Simplifying agent management for AppDynamics SaaS and On-Premises

May 02 2023

A new set of capabilities in Cisco AppDynamics SaaS and On-Premises deployments enables users to spend less time maintaining software for application performance monitoring.

Agent management has historically been time-consuming, labor-intensive and required a high level of application experience.

Cisco AppDynamics is changing that with a brand-new set of capabilities to simplify agent lifecycle management — enabling users to spend more time supporting and developing applications and less time maintaining software used to monitor those applications.

AppDynamics is simplifying agent management for SaaS and on-premises deployments

Agent lifecycle automation provides numerous benefits, including:

Rapid time to value: automate installations across thousands of hosts and start collecting data in hours.

    • Ease of use: autodiscover and monitor existing applications without worrying about multiple technologies and languages, and integrate into existing CI/CD and tooling pipelines.
    • Convenient scheduling: control when things happen, to minimize peak-period disruptions.
    • Resilient upgrades: automate rollbacks of agent upgrades if they fail, to avoid unpleasant surprises.
    • Secure deployments: deploy from our repository or yours.
    • Latest versions: automate upgrades to ensure you have the latest features, bug fixes and security patches.

How it works: phase one

By utilizing existing skillsets with simple IT automation tools, you can embrace our new agent management capabilities very quickly.

New simplified agent management supports:

Relevant languages and infrastructure agents
Java, Node.js, .NET for Windows, Machine agent and more.

Cisco AppDynamics SaaS and On-Premises
The phase one deliverable is controller agnostic and can run independently of chosen AppDynamics platform deployment types. This is one of many additional innovations for on-premises and SaaS. Check out others on the blog: On-premises to cloud: Observability for customers where they are and where they’re going.

New and existing deployments
Whether a new installation, expansion of an existing deployment or upgrading an existing deployment of thousands of agents, our new simplified agent management has you covered.

AppDynamics brings simplified agent management that integrates with existing CI/CD and tooling management pipelines from day one. By leveraging native inventory to manage agents, focusing on performance, supportability, upgradability and more, we provide an easier way to reduce onboarding and maintenance efforts around agent management. Thus, reducing time-to-value and increasing productivity for your investment.

Phase one starts with Ansible scripts, Helm Charts and VMWare Tanzu (Cloud Foundry) support to automate the installation, upgrade and rollback process for AppDynamics agents.

The process allows you to integrate into your existing CI/CD pipelines, offering the most robust and flexible option for agent management workflows.

Now for the details…

    • If you use VMs, we provide AppDynamics Ansible integration plugins through Ansible Galaxy for Java, .NET for Windows, Node.js, Python, PHP, Machine and Apache Webserver Agents.
    • If you are running your workload on containers and want to bake your agents during build time, use Docker images on Docker Hub.
    • If you are running workloads on containers orchestrated by Kubernetes and want to inject the agents during runtime, use Helm Charts and the AppDynamics Cluster Agent for Java, .NET and Node.js.
    • If you are using VMWare Tanzu (Cloud Foundry), we support buildpacks for Java, .NET, Node.js and Python.

Regarding use of Ansible for AppDynamics agents. Leverage an existing Ansible Automation Controller (Ansible Tower) or the open source version, which is simply installed through many different package installers, such as yum install on CentOS. The open source version comes at no cost.

You have the option of performing a quick install, requiring only the controller details; or for mass installations, a simplified agent management approach allows for customization, such as application, tier and node names.

For upgrades, agents can, at scale, easily receive the latest functionality, fixes and security patches, such as a response to what occurred with the log4j security issue. Any previous custom configuration is carried over to the newer version, and having a simplified agent management solution also supports rollbacks in case something does not go as planned. If you have thousands of existing agents out there, you won’t need to remove anything. Everything is set up to provide the least amount of effort on your part.

What’s next: phase two

We are just getting started with simplified agent management and envision being able to support all AppDynamics agent lifecycle management needs.

Soon, we will provide many more options that will help with never-ending installation and configuration customizations, upgrades, rollbacks and decommissioning challenges by providing all capabilities within a simple-to-use UI that also serves as an inventory management solution. These include plans for:

    • A discovery process that alleviates the need to understand the language used by the applications and reliance on a single-agent solution. This will simplify workflows in the most efficient way for addressing the most common agent management pain points.
    • Support for package managers like Puppet, Chef, and Terraform, depending on customer needs. We would love your feedback to help us evaluate the need to support additional package managers, which would assist with the deployment of AppDynamics agents through your CI/CD and tooling pipelines.

This focus on simplifying AppDynamics agent lifecycle management and helping streamline agent management tasks in phase one is a great start. With your feedback, we continue to help drive innovation and increase the value of Cisco AppDynamics investments. Visit the Idea Exchange on the AppDynamics Community to share ideas about how we can help simplify your agent management needs in the future.

Manasa H G is a Cisco AppDynamics Engineering Product Manager who has worked on AppDynamics Agents and OpenTelemetry™. Currently focused on Fleet Management, Manasa is a dedicated product enthusiast who enjoys delighting customers by solving key pain points.

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