Jan 18, 2024api observability

Introducing Revenium Isotopes: Leveraging eBPF to Revolutionize API Observability & Monetization

Revenium's proprietary container-native Isotopes (cnI) are state-of-the-art, eBPF-based API metering agents designed to empower individual developers and organizations to monitor API traffic transparently without requiring an API gateway, sidecar, or service mesh.

Whether working on your AI side hustle or developing software for a Fortune 100 company, APIs are the backbone of nearly every modern software interaction. However, monitoring API traffic, especially in systems that heavily utilize containers and microservices, poses significant challenges. Traditional API observability requires complex configurations with API gateways or sidecars, leading to operational overhead and increased latency. To observe the performance of their APIs, developers have told us they would prefer to "flip a switch" without deploying an API gateway or dealing with a service mesh.

Introducing Container-Native Isotopes: Monitor API Traffic without an API Gateway

Revenium's proprietary container-native Isotopes™️ (cnI) are state-of-the-art, eBPF-based API metering agents designed to empower individual developers and organizations to monitor API traffic transparently without requiring an API gateway, sidecar, or service mesh.

Here's how cnI takes API observability to the next level:

  • Transparent Monitoring: Revenium's cnI operates seamlessly, providing visibility into API traffic across containers and container hosts without needing an API gateway.
  • Minimal Overhead: With eBPF, cnI enables API traffic monitoring and metering with zero latency.
  • Ease of Integration: cnI is a small Linux binary that installs and runs with one command.
  • Universal API Metrics: cnI enables Revinium to work with your existing API gateway and service mesh landscape to provide a single platform to monitor your entire API ecosystem.

Digging Deeper Into cnI Architecture

Revenium's container-native Istope is engineered using eBPF. This revolutionary Linux kernel capability safely allows the execution of sandboxed code without loading a kernel module or changing the kernel's source code. A userland agent application enables communication between the cnI and Revenium's platform API. Within the cnI, an eBPF "shim" program offloads HTTP requests and responses to a ring buffer, which enables consumption by the cnI agent application.

cnI operation relies on two key Linux kernel technologies, XDP (eXpress Data Path) and TC (Traffic Control), to achieve high-performance, non-intrusive API monitoring:

  • Capturing API Traffic: When API requests occur in your system, cnI uses XDP and TC to capture this traffic efficiently. XDP is a high-performance data path that allows cnI to process API traffic right where it enters the network stack. TC observes egress traffic, ensuring the data capture doesn't interfere with your system's normal operations.
  • Ring Buffer Offload: cnI offloads observed API traffic data to a shared data structure known as a "ring buffer." It's helpful to think of this buffer as a circular queue; it temporarily stores the API traffic data from before processing. This way, cnI handles the data efficiently and without any loss.
  • Userland Processing: Finally, a lightweight application running in user space (outside the kernel) processes the data stored in the ring buffer. This application is resource-efficient, so the load on your system is minimal. However, despite its small footprint, it analyzes the API traffic, extracting valuable metrics and new insights to help you understand and optimize your API usage.

API Traffic Monitoring for Container Hosts

With cnI, you can monitor API traffic on a single Linux host or container or monitor across all containers on a container host. Monitoring API traffic at the container host level makes more sense since it doesn't require any modifications to Docker containers or installing an agent on each one.

cni architecture 2 (2).png

Cross-container monitoring becomes especially valuable in Kubernetes environments. When you install cnI on worker nodes in such deployments, you can adeptly monitor and analyze API traffic between pods. This capability enhances visibility into inter-pod communications and provides critical insights for optimizing overall system performance and reliability, making it an indispensable tool in modern, containerized, and cloud-native infrastructures.

Explore the Future of API Observability Today

With our container-native Isotope, Revenium is not just introducing a new product; we are shaping the future of API observability. With near-zero code installation, you now have the power to understand and optimize your entire API landscape in ways never possible before.

And, best of all, you can get started today. Create a free Revenium account, install your container-native Isotope (cnI), and use 50,000,000 free events to explore and understand the power of this newest innovation from Revenium.

John D'Emic, CTO

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