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NetSpyGlass partners with Aiven for simplicity and scale

NetSpyGlass offers advanced network monitoring automation. They use Terraform with their complex Apache Kafka and PostgreSQL-based data backend to simplify service management.

Overview

NetSpyGlass is a cloud-native network monitoring automation built to replace the hodgepodge and tangle of homespun network management and monitoring frameworks.


Started in the mid 2010’s, the company single-handedly built a popular solution that allows network operators to combine and automate network monitoring across multiple vendors with powerful aggregate insights.

What’s more, the company has become a go-to in their industry by supporting a range of the most popular device vendors — all with a small team and in a relatively short time.

The company’s solution offers a broad selection of data-intensive features that include automation, analytics, discovery, mapping, real-time monitoring, searches, threshold alerting, visualization/dashboard capabilities, and reporting.

And with scripting support and extensibility, a NetSpyGlass solution can be easily tailored to fit each network manager’s unique requirements, allowing users to use as many of the features as they need or even add their own. However, building the data backbone for a solution widely known for its customizability — with so few hands on deck — presented a unique challenge.

The challenge

The team originally started with a variety of on-premises, self-managed database and messaging solutions that included Redis, PostgreSQL, MySQL, InfluxDB, and Apache Kafka. But managing these systems quickly got out of hand.

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"...provisioning a new service now takes about 15-20 minutes end-to-end."

Alexander Komlik

Chief DevOps Architect

The team needed to figure out exactly what solutions were needed, as well as hit the right benchmarks across all of them to meet their SLAs. This task included running and managing a series of databases on site, and then repeating the process with a range of cloud providers while comparing things like read and write speeds, latency, costs and ease-of-use to come up with
the right mix.

Early on, a consultant came on board who was using Aiven for InfluxDB while considering a few other Aiven solutions. At this point, the innovation cycle became shorter. The small team felt empowered when they could easily spin up services, run experiments, and spin them down again.

The solution

When Alexander joined, he was already using Terraform to provision a range of data backend services. Terraform was already quite useful to the team because of the myriad of interfaces and connectors already available for it. With the
help of an Aiven how-to article, he started using Terraform to provision a range of Aiven services.

As during their innovation cycle, the speed of service provisioning increased dramatically, making Aiven service adoption a 1-2 punch. “Terraform-based deployment today basically involves provisioning a new PostgreSQL or Kafka
service from Aiven. This now takes about 15-20 minutes, end-to-end.”

The outcome

Aiven’s solutions helped the team develop, benchmark and manage a complicated data backend by shortening the cycle of innovation and simplifying core service management. He adds: “The point of using Aiven is to avoid being an expert in every area, right? So you just outsource whatever piece of our infrastructure elsewhere and have the experts in these things, maintain it, support it, upgrade it.”

What’s more, the team found Aiven’s service delivery model to be a good inspiration for their own. Alexander elaborates: “Aiven’s deployment model is basically self-service. In fact, our product owner wants us to follow that and make our own monitoring service as easy to deploy.”

He says that NetSpyGlass is moving toward building out their own web application and command-line interfaces that will manage tasks like updates, maintenance, customer signups. After all, he concludes, “If it feels right, if it feels quick and easy, you just do it.”

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“The point of using Aiven, is to avoid being an expert in every area...”

Alexander Komlik

Chief DevOps Architect

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