Monitoring Performance and Availability of Applications

Monitoring Performance and Availability of Applications

The imperative for always-on enterprises and the need for consumer-facing applications to be available anytime, anywhere on any device necessitates advanced application monitoring to consistently deliver high-quality user experience. The increasing popularity of mobile and Cloud Computing have changed how applications are designed and used. Modern day applications are accessed from different platforms like phones, tablets and desktops with different operating systems, software/hardware platforms and security setups giving rising to complex integration, dependency and manageability issues. Therefore, continuous application performance monitoring is essential for smooth operations.

Business continuity and application performance are inter-dependent and any disruption in performance can cost businesses money. If an ecommerce website loads slowly, chances are the customer will swiftly move to another site to make the transaction. If it is a loyal customer, the customer may call the helpdesk to seek help, and add to the workload of the team.

Slow application performance affect customer experience and employee productivity and leads to irreparable business damage. It includes

  • Abandoned shopping carts resulting in loss of revenue
  • Loss of customers to competition
  • Dissatisfied customers give bad publicity, affecting brand reputation
  • SEO suffers as application performance is a key metric
  • Increased load on customer support, as more customers seek help

According to a survey, 98% of executives said optimal enterprise application performance is critical to achieving optimal business performance. In the backdrop of challenges modern organizations must have highly performant businesses applications. Using proper APM tools and processes organizations can gather data on operations with real-time analysis on metrics to get insights into and take preventive action; and facilitate root cause analysis in case of problems.

Benefits of APM

  • Faster resolution of IT issues as performance logs help to zero into the problem
  • Identify bottlenecks and degradation issues to optimize application performance
  • Single dashboard with historical and real-time data of application performance
  • Data to better prepare for external events

What APM Does

Traditional IT monitoring does not provide insights into user experience. Rather, it is a broad approach and provides insights into performance issues within the IT system such as capacity of the database, response time and availability of network. Monitoring with ping tests on applications, telnetting to application port for diagnosis, measuring server level metrics such as CPU, memory and disk space are not sufficient to locate bottlenecks in applications that work in distributed environments as it says nothing about the user journey.
To be able to connect the user journey with the application infrastructure IT needs insights into when, where, and why user experience is affected during application access. Visibility into why the application is slow and since when equips IT with the capability to act swiftly and rectify it; and take preventive action for application failure and business loss.

APM provides visibility into performance issues within IT systems and applications, including the rate of response to user queries. This is achieved by measuring availability, response time and behaviour of business transactions during user journey. When a user performs a digital transaction the application owner needs to know:

  • If the application is responding as it should
  • Whether all backend processes are being executed as they should
  • Which part of application architecture is causing a slow transaction
  • Whether there is an error/bug in the application code; problem in the application server or in the web front end; a slow query execution, a hotspot in the backend database, slow network, etc.

APM provides insights into volume of transactions by the application providing granular insights such as transactions per second/requests per second/ pages per second. It helps to know the speed of page load and response time for an application to return request. Specifically, APM enables to achieve visibility into the following
Digital User experience: Track user experience by identifying when application is slow, returns errors, or not available. This tracking can be proactive by stimulating user transaction or passive by monitoring user experience.
Transactions: Analyze the transaction flow through every tier of application architecture—front end, middleware and the database—to isolate the cause of slowness by testing the application during runtime. Transaction profiling helps to pinpoint the exact line of code, database query or third-party call that is taking high processing time.
Application Infrastructure: Detailed insights into application infrastructure. For example, insights into application server when the connection pool is exhausted or there is high wait time for threads or insufficient memory.
Infrastructure supporting application performance: Health and availability of infrastructure that supports application performance such as network connectivity, memory leak in the server, virtualization bottlenecks and storage hotspots.

Delivering high performance in the Cloud entails a comprehensive monitoring strategy that encompasses infrastructure and application for insights into all aspects of user experience, business transactions, application performance and infrastructure health to automate root cause analysis and simplify troubleshooting. The yields of digital transformation are transformative only when it empowers employees, users and customers to do their best.