Rookout now complements its mission of shift-left observability. After metrics, traces and logs, it offers smart snapshots within its developer-first platform.

Rookout is one of the companies we visit during the recent IT Press Tour in Israel. The company was founded in late 2017. Since then, it has grown into an organization with 45 FTE’s. We visit the company in Tel Aviv, however, there is also a location in the United States. During our visit, we engage in conversation with CEO Shahar Fogel and CTO Liran Haimovitch.

Shift-left developers workflows

The gentlemen had experience in software development and security before founding Rookout. The shift-left security movement also comes from those fields, where they see added value in taking more account of incorporating security throughout the software development lifecycle. This is a somewhat different approach than how people traditionally dealt with secure software delivery, when security was considered much more afterwards.

Of course, there are several technologies on the market that now help shift-left. What makes Rookout different is that it is very much focused on shift-left observability. It gives developers and DevOps engineers direct insights into cloud-native applications.

In doing so, Rookout sees observability in cloud architecture becoming more crucial in the coming years. This comes as the adoption of microservices, containers, dynamic orchestration and DevOps technologies grows. Fogel here refers to a prediction by IDC. The analyst firm expects that next year 70 percent of all apps will be production-grade cloud-native apps. Compared to 2020, that’s substantial progress, when one in 10 apps will still be production-grade cloud-native apps.

Major challenges that Fogel and Haimovitch say arise from cloud-native transformation are troubleshooting and debugging. That’s where the Rookout platform comes in, by simplifying the debugging process of modern software. Developers can use the platform to debug code in production environments. They don’t have to modify the code or re-implement software. For this purpose, the platform has a live debugger, Kubernetes debugger and serveless debugger.

The pillars of observability

Until recently, Rookout has focused primarily on three observability issues. These were metrics, traces and logs. On April 3, functionality for smart snapshots has been added. According to Fogel and Haimovitch, this move completes observability.

Looking at the pillar at the left of the picture, metrics, Rookout provides the ability to measure application responses live. Developers learn to use the metrics to understand what is happening in the code. This “on-demand, at any point in the code, in any environment.” Developers gain insight into application performance for troubleshooting across platforms and environments. There is also support for analyzing statistics and lines of code collaboratively.

The second pillar is called traces, which means providing a timeline containing transactional information. By displaying debug snapshots alongside application trace information, debugging and troubleshooting should be easier. It allows developers to better figure out root causes.

For the last traditional Rookout pillar, the platform focuses on logs, which contain useful information. Rookout wants to make the amount of information in production logs more accessible with its platform. Largely, that simplification is to be achieved by dynamically switching between “application’s logging levels, log pipelining, log throughput tracking, and text and context based filtering.”

Deep insights into code

With smart snapshots, Rookout’s platform has now expanded and become a lot more complete. In doing so, it introduced the fourth pillar of observability. “We’ve been hearing for years about the three pillars of observability. Snapshots are the next level for those moments when something goes very wrong and metrics and logs don’t provide enough context for developers. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a Snapshot is worth a thousand log lines,” Haimovitch explains.

According to Rookout, snapshots can save countless hours of debugging after a major incident or highly unexpected event. Therefore, “Smart Snapshots provide a streamlined way to capture code-level insights for business-critical applications without any manual effort from the developer. These are invaluable when running tests and teams need a quick way to understand why a specific test failed.”

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