Introducing Timeshift for Application Monitoring

As applications become more and more dynamic, troubleshooting them gets harder. Components are spun up by orchestration tools and accurate investigation is almost impossible.

What if you could go back in time and navigate your environment to replay its evolution?

At Instana we recently introduced the concept of Dynamic Graph: a replica of your environment to understand dependencies and assess the health of every component. We are now happy to announce the new Timeline and the Timeshift investigation.

The foundation of our Timeshift feature is the full persistence of the Dynamics Graph including all the historic changes. This way an accurate graph for each point in time can be calculated. Especially in container based microservice environments, where containers can live only for seconds or minutes, it is important to understand what state the whole system had when a certain problem occurred.

The Timeline enables you to move seamlessly back in time, zoom into the relevant situations and investigate in detail even very complex situations.

This post will show you how to troubleshoot like a pro with Instana’s timeline.

Troubleshooting with the Instana Timeline

Opening Instana you are presented with the collapsed timeline, set on live mode:
timeline1

It shows Incidents on the first level and “ticks” every second. You can zoom in and out by either use the magnifying glasses and the slider or the “scroll” within the timeline with your mouse – if still in live it continues “to tick”.

On the left end side a “+” selector allows you to see Issues and Changes in addition to Incidents.
timeline2

Every lane of the timeline now presents you different event types.

Incidents are groups of Events and Issues related together by their dependencies.

Incidents investigation is now at your fingertip by clicking on them and visualizing all the Events that are grouped into that Incident.
timeline3

When selecting an Event in the Timeline or a component on the map the Timeline highlights the Events that are related, enabling understanding of recurring patterns and escalations:
timeline4

Jump back in time with Timeshift

The new Timeline is easily drag-able so to smoothly move back in time, but what if you have a precise timeframe to look at and you want to jump right on it?

The Timeshift lets you travel back in time.

When the “live” button of your Timeline is bright green, all metrics stream and the map shows the live state. If it is not: the map shows the state (machines and health) where the “timepicker” is placed – the exact moment is shown on the left. By clicking on the date and time on the left, you can select the moment you want to investigate from a time selector.
timeline5

The new Timeline shows with colors all the issues that were active at the moment in time selected with the Timepicker – visualizing the full context at any specific moment in the past.

With zooming in and out, dragging the timeline and selecting moments in time you are now able to move back in time and replay the behavior of all the components in your environment.

The Timeline impacts also the Dashboards that now show the data of the selected time range (marked by the left and right border of the zoomed in range).

At Instana we believe that monitoring does not mean staring at the screen and trying to catch on the fly information out of data. We do believe in understanding the health of your environment as it evolves over time, and in its powerful and meaningful visualization.
The new Instana troubleshooting capabilities are built with that concept in mind to make troubleshooting dynamic and complex applications easy.