Boundary offers free monitoring of cloud apps

Users who want full support and to store historical data have to pay from $199 per month

Boundary is trying to reach more customers for its application performance monitoring service with a free version that has all the same features as the existing offering. The service has also been upgraded to simplify problem diagnosis, the company said on Tuesday.

Boundary is used to keep track of cloud-based applications, distributed applications and clusters. It works by monitoring the flow of packets between servers and alerts users when something is going wrong.

The addition of a free version is meant to make it easier for enterprises to try out the service. The free version has all the same features as the paid version, but Boundary limits the amount of data that can be sent for analysis. Users also have to rely on community support and they can't store historical data.

"With the free version each customer gets 2GB of data per day that they can stream to us. To give an example, an application server typically streams between 100MB and 150MB per day," said CEO Gary Read.

For US$199 per month users get the same amount of data, but full support from Boundary and the ability to store historical data; this will become available in September. For $395 per month the amount of data goes up to 5GB per day.

The software-as-a-service offering became generally available in April this year, and has so far attracted about 50 paying customers including GitHub, Canonical, Urban Airship, and Cloudant, according to Read.

On the product side, the company has added an application visualization feature, Read said.

Once Boundary agents have been installed, they start streaming traffic data to the service which then uses that information and the visualization feature to create a map of the application topology -- which tiers of the application are talking to which other tiers, according to Read.

The topology is constantly being updated to reflect any changes.

To make problem diagnosis easier and faster, Boundary can now collect and annotate alerts, events and notifications from public clouds, other application performance tools and provisioning products, including Amazon Web Services, New Relic, Splunk and Puppet.

"The first question that's asked as soon as something goes wrong is, what changed," said Read.

Boundary has also added a Windows version of its agent and introduced a Hadoop application pack.

Going forward, the company plans to mine and analyze the growing amount of application performance data the company has access to, and turn that into new capabilities.

For example, it may allow users to be more proactive and predict when problems can occur and tell users about changes they can make to improve performance. Today it is very difficult for an enterprise to know if their database is performing as a well as it could, compared to others that use it in a similar way, according to Read.

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