All about NexClipper’s observability architecture

What is NexClipper?

NexClipper is an OSS-based (i.e. Prometheus) observability solution, providing a metric dashboard and log/trace explore features as main functions to support responsive resolution activities. Easy installation, operation automation, and continuous expansion of exporters for free guarantee low operation cost. Let’s take a deep dive into NexClipper’s application architecture below!

Figure 1. Application architecture of NexClipper

NexClipper’s server consists of the following intuitive components: Guided Dashboard, Alert Hub, Incident Management, Group/User/Channel Management, Operation Management & Automation, and Billing & Payment Management. In addition, NexClipper’s OSS, Klevr Server, is installed.

NexClipper provides a script to install Klevr and Provbee Agent on the node where Kubernetes is installed and is a target to monitor.

After executing the script on the node, users are able to run the dashboard immediately by installing and setting up OSS projects, such as Prometheus, Grafana, and more.

ExporterHub, another OSS project by NexClipper, helps users to install additional exporters for services – not only monitoring metrics but also curated alert rules and Grafana dashboard.

In case the monitoring target is bare-metal or a virtual machine without Kubernetes, then K3s – a light weight Kubernetes – is installed to manage monitoring-related solutions and exporters.

Key application stacks

Proven OSS projects

NexClipper consists of best-in-class OSS projects that have been proven in their respective field:

  • Prometheus is an open-source monitoring solution and graduate project of CNCF that is widely used in the cloud-native industry and the Kubernetes ecosystem.
  • Grafana is a de-facto standard for open-source monitoring, offering customizable dashboards with visualization tools as well as support for a wide range of databases.
  • Grafana Loki & Tempo are proven tools to store and manage logs and trace with scales.
  • OpenTelemetry provides a single, open-source standard and set of technologies to capture and export traces from the cloud-native applications and infrastructure of users.
  • In addition, MetricArk (a metric API), Klevr/Provbee (for distributed resource management), ExporterHub (a curated exporter hub), and Webstork (for web tunneling with Nginx), are NexClipper OSS that are making up for current shortcomings of open source technology to improve user experiences and efficiency.

True to the spirit of the open-source community, NexClipper does not lock you in: All OSS components of the architecture are installed and configured on the user’s system, so that everything can be operated even if stopping the NexClipper subscription at some point.

Long-term storage

NexClipper uses Promscale for the long-term storage of Prometheus. Promscale is optimized for time-series metrics management and passed the PromQL compatibility test conducted by Prolabs with 100 %. In the future, NexClipper will add more options so that users can select their preferred long-term storage.

Log and trace

To identify the root-cause of incidents – the core goal of observability – NexClipper helps users to collect and analyze application logs using Loki. It further utilizes OpenTelemetry and Tempo to enable trace collection and analysis between distributed microservices. For log collection, users can install a log processor, such as Promtail or Fluentbit, to feed the logs to Loki. In a similar manner, in order to collect traces, users can create and feed trace data though OpenTelemetry Library in microservices. The Trace_id for linking log and trace is already set by NexClipper and with the “Explore” option in Grafana, users can easily analyze the correlation between log and trace. (For a detailed guide on how to create and use logs and traces in NexClipper, please refer to the NexClipper Document Page.

Figure 2. Detailed architecture of log & trace in NexClipper

MetricOps for Alert Hub, Incident Management, and Group/User/Channel Management

NexClipper’s observability provides more sophisticated and intelligent alerts in order to ensure practical help when it comes to problem solving. This includes a 360-degree view of incidents, and ultimately will include suggestions for solutions. Facts and triage-related histories for resolving related incidents are kept based on metrics, and allow for appropriate information when it comes to solving future issues.

By adding a DevOps toolchain solution in the future, NexClipper plans to provide problem solving templates (such as rollback automation and node or pod restart) so that incidents can be resolved even more quickly.

Figure 3. Incident management

ExporterHub (http://exporterhub.io)

Based on continuous review and curation, NexClipper’s OSS ExporterHub provides information about best-practice exporters for users and communities. Among over 10,000 exporters on Github, ExporterHub selects qualified exporters and provides them through continuous curation with an introduction to key metrics, a Helm chart for installation, the alert manager configuration, as well as Grafana dashboard JSON and screen shots. NexClipper users can automate the installation of corresponding exporters, the alert configurations, and the Grafana dashboard directly via the user interface.

Guided Dashboard with Grafana

The observability architecture includes NexClipper’s dashboards in connection with Grafana’s dashboards, in order to provide almost a guided tour via NexClipper dashboards while maximizing the OSS advantages of Grafana. NexClipper’s guided dashboards provide a bird-eye view on system topology with health status information so that users can see everything that is happening at a glance. Further, a hierarchical list and the status of nodes and microservices under a cluster are displayed. Detailed monitoring can then be done with a link to open the Grafana dashboard.

Figure 4. Guided Dashboard

Distributed cloud resource management with Klevr and ProvBee

Klevr and Provbee are responsible for remotely managing distributed cloud computing resources. This function is essential for the low-cost and error-free management of distributed IT resources in cloud-native environments. Installation, upgrade, and continuous operation of NexClipper are automatically performed through a predefined service catalog and can be executed regardless of the type and size of the target.

NexClipper’s open beta service to launch October 2021

This article briefly introduced the various application stacks of NexClipper – however, nothing compares to testing those features yourself! The free beta service of NexClipper will open in October 2021 and we invite you to jump onboard and try our observability solution by visiting https://nexclipper.io.

In case you are attending KubeCon + CloudNativeCon North America from October 11 to 15 in Los Angeles, come and join us at booth SU13. Our engineers will be available to discuss NexClipper’s features and demo the solution for you.

Let’s sail the vast cloud-native sea together with NexClipper – we will definitely guide you to your destination!

If you would like to discuss more about this topic, please contact support@nexclipper.io