Take Five With Tom Fenton
5 Major Highlights from the Dynatrace Perform 2019 User Conference
For a deep-dive experience with application performance monitoring tools, Perform is where you want to be.
Perform, the Dynatrace annual user conference, was held in Las Vegas Jan. 28-31 this year. As opposed to huge tech conferences, smaller tightly focused conferences such as Perform allow people to focus in on a single product or technology. Dynatrace, for those not familiar, is one of the leading application performance monitoring (APM) tools and a pioneer in autonomous cloud management (ACM). The verticals that tend to use APM products are companies heavily dependent on Web services; think financials, travel and online merchants. If you need to monitor your Web apps and their performance, as well as understand the larger scope of how users interact with your apps, having an APM tool like Dynatrace is absolutely essential.
Following are my five major takeaways after spending three days at the conference and chatting with Dynatrace users and staff, including Bernd Greifeneder, Dynatrace's CTO and founder.
Hands-On Training (H.O.T.) Day. As opposed to some other conferences that hold un-proctored labs, Dynatrace labs are led by sales engineers. Having a live instructor for the labs can lead to very interesting discussions as the instructors are able to interject real experiences into the trainings based on their tribal knowledge and insider tips and tricks.
Session Replay. Dynatrace is very excited about this tech preview feature, and it looks like it will be included with the standard Dynatrace license moving forward. Session Replay allows you to capture and play back a user's Web session. This allows you to not only troubleshoot a user's session with your Web application, but it also allows you to get a better understanding of how users actually use your Web applications. Rumor has it that Session Replay will be released in public beta form in late February.
User Session Query Language (USQL). Another feature that Dynatrace announced and will be in in tech preview shortly is USQL. USQL allows you to capture a Dynatrace query and then use it to create a new tile on your dashboard. I love functional features like this, and having the ability to create a custom dashboard effortlessly is a huge plus for me. As a bonus, this same query string can also be used and imbedded in a Dynatrace API so that other programs can use Dynatrace information
Kubernetes Monitoring. Finding out how Dynatrace can be used to monitor Kubernetes is the main reason I came to the Dynatrace conference. Kubernetes is a very dynamic environment, with containers being created and destroyed on a regular basis; as such, resources such as IP address cannot be guaranteed to remain with a container in a Kubernetes environment. To say the least, monitoring a Kubernetes cluster can be extremely challenging. At this conference, I got a chance to observe a Dynatrace instance monitoring a Kubernetes environment. In short, Dynatrace integrates Kubernetes so you can track your multi-cloud Kubernetes performance monitoring and availability, as well as your application performance, from a single pane of glass.
Developer Program. Dynatrace announced a new program that allows its customers and partners to access its Developer Program so they can become more familiar with Dynatrace and its developer tools. The Dyanatrace Developer Program provides training materials, best practices and information on how to develop integrations and extensions to the Dynatrace software intelligence platform. A big bonus is that this program gives you access to a developer instance of Dynatrace.
While big tech conferences can give you a broad, far-reaching view of technology, smaller and more-focused conferences such as Perform allow you to deep dive on a particular product or technology and interact with key players within a company. If you use Dynatrace or are thinking about implementing an APM product in your environment, you need to attend Dynatrace Perform next year, or if you're in Europe, you can attend Perform Summit Barcelona May 21-23 this year.
Tom Fenton works in VMware's Education department as a Senior Course Developer. He has a wealth of hands-on IT experience gained over the past 20 years in a variety of technologies, with the past 10 years focused on virtualization and storage. Before re-joining VMware, Tom was a Senior Validation Engineer with The Taneja Group, were he headed their Validation Service Lab and was instrumental in starting up its vSphere Virtual Volumes practice. He's on Twitter @vDoppler.