The Cloud and SaaS are growing more and more dominant over traditional in-house IT infrastructure for businesses, and developers too are becoming more and more focused on Web-based applications.
This gradually occurring mega-shift is bringing other changes with it in its wake, and one of these is the growing importance of Web application monitoring. As more and more apps are run via SaaS, the key task becomes monitoring them for key performance metrics.
Don’t skimp on or neglect monitoring only to find out about a problem as its devastating results suddenly pop up on your screen, leaving you dumbfounded and confused with a gaping expression on your face. Instead, consider these key areas of application monitoring well in advance:
Debugging Early and Easily
Developers, especially those who are using Web application monitoring tools, know how frustrating trying to locate bugs and performance problems quickly and easily can be. Enter Retrace. Retrace helps you rapidly “retrace” your coding steps to locate and eliminate “monkey wrenches” that somehow sneaked into your perfect coding job. This kind of capability is essential to coding correction efficiency and assists you in ways very distinct from most other Web app monitoring tools.
Know the Metrics and Set Up Alerts
There are numerous metrics that help you gauge the performance level of your website or applications. Some of the most important among them include:
- The Apdex user satisfaction score
- Average response times
- Error message rates
- Request rate (measures your traffic bulk)
- App availability rate
- App & server CPU usage
- Application count instances
You have to understand what are acceptable target goals for each metric and be familiar with the dynamics of each metric so you know what actions to take in order to improve them. Also, there are many other metrics besides those listed, of course, so that’s a major job in itself.
Next, there need to be reasonable, intelligent alerts set up for when a metric is too far off or when a specific problem begins to occur. Your alerts need to take you immediately back to the dashboard and then feed you sufficient context to quickly understand the problem.
No one can simply sit around and monitor all day long, so alerts are critical: they allow you to focus on other things and then rush back to monitoring and correction tasks when truly necessary.
Focus on High CPU Usage Times
Problems with your applications and servers can potentially crop up any time, but you can almost be sure to expect some difficulties at extreme, peak CPU usage points. That’s why almost all Web application monitoring tools will track CPU usage and send you alerts when it gets too high.
You need to track CPU usage both per server and your total aggregate CPU usage across all deployed instances of your apps. If you know there are heavy-traffic times of day and days of the week, that’s the time to go right to monitoring CPU and other metrics even before an alert “taps your shoulder.”
How to Manage Auto-Scaling
Another aspect of application monitoring that is sometimes overlooked is managing your auto-scaling. Setting up auto-scale allows your apps to meet heavier demand at peak traffic points but saves you money during traffic low-ebbs.
But auto-scaling can “hide” your CPU numbers so you never notice them getting high. At up-scaling points, therefore, you need to pay extra attention to your number of server and application instances. If you don’t, you might see performance challenges plus a very high hosting bill!
In today’s “Cloudy” business environment, and with so many different apps all running at once on multiple servers, your Web-app monitoring will be one of the most important tasks to undertake. Learning the metrics, best practices, and ins and outs of application monitoring will greatly help you in getting the most out of your all-important business apps!