AWS Announces: X-Ray, End-to-End Distributed Application Monitoring

Of all the amazing announcements made during the re:Invent keynotes, among the most impressive I heard was Thursday’s¬†announcement of X-Ray.

In short, X-Ray is Amazon Web Services’ attempt to provide application monitoring across multiple disconnected services. And if it works as advertised, it’s a potential game-changer for DevOps.

As the cliche goes, microservice architecture‘s greatest strength is also its greatest weakness. Having multiple independent services that are chained together into a solution certainly provides resilience, flexibility, scalability, portability, swifter development and many other benefits. But it does come at a cost; generally, more complexity, additional latency and more potential points of failure/trouble.

It’s also difficult to understand how the individual portions of a microservice-based application perform as a unit.¬†I can easily monitor how each microservice in an application performs but I don’t necessarily understand how a problem at one point in a workflow affects the performance of other microservices. (more…)