AppFormix Blog

Delivering Something Amazing with Intel

By Sumeet Singh on March 31, 2016

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AppFormix has big news today. Working with Intel, we have integrated Intel Resource Director Technology into our software. This makes it possible —for the first time— to monitor and manage individual workloads at the processor level, in real-time.

For cloud operators, this is a big deal for two reasons. First, until this innovation, it was only possible to monitor and manage at the OS and hypervisor or container level. Problems like noisy neighbors are hard to manage at this level of abstraction, meaning you’re working with old data and, essentially, managing your cloud by looking in the rearview mirror.

Second, armed with this unprecedented granularity, operators can now detect and fix performance problems in real time via automated rules, often before the end user is even aware something is wrong.

Let’s say that again: Fixing problems before users are aware something is wrong.

In a very real sense, what we’re doing with Intel is solving cloud management problems that operators had, to one degree or another, given up on. Using Intel’s game-changing RDT technology, we're giving operators and developers unprecedented visibility into and control over how applications run at the processor level.

The collaboration between our engineering teams is offering a solution to thorny, real-world problems like noisy neighbors. Together, we're opening the door to a world where performance issues are proactively resolved so end users never realize there's a problem.

DOWNLOAD - AppFormix + Intel Solution Brief

 

 

Why the Prior State of the Art Wasn’t Good Enough

If you run clouds for a living, you know that the tools we've used to optimize infrastructure performance in dedicated, legacy environments are insufficient when applied to the VM- and microservice-based architectures of modern clouds. Modern applications can create noise and chaos at the processor level, where prioritizing thousands of containers or VM-based workloads needs to account for real-time performance metrics.

Before today, monitoring tools simply couldn’t do the job. Their ability to monitor performance stopped at the operating system. Microservice architectures demand monitoring at the processor.

That’s why AppFormix and Intel worked together to integrate AppFormix software with Intel RDT. It’s initially available in the newly announced Intel(r) Xeon(r) E5 v4 processor family. 

AppFormix software in conjunction with the Cache Monitoring Technology (CMT), Memory Bandwidth Monitoring (MBM) and Cache Allocation Technology (CAT) features available in the new Intel® Xeon® E5 v4 processor family make it possible to enforce isolation between workloads and to detect and mitigate noisy neighbors in real time.

Motivating the shift to microservices is an implicit expectation that cloud and container infrastructure environments will deliver enhanced agility and improved ROI. This shift demands infrastructure transparency and real‐time monitoring and analytics. Without these key pieces, neither applications nor their underlying plumbing can deliver the low‐latency user experience that end users have come to expect.

Simultaneously, the shift to DevOps means that enterprises are moving away from IT silos and forming collaborative teams to speed time to market of enterprise software applications. This cultural transition has emphasized that application performance is a shared responsibility across both infrastructure operations and software development, and it demands a new set of tools that promote collaboration, offer real‐time data analysis, and enable self‐service infrastructure management.

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AppFormix crew at Intel: Sumeet Singh, George Youhana, Travis Newhouse, Josh Barry (ViaSat), James Downs (hyperscale ninja), and Parantap Roy.

 

The Realities of Cloud Infrastructure Management

In shared cloud infrastructure, resource contention is inevitable. Whether an environment is built on a cloud platform such as OpenStack or a container runtime such as Docker, the physical infrastructure is divided across multiple applications and often across multiple tenants.  

AppFormix provides better isolation between workloads, better visibility into performance, and a collaboration space that keeps everyone on the same team. The result is a cloud environment that is predictable, reliable and responsive to the needs of applications. A “smart agent” approach to telemetry and analysis provides meaningful insights in real time by analyzing the system’s most accurate, high resolution and relevant data directly at the source, all while consuming minimal resources.

In short, applications make demands on infrastructure, and the infrastructure makes promises to deliver. AppFormix is the software that makes this interaction work in demanding production environments.


Working with Intel on this project was an incredible experience. Integrating their RDT technology into our software is a huge vote of confidence, and participating with them in the launch of the Intel(r) Xeon(r) #5 v4 processor family has been a tremendous honor.

Learn more by visiting our dedicated Intel resource page. There you’ll find links to a joint solution brief we’ve written with Intel, a video overview of the technology featuring hyperscale cloud operators, and more.

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About AppFormix

AppFormix is the leading provider of infrastructure performance optimization for cloud-based datacenters and the best OpenStack Cloud Analytics Solution on the market. AppFormix increases the ROI of existing enterprise infrastructure through software that enables consistent performance of applications running in Virtual Machines or containers, either on-premise or in the public cloud.

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