Any enterprise building a modern cloud-native application will not just rely on a single service to meet their customer demands.

For instance, developing a solution on the Microsoft Azure cloud is more likely to involve more than one Azure service, making it difficult to diagnose and resolve performance issues.

In such situations, distributed tracing comes in as a handy option! It is a method through which you can trace and visualize the user requests or messages flowing through your distributed Azure services.

Why is it beneficial to have a distributed tracing solution?

Get a centralized view: Distributed tracing provides a more holistic view of your distributed Azure services, tracing the message request and showing how the services interact. All the teams can easily understand how an application is built and pinpoint failures.

Fix bottlenecks faster: With multiple Azure services involved in your application, it becomes nearly impossible to determine the service that serves as the root cause of an issue, and that is when distributed solutions can help with their ability to provide end-to-end visibility, enabling you to identify and fix critical issues within minutes.

Focus on what’s more important: In most cases, organizations build their custom tracing solutions, which might be tedious and time-consuming. So going for a ready-made solution that can take care of monitoring and tracing will spare a lot of time, letting your developers innovate and focus on what matters. 

But choosing a distributed tracing tool that perfectly fits your business scenario is vital. Here we list the top 5 tools you should consider while trying to achieve end-to-end tracing for your complex Azure solutions.

  • Serverless360 BAM
  • Application Insights
  • Site 24 * 7
  • App Dynamics
  • New Relic

Serverless360 BAM

Serverless360’s Business Activity Monitoring aims to equip your operations team with more than the basic tracing capabilities for your Azure and hybrid solutions. It allows the business users to track, visualize and pinpoint failures in the message flow across the distributed Azure services – everything in an advanced way. 

The setup is also quite simple, where you design your message transactions in Serverless360 and then instrument your business process for message tracking.  

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Features

  • Visualize and correlate the messages flowing through various Azure services of your complex integrations.
  • Identify the root cause and resolve message transaction failures with ease by tracking every message transaction in your business solution.
  • All the failed transactions that require immediate attention will be segregated into a separate “Action required” tab.
  • Repair and resubmit feature to let you modify the necessary value and reprocess them for a successful resubmission.
  • Quickly retrieve business-critical data from several message transactions using simple queries.
  • Real-time dashboards provide you with a visual representation of the tracked data in charts and reports.
  • Monitor the transactions on various aspects and get instantly alerted via your preferred notification channels whenever there is a threshold breach.
  • Improved security on Serverless360 with the in-built governance and auditing feature

All the tracked data and the message details will be stored in Azure SQL Database and Blob Storage, which can be fetched anytime you need.

Application Insights

App insights are one of the most popular features of Azure Monitors that provides Application Performance Management (APM) and proactive monitoring for live web apps. It is also a powerful tool that helps you diagnose issues and understand how your web apps perform. 

Features:

  • Get to monitor the health and performance of your applications in real-time.
  • You can also drill down into the details of a particular failed request and pinpoint what caused the exception, making it easier to troubleshoot performance issues.
  • The application Map feature in App Insights makes it easier for you to visualize the relationship between different Azure Services. 
  • Associating the App Insights with Log Analytics, you can log the monitored data for individual services involved in an Azure application. 

App Insights can be a viable choice for monitoring individual Azure services but not for an entire application. It is impossible to trace the whole message flow across your distributed services. That gave rise to many third-party tools, whose features are outlined below.

Site 24×7

Site 24×7 can identify the root cause of a problem anytime it occurs by tracking the message transactions made from one service to another. Instead of individually inspecting multiple services of an application, Site 24×7’s distributed tracing maps the entire flow of the message transaction across numerous services. Overall, it provides all the essential features required to achieve end-to-end visibility.

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Features:

  • It offers distributed tracing, allowing you to monitor code flows across application boundaries.
  • The tool helps you to dig deep through traces to discover bottlenecks in the performance of your application/service.
  • Identify and consolidate logs from various services that affect your key performance indicators (KPIs).
  • Define benchmarks for your KPIs and determine remedial actions if they are breached.

New Relic

Among New Relic’s many modern features, distributed tracing is one of its primary offerings that bring together relevant data from various stacks of your technologies to reveal how your entire system functions. It is a fully managed cloud-native application, which means you get on-demand scalability without any additional infrastructure support.

Features:

  • Observe 100% of the tracing telemetry across your distributed systems to eliminate the operational burden
  • For legacy monolith apps and microservices-based apps, New Relic offers two different types of tracing – Standard distributed tracing and infinite tracing.
  • It allows tracing telemetry from any source: open-source tools and standards like OpenTelemetry, OpenCensus, and Istio.
  • Get real-time alerts in Slack and other collaboration tools and in-depth analytics to help you spot anomalies promptly.

App Dynamics

App Dynamics is an Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tool that supports a wide range of cloud vendors. It offers quite a good number of features when it comes to distributed tracing for microservice architectures, which can help you detect performance issues before they negatively impact your business results.

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Features:

  • Get full observability into your application’s dependencies, including databases, message buses, and containers.
  • Real-time visibility into the message flow of your web and mobile applications
  • Flow maps show the tiers, nodes, message queues, and databases in your application and highlight the message flow where the status will be represented in different colors red, yellow and green.
  • At a glance, diagnose performance problems and isolate the root causes

Conclusion

All the tools listed above will have their pros and cons, so it’s more important to try them out and choose those that fit your logging and tracing needs. But, if you are specifically looking for distributed tracing tools with extensive support for solutions built using the Azure cloud, then Serverless360 BAM should be the primary choice considering all its end-to-end tracing features.