Monitoring vendor Boundary is part of a new wave of companies that provide peripheral services to the new style of applications being built – applications that are distributed, have to deal with rapid scaling, bring together many different services and live in the cloud. Boundary’s goal is to give operations personnel a “single pane of glass” over all the different aspects of their application – it does so by delivering real-time operational data.
It’s interesting to look at Boundary’s recently released growth numbers to extrapolate out just how much this new type of application is growing as developers embrace a new architecture in their work. Boundary is now analyzing up to two trillion different metrics, fully 25% of which are originating with Amazon Web Services. This is a 400% increase on what Boundary was seeing a year ago. Now of course some of this growth comes down to Boundary increasing it’s sales and marketing, but alongside that the massive increase is an indicator for more general changes in the development process.
As delivering applications to end-users becomes less of a siloed operation seen primarily as a marketing tool, and becomes more central to the way organizations work, CIOs are in turn under pressure to ensure that those applications enjoy high levels of uptime. Marc Andreeson famously opined that software is eating the world and if we look at the general economy, we can see organizations that rely on applications for what they do – whether it is engineering and construction companies using software for their plans, job scheduling or materials handling or retailers who rely on applications as their primary way of doing business – applications are becoming ever more important.
Add to this the fact that modern application architectures are increasingly making use of third party components (maybe using Mailgun for email, Twilio for communications aspects, Chargify for their billing alongside the core application code) and you have a requirement for monitoring that is very broad – this is Boundary’s focus and the company hopes to deliver by offering insights into latency between different services across both cloud and on-premises. In doing so it aims to ease the on-ramp for developers moving to cloud vendors – by giving users of AWS the same level of visibility as they enjoy with their on-premises applications, one of the last remaining barriers to moving to the cloud (“but we just don’t know what’s going on in there”) is removed.
It’s easy to be simplistic about application outages and just blame the cloud vendor where the application sits, but these things are generally far more nuanced than people realize – by diving deep into the complexities of application structure, Boundary is increasing the maturity with which operations teams can approach their application monitoring and in doing so, heralding the rise of a new way of thinking about apps.