Topic: Defining the layer 7 monitoring and switching

So many applications are monitoring vendors performance  after adding Layer 7 (or application layer) inspection. Without layer 7 gateway, you cannot do network-based APM without it. However, it takes more than just layer 7 monitoring to give the application operations teams a complete visibility, which they need into an application and the transactions performance.

What is layer 7 monitoring

Layer 7 gateway is responsible for managing and securing the communication between applications. This communication can be achieved by the passing messages. Therefore, after analyzing the messages, you can have a lot of ideas about how the applications are working and behaving. It is possible even if you do not know anything about the internals process of the applications. This is the root of an effective network-based approach to APM. Everything you can get under the layer 7 policy manager user manual.

Step 1:  Reconstructing the exchanges between servers

You can monitor the message flow between applications for the multiple protocols. This is how the Layer 7 monitoring works. To do this, your system has to recognize various other application messages, which are present on the network and also the syntaxes, which is used to structure the information in the form of messages.

Basically, it has to reassemble messages like-

  • Taking into account duplicates.
  • Knowing the missing parts.
  • Sequencing the messages, then tear apart the messages to get important information by parsing, or using regex, or so.

Step 2:  Reconstructing the individual end-to-end transactions

You can use all the information from the first step to re-construct the transactions and to monitor Layer 7. To do this, the system has to compare the messages against a set of some semantic models for each protocol such as taking into account timings, finding errors, etc. Then it has to compare the single link transactions against another set of the semantic models to pull a multi-link transaction together.

In case you have a small set of applications, which are running on dedicated infrastructure, and you are not interested in end user service levels, you need Layer 7 monitoring for minimum time only.  If you have a large set of applications, and you run multiple applications on some shared infrastructure or virtual environments or are accountable to transaction SLAs, you have to go for Layer 7.

Step 3: Make sure each API is secure and governed

With a few simple steps, you can monitor the secure APIs with the policies; you can manage client access, the group APIs as products, and also monitor and analyze the traffic. No matter where you have hosted the APIs and microservices, and which technologies they run on, you can still manage all these from one place only.

Here is what you can do with this:

  • Unlock the applications, data, and the microservices with a Layer 7 API gateway.
  • Apply the prebuilt or custom security policies at runtime with no downtime.
  • Proxy existing SOAP services or you can create new APIs from OAS and RAML definitions.
  • Provision access across the individual clients or the entire teams with OAuth and SAML.
  • You can use a service mesh if you want to secure and govern the microservices regardless of where they have been hosted.
  • Gain an insight into the performance of all APIs, track the usage, and identify the errors.

Layer 7 switching technology

 A Layer 7 switch is kind of a  network device, which is integrated with the capabilities  of routing and switching. The switching technology can pass the traffic and cal also make the forwarding and routing decisions at Layer 2 speed. However, it uses information from the Layer 7 or application layer.