With its growing popularity, Docker has become synonymous with container technology. It’s an open-source platform used for building, packaging, and deploying modern containerized applications. Docker is scalable and supports automated container creation and deployment while reducing the storage overhead and increasing operational flexibility. Since Docker encapsulates applications in isolated multilayered containers, it’s imperative to monitor and manage every layer to prevent bottlenecks, optimize resource allocation, and ensure the system is performing well at every layer.
Docker monitoring tools are essential for gathering and tracking the application metrics and the corresponding infrastructure metrics to ensure the optimal performance of Docker containers running in different environments. An efficient Docker monitoring tool provides visibility across layers in the stack and detects performance bottlenecks at an early stage which helps to avoid production-level risks. Further, it allows for fine-tuning applications for improved performance proactively and ensures seamless changes and upgrades.
Let’s take a look at some of the most useful Docker monitoring tools you should evaluate before choosing the best tool to fulfill your requirements.
SolarWinds® AppOptics™ is a comprehensive cloud-based application and infrastructure monitoring solution offering seamless Docker infrastructure monitoring integration. No manual configuration is required to set up the Docker monitoring environment with AppOptics. It merely requires enabling the built-in Docker plugin and installing an agent program to collect, visualize, and analyze metrics from containers and the host machine. AppOptics provides an out-of-the-box Docker dashboard to assess an array of metrics, including CPU utilization, memory limits and utilization, network utilization, and error metrics. AppOptics also displays high-level maps and detailed views of Docker containers and relationships between services and their dependencies to evaluate application performance and identify bottlenecks quickly. Furthermore, with distributed tracing, live code profiling, and exception tracking, AppOptics helps in root cause analysis even when the application is running across multiple containers.
Datadog is a cloud-based monitoring and alerting solution offering integration with Docker to monitor containers. It helps in tracking key health metrics, including CPU, input-output, and memory usage. Customizable dashboards with easy drag-and-drop functionality allow users to represent the relevant metrics and related information effectively according to their requirements for better analysis. Further, to assist users in prompt and in-depth performance issue diagnosis, Datadog employs visualization for creating graphs based on metrics data. Users may also leverage Datadog for setting threshold-based alerts to minimize the probability of false positives and foster smart notifications.
With a single agent to capture logs, events, and metrics across all containers and corresponding hosts, Sematext is a lightweight Docker monitoring tool. Running as a single, small container on every Docker host, it automatically collects and processes data for Docker metrics. Sematext serves as a comprehensive Docker monitoring tool and offers a unified dashboard to track metrics, events, and logs to give full-stack visibility and useful container and infrastructure-related insights. It provides out-of-the-box alert templates to set up alerts for various issues such as resource thresholds breach and network errors, right away. Sematext also supports anomaly detection and provides correlations between different components of the infrastructure, containers, and applications to give a bird’s-eye view of the overall system in one place.
Prometheus is a widely used open-source Docker monitoring tool. Unlike other monitoring tools, it doesn’t install agents on the monitored containers to collect metrics data; instead, it employs a pull-based technique to scrape data from metric endpoints. Prometheus uses a group of tools called exporters to capture, aggregate, and store metrics. Users may access appropriate libraries to create custom exporters in case the available exporters don’t meet the requirements. Prometheus leverages visualization tools such as Grafana to build insightful dashboards and present metrics in terms of graphical displays for better analysis. It also facilitates creating custom alerts based on the applied alerting rules using the Alert Manager to notify issues before they turn into roadblocks. These alerts are either sent directly to the correct endpoint or displayed in the UI.
ManageEngine Applications Manager
The Docker monitoring tool offered by ManageEngine Applications Manager is also a useful tool to manage and monitor Docker containers. Applications Manager’s Docker monitor helps to track memory and CPU utilization, along with relevant network metrics via customizable dashboards. It also allows users to switch between historical data and real-time view with ease for in-depth analysis. It implements root cause analysis to detect performance bottlenecks at the application and Docker container level. It offers pre-configured templates to set threshold-based alerts to detect issues before they become broader concerns and cause downtime.
cAdvisor is an open-source container monitoring tool from Google. It offers native support for containers and provides a granular view of the Docker containers. It provides easy visualization of various metrics, including CPU, memory usage, input and output, and network utilization. Although cAdvisor is free and easy to integrate with other environments, it’s unable to provide a more in-depth insight into the historical data. It doesn’t support alerting to proactively respond to performance issues and also encounters challenges while using for the environment with more than one host.
The exhaustive list of Docker monitoring tools reinstates that irrespective of the number of Docker containers you’re running; it’s critical to monitor the system performance for optimizing application performance. A dynamic Docker monitoring solution supporting robust metric tracking, analytics, and alerting is one of the critical requirements of a DevOps team. A comprehensive docker monitoring tool such as SolarWinds AppOptics ensures faster troubleshooting, improved operations, and a better experience for the DevOps team. It facilitates full-stack docker monitoring by providing a 360-degree view of the containers in your Docker host to track the related metrics in a unified way, avoid bottlenecks, and optimize performance.