re:Invent 2016 – AWS Gives Developers In-Depth Debugging With X-Ray Amazon Web Services (AWS), this week revealed a preview of a new service that provides developers with a detailed map to their applications’ internals, allowing them to better troubleshoot. Amazon.com’s Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels unveiled AWS X-Ray at his re-Invent keynote in Las Vegas. He called it “one the coolest releases I could think of.” X-Ray provides developers with a visual interface that allows them to debug and analyze distributed applications. Developers can perform request-by-request analysis of their applications. Data is compiled into a visual “service diagram” that allows them to easily see the connections between their components and identify any errors. Vogels says it provides a deeper look into an application’s process than traditional metrics. X-Ray allows developers to “dive into the application to see how the components are working together,” he explained. “You can visualize call graphs and see where performance bottlenecks are. You can also pinpoint specific services that might be causing you problems.” Amazon’s CTO Werner Vogels announced the AWS X-Ray service during re:Invent on Wednesday. AWS evangelist Jeff Barr explained that X-Ray captures trace data from code running in EC2 instances (including ECS container), AWS Elastic Beanstalk and Amazon API Gateway. It implements follow the thread tracing by adding an HTTP Header (including a unique ID), to requests that don’t already have one. The header is then passed along to additional request handler tiers. Each point’s data is stored as a chunk in JSON data. Segments are units of work. They include request and response timings, as well as optional sub-segments which represent smaller work units (down down to lines of code, if the appropriate instrumentation is used). A statistically meaningful portion of the segments is routed to XRay (a daemon process that handles this on EC2 instances, inside of containers), where it is assembled into traces (groups or segments that share a common ID). The segments are then processed to create service graphs which visually show the relationship between services. X-Ray previews are available for those who wish to try it. More information from reInvent 2016.