results paint a much brighter picture, partly because our participants were more likely to be developers that have used open source software before. The results will be published soon. Stay tuned.
What's Happening
As a preview to the TC Sessions: Enterprise event on September 5 in San Francisco, The New Stack founder and Editor-in-Chief Alex Williams co-hosted this Makers podcast episode with Ron Miller, enterprise reporter at TechCrunch. The pair interviewed Yvonne Wassenaar, CEO of Puppet, and Shawn Wormke, Founder of Aspen Mesh, about how their organizations and customers attempt to keep up with the disruption amid an explosion of new and powerful open source tools. 

Observability — A 3-Year Retrospective

There is an old railroad folk tale about the increasing complexity of steam locomotives that may be applicable to debugging today’s complex microservice-based architectures. 

Back in the early 19th century, when simple steam locomotives were a new technology, if one wasn’t running properly, the problem could be pinpointed easily in three minutes (“leaky boiler”). Fixing that problem, however, could take three weeks or more. By the time steam locomotives were phased out in the mid-20th century and replaced by more efficient diesel and electric engines, that ratio was reversed entirely. By then, engines were complicated beasts, and so it could take three weeks to diagnosis the problem, which then could very likely be fixed in three minutes.

With microservices, with their many interwoven components, we are now entering that latter-day phase of spending more time diagnosing, rather than fixing, a problem or performance issue. Not helping is our current crop of application performance monitoring (APM) tools for monitoring systems, based as they are on the collection of simple metrics. They are insufficient for getting to the root cause of a problem, argues’s Charity Majors, in a contributed post this week on The New Stack about observability. “The kinds of systems we were building were fundamentally different than the systems those tools were developed to understand,” she writes.

The problem with metrics alone is that they get aggregated and lose granularity over time, not allowing the sysadmins to pinpoint the problem at hand. Dashboards are likewise useless for the same reason, Majors argues. The bigger issue is that not all issues can easily be identified when there are so many components that could slow operations.  We need a new way of debugging and, in her post, she describes this landscape of what data to capture and how we should work with that data. Check it out!

Q&A: Docker’s Michael Crosby on How Libcontainer Enabled Kubernetes

In this Q&A, Docker’s Michael Crosby recalls how he created libcontainer, a daemon for Linux and Windows that manages the complete container life cycle of its host system. The software removed dependencies on the underlying operating system, and paved the way for greater interoperability – including with Kubernetes.

De-Risking Day 2 Is a Smart Career and Business Strategy

Mesosphere has changed its name. Now it is called D2IQ, reflecting a new strategy around “Day 2” operations, a DevOps terms that reflects the management of an application after it goes into production The company has also expanded its focus to not only include the Data Center Operation System, but also to support Kubernetes and data science workloads.

CNCF Open Sources Security Audit of Core Kubernetes Components

This week, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) has released the final results of a two-month long, third-party security audit of eight core Kubernetes components, uncovering a variety of vulnerabilities. The process originated last year with audits of the CoreDNS service discovery software, the Envoy proxy and Prometheus monitoring tool, before the foundation turned its attention to Kubernetes itself with the creation of the Security Audit Working Group to lead the process.

On The Road
Open Source Summit NA in San Diego / August 21 - 23, 2019
Looking for the big picture when it comes to open source software? The Linux Foundation’s Open Source Summit offers developers and other technologists a base from which to collaborate, share information, and learn about the latest open source technologies. Experts will be here from a wide range of disciplines, including networking, cloud native, edge computing, AI and many more. 15% off with code OSSNANWST19Register now!
The New Stack Makers podcast is available on: — Pocket CastsStitcher — Apple PodcastsOvercastSpotifyTuneIn

Technologists building and managing new stack architectures join us for short conversations at conferences out on the tech conference circuit. These are the people defining how applications are developed and managed at scale.
Free Guide to Cloud Native DevOps Ebook

Cloud native technologies — containers, microservices and serverless functions that run in multicloud environments and are managed through automated CI/CD pipelines — are built on DevOps principles. You cannot have one without the other. However, the interdepencies between DevOps culture and practices and cloud native software architectures are not always clearly defined.

This ebook helps practitioners, architects and business managers identify these emerging patterns and implement them within an organization. It informs organizational thinking around cloud native architectures by providing original research, context and insight around the evolution of DevOps as a profession, as a culture, and as an ecosystem of supporting tools and services. 

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