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Visualizing Unmetered IP’s with Boundary

Posted by on April 24th, 2014

Today, Boundary has introduced a new feature named “Unmetered IP’s” into our already powerful Topology service. As the name implies, unmetered IP’s let users manually specify an IP Address of a specific instance. By adding an unmetered entity, you are telling Boundary to visualize network flows between the metered hosts and the newly added unmetered entity.

The introduction of this new feature makes it possible to visualize things such as physical devices, appliances and 3rd party services where it may not be possible to install the Boundary Meter due to permissions. A common request our customers have made in the past is to visualize their AWS Elastic Load Balancers (ELB’s), while this has always been possible via our Streaming View it hasn’t been supported in our Topology View until now!

To add an unmetered entity, login to Boundary and create a new Boundary Application (either from the standalone page or directly from Topology) and choose “Unmetered IP’s” from the drop-down menu.  Next, add the IP address or addresses of the unmetered host that you want included. Here’s what it looks like:

Unmetered App

Once the new application is created, you will see it in the Boundary Topology View. By using the Topology View, you can now visualize how traffic is flowing between the unmetered host and the rest of your applications. Here’s an example:

Topology Unmetered

With the unmetered entity added, Boundary will automatically start tracking and displaying all the traffic between metered...

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Boundary Meter 2.0 – Build Methodology

Posted by on March 24th, 2014

In our earlier “Boundary Meter 2.0 – Foundations” post, Brent included a section of discussion on how we currently build our meter software.  Boundary’s customers run a multitude of operating systems (and various versions of those operating systems) and several different CPU architectures, which equates to effort and resources on Boundary’s engineering team to provide all the necessary meter variants.  In addition to our current set of customers, the Boundary sales team perpetually engages with potential new customers, some of which have OS, OS version, and/or architecture requirements which we don’t currently have a meter build for.

In this post, we’ll explore the meter building process at Boundary and how it satisfies our business requirements while not overburdening engineering team resources.

Consistency

Because Boundary’s meter is written in C, it requires proper compilation and linking to create a working executable for each platform we support.  In this situation, one approach for supporting multiple OSes is to use the usual/native development toolchain for each OS.  But this approach requires familiarity with each dev toolchain being used and can be difficult to automate in a consistent fashion across all build environments.  And certainly this approach can grow more complex over time as new OSes are added.

To accommodate our need for supporting an ever-changing list of supported OSes/architectures, the Boundary meter build centers around the GNU build tools...

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Boundary Meter 2.0.3 adds STUN-ing new features!

Posted by on March 17th, 2014

Boundary Meter 2.0.3 was just released and now includes STUN support. By using STUN, the Boundary Meter can automatically discover it’s public IP address even when it’s behind a firewall or NAT device.

Once Boundary knows the public IP address, it can use it to correlate public and private network flows. For instance, if two servers connect to each other via a proxy, Boundary can use the public IP information to assemble the two independent flows on either side of the proxy into a single conversation.

Ultimately, this provides deeper insight into how servers and virtual instances are communicating. This is always helpful when troubleshooting performance problems. Below is a screenshot of a meter with both public and private IP addresses.

Boundary Meter View with Box v2

In addition to STUN support, Boundary Meter 2.0.3 also includes the following  highly-valuable enhancements::

  • Ability to enable promiscuous mode for packet capture
  • Option to disable the built-in NTP client
  • Support for running the meter on Linux Mint

See the release notes for more information about these features and full list of bug fixes.

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What Makes Boundary Unique? A Q&A with Boundary’s CEO – Part 1 of 3

Posted by on March 6th, 2014

Boundary recently released figures on its significant growth in IT operations analytic processing. In the past year, the company’s platform has experienced 400% growth and now processes 1.5 trillion daily metrics.  Given this milestone, it seemed like a good time to hear directly from Boundary’s CEO, and find out what makes Boundary unique, how it got to this point, and where it’s going next.

Gary, can you give us a little background on why Boundary was invented and what problem it is intended to solve?

I hear many people say that “monitoring sucks” and, while I wouldn’t say it exactly like that, I can certainly understand where they are coming from. For those who manage today’s applications and infrastructures, I think the real issue is that existing monitoring/ITOM tools were created for a very different era of computing. When these tools were architected, we didn’t have the cloud with its elasticity, we didn’t have companies making hundreds of code changes and thousands of infrastructure changes to their production environment every day, and we didn’t have the kind of large-scale, highly distributed systems approach that is being used to build today’s modern applications.

Therefore, we understood that a new approach was needed and we decided to take a “data-first” approach. This meant that we’d architect and build a system to collect as much data as we could, as often as we could, and then process that data as fast as we could.  We also...

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Introducing the new Boundary User Interface

Posted by on February 27th, 2014

Our sole focus at Boundary is to make it easier for IT Ops to troubleshoot and resolve problems. When we redesigned the Boundary User Interface (UI) our goal was to make it easier and faster for IT Ops to find the information needed to resolve IT outages and diagnose performance problems.

One of the first improvements you’ll notice in the UI is the new navigation model based around the “filter bar.” The filter bar lets users set the “time range” and “source” that is used to filter the data shown in the view. Below is a screen shot of the new UI and its three main components: the “filter bar” highlighted in red, the “view” highlighted in yellow and the “navigation bar” highlighted in orange.

Filter Bar 4

The filter bar is especially helpful when a user is trying to investigate a problem. Typically, a user will start with the events view to see the event details for the specific time range related to a group of servers or virtual machines. Once a user has an understanding of those events they can quickly move to the streams view and start examining the flow data statistics to understand how the network is being impacted. With Boundary’s new navigation model, the process is simple because the filter bar preserves the troubleshooting context as user’s move around the application. Hopefully, the usability flow is so natural that you don’t even notice it as you move around Boundary.

One other subtle but important change in the UI was moving the navigation...

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