ClusterHQ brings visual monitoring to Docker storage volumes


Storage is emerging as a key flashpoint for the Docker ecosystem. Merely hours after another startup launched its own spin on the technology ClusterHQ Inc. is rolling out a new service that offers to complement its volume management tool for containers with a hosted monitoring console. It’s promising to make finding technical problems in large deployments much simpler and thereby faster than before.

Flocker, as the company refers to its framework, has until now relied exclusively on a homegrown logging system called Elliot to track malfunctions. Its nested output format places a deliberate focus on readability, allowing administrators to easily trace a problem to the originating change by jumping to the top of an error message, but they are still forced to work with raw telemetry at the end of the day. That requires using third party software like Elastic Inc.’s Kibana data visualization engine in large environments that generate too many operational metrics to sift through by hand.

ClusterHQ Volume Hub offers a visual alternative that organizes all the Flocker-managed storage volumes attached to a Docker cluster in a neat list that can be searched and filtered based on various attributes, including operational status. Administrators are thus able to quickly look up malfunctioning instances without having to maintain their own custom monitoring mechanisms.

Downtime mitigation doesn’t end at merely troubleshooting problems once they manifest, however. The task of preventing a Docker cluster from running into trouble starts several steps earlier during the development of new updates, which ClusterHQ hopes to streamline with a new command version control tool introduced in conjunction with the monitoring service. Dvol allows developers to quickly create copies of a storage volume for testing purposes and iron out bugs before they have a chance to cause trouble in the production environment.

Both of the solutions will become available starting next week at no charge. However, it’s not out of the question that at least some of the features the startup is presumably planning to add to ClusterHQ Volume Manager over time will require a paid subscription, especially once interest in Flocker starts spreading beyond small-time developers to the corporate crowd.

Photo via Andi Graf