Sysdig announces curated Prometheus resource catalogue

sysdig monitor

Cloud native tool provider Sysdig has enhanced its monitoring offering to provide a more scalable data store with long-term retention, fully support Prometheus, and give users a neatly curated resource catalogue to go along with it.

The announcement touts the Sysdig Monitor update as “a huge step forward” allowing admins to “use Sysdig to scale Prometheus monitoring to millions of metrics”. According to the company, people are starting to deploy more and more Prometheus servers which can lead to “scale and workflow issues” as well as observability issues with services that are used across platforms making it hard to anticipate problems.

Its answer to that is “unparalleled scale” and “full Prometheus compatibility” in the latest release. The latter means amongst other things that Sysdig Monitor now understands Prometheus’ querying language PromQL and allows its use in dashboards etc. Data collection is facilitated through a Prometheus server embedded into Sysdig’s agent, which forwards metrics to the company’s backend.

“Unparalleled scale” meanwhile promises users the ability to ingest “millions of metrics, troubleshoot with high resolution data and have longer data retention”, said VP product management Payal Chakravarty  in a phone interview. Metrics from across a user’s environments will be stored “for up to 13 months” if that’s needed, giving customers a way of making some sort of trend analysis (not quite long-term yet).

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Along with the release comes the launch of PromCat, a resource catalog containing “curated, documented and supported monitoring integrations for Kubernetes platforms and cloud-native services”. 

The news comes just a couple of days after the Cloud Native Computing Foundation announced its interpretation of a general cloud native artifact repository, CNCF Hub. Asked if this has taken the company by surprise given that the catalogue essentially works against the consolidation of that space, Chief Marketing Officer Janet Matsuda pointed out the different goals of both projects on the same call.

“I think the CNCF effort is really trying to get full visibility to everything available.” Meanwhile Sysdig looks to help its customers minimise the time they need to set up their systems. “What our customers tell us is they spend so much time just looking through the full range of integrations that are available to select which ones are going to be the ones that are going to work for them. And so we’re going for, not so big of volume, but coverage. Coverage that they can count on.”

To make that a reality, Sysdig takes, according to Chakravarty, community source integrations, runs tests on them, looks into how they perform at scale and in different versions, and makes sure “they provide the insight they need to provide”.  She said, “There’s a team that we put together to make each integration better and to rate and support it.”

Ease of use is heavy on the team’s mind, which is why they not only check that exporters, dashboards, and alerts work in Prometheus but can be included into Sysdig at the click of a button as well. And to make sure the catalogue is also something customers with special security measures in place can use, there are already plans for on-prem bundles usable in air-gapped environments for example.

This of course means a lot of responsibility for the company, which is why it is quick to mention that community contributions are of course welcome, though not everything will make the final cut. “Everything in the catalogue will be vetted and curated,” Chakravarty reassured, which is only wise given that Sysdig aims at offering support for the PromCat items, which also means that SLAs must be satisfied.

While this means another lot of work for the new team, prioritisation for what to vet first is pretty clear. “We look into what applications and environments are most used by our customers,” said Matsuda. In terms of environments Sysdig users seem to be drawn to AWS, Azure, and Red Hat for example, so those will be reviewed and documented more quickly. Kubernetes applications will also be high on the list, Chakravarty added, since images for those were amongst the most popular images in Sysdig’s container usage report.

Currently, the catalogue still sports a lot of “coming soon” markers for all sorts of environments and tools, so that it’s mostly of use to those looking for resources to work with AWS. The idea however will surely appeal to a large number of Sysdig customers, which means eyes are on the company to see how quick they are in making the whole thing work. After all, good documentation takes a while.

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