Jan 18, 2024api monetization

Leveraging eBPF to Revolutionize API Monitoring & Metering

Revenium's proprietary container-native bindings (CNB) are state-of-the-art, eBPF-based metering agents designed to empower individual developers and organizations to monitor and meter 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 monitoring requires complex configurations with API gateways or sidecars, leading to operational overhead and increased latency. To observe and measure 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 Bindings: Monitor & Meter API Traffic without an API Gateway

Revenium's proprietary container-native bindings (CNB) 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 CNB takes API metering and monitoring to the next level:

  • Transparent Monitoring: Revenium's CNB operates seamlessly, providing visibility into API traffic across containers and container hosts without needing an API gateway.
  • Minimal Overhead: With eBPF, CNB enables API traffic monitoring and metering with zero latency.
  • Ease of Integration: CNB is a small Linux binary that installs and runs with one command.
  • Universal API Metrics: CNB 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 CNB Architecture

Revenium's container-native bindings are 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 CNB and Revenium platform API. Within the CNB, an eBPF "shim" program offloads HTTP requests and responses to a ring buffer, which enables consumption by the CNB agent application.

CNB 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, CNB efficiently captures them using XDP and TC. XDP is a high-performance data path that allows CNB 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: CNB 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, CNB 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 monetize your API usage.

API Traffic Monitoring for Container Hosts

With CNB, you can capture and meter 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.

Cross-container monitoring becomes especially valuable in Kubernetes environments. When you install CNB 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 bindings, Revenium is not just introducing a new product; we are shaping the future of API monetization. With near-zero code installation, you now have the power to meter and optimize your entire digital footprint in ways never possible before.

And, best of all, you can get started today. Create a free Revenium account, install your container-native binding, 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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