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New Tools for Enterprise Node.js Monitoring

Enterprises can get help monitoring their Node.js implementations with two brand-new tools from NodeSource and RisingStack.

NodeSource, which describes itself as "the enterprise Node company," today unveiled an update to N|Solid, which provides production monitoring, performance analysis and security functionality.

RisingStack, which describes itself as "an enterprise Node.js consulting and development company," yesterday announced a public beta program for Trace, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Application Performance Management (APM) offering specifically targeted toward monitoring microservices. It provides "anomaly detection, distributed transaction tracking and process monitoring for your services," according to its Web site.

Both are new additions to the Node.js ecosystem, which provides an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment for event-driven, I/O server-side JavaScript development.

The increasingly popular Node.js environment just hit version 6, on the heels of a survey that shows it making inroads in enterprise development shops.

N|Solid from NodeSource
NodeSource picked up on that enterprise-readiness theme in its announcement today. "Enterprise adoption of JavaScript and Node.js has been on a steep curve -- up 375 percent year over year," the company said. "Developers have embraced the ability to quickly develop and run code anywhere, yet that agility and efficiency must be achieved through a mature development and deployment environment."

The company hopes to provide that environment with the updated N|Solid v1.3, which it said "extends the capabilities of Node.js to provide increased developer productivity, peak application performance and protection of critical applications."

It aims to do that through improved platform security, production monitoring and performance analysis.

N|Solid
[Click on image for larger view.] N|Solid (source: NodeSource)

The security functionality tackles what it calls the "rich, but vulnerable, package ecosystem." The Node.js package manager, npm, recently made some news itself when a disgruntled developer "unpublished" his JavaScript modules in a module naming dispute, causing thousands of JavaScript builds to fail around the world. That brought up all kinds of debate about the npm system, including security concerns.

"A streamlined security view provides awareness across the entire environment -- including which third-party modules have been modified -- allowing users to understand which applications and processes are exposed to vulnerabilities, and to visually track remediation progress across the application environment," NodeSource said.

For production monitoring, developers can glean insights into application behavior through interactive visualizations and can drill down to find more detailed data about running processes that can number in the hundreds. Performance analysis is provided through "single-click CPU profiling and heap snapshots that allow developers to rapidly identify and resolve production issues without code modification."

"One of the reasons Node.js has become so popular with developers and enterprises is its ability to modularize applications into more manageable collections of services," NodeSource quoted Redmonk analyst Stephen O'Grady as saying. "However, composability can pose challenges for businesses in reliability and security, and it is this challenge that N|Solid was built to address."

Trace from RisingStack
Such services -- or rather, distributed microservices -- are the focal point of RisingStack's new offering. "Trace offers an improved way of monitoring Node.js microservices thanks to its visualized stack tracing feature, which enables developers to automatically localize ongoing issues and effortlessly debug distributed systems," the company said in a statement yesterday.

Along with NodeSource and the Node.js organization itself, RisingStack has been touting the increasing enterprise worthiness of Node.js.

"Using Node.js has many advantages: it can boost productivity of the teams; it can increase the performance of your applications, or, simply, keep your teams happy," the company said in a whitepaper titled Node.js Is Enterprise-Ready. "But when we are saying Node.js is enterprise ready, we mean a lot more: Node.js is now a part of the Linux Foundation and therefore has long-term support."

The new Trace tool tackles the tracking of transactions, monitoring, alerting and infrastructure visualization with the help of anomaly detection and process monitoring.

N|Solid
[Click on image for larger view.] Trace Metrics (source: RisingStack)

"Tools with basic metrics and alerting functions have been around for a few years, still, monitoring and maintaining a microservice architecture remained challenging," said RisingStack CEO Gergely Nemeth. "Debugging is hard, it's easy to lose track of services when you deal with a lot of them, and it's painful to detect bottlenecks with the existing solutions. Trace can help with all of these issues while avoiding the microservice jungle."

Trace can be used on Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) or Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) offering such as Amazon Web Services, Heroku, Cloud Foundry and DigitalOcean.

RisingStack said it already had 800 registered companies, including some in the Fortune 500, waiting for its free beta program, which will run until at least through the end of next month. Participating companies will still be able to use Trace for a month after the beta program ends. Interested companies can visit the RisingStack Web site to register for the beta.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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