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How to achieve application performance improvement in ops

Application performance improvement is not a project, but rather a continual goal for IT operations. Bolster processes, fine-tune monitoring and -- above all -- use the right tool.

Introduction

Modern, distributed applications feature significantly more complex component interactions than the legacy monoliths with which IT organizations are familiar, and virtualized infrastructures, such as cloud platforms, operate differently than physical servers. Organizations must rethink their application performance improvement methods.

The application performance management (APM) umbrella encompasses monitoring, error resolution and multiple IT and non-IT departmental responsibilities. Start with an evaluation of available APM tools, based on what your organization needs and its budget, and take into account monitoring focuses, metrics and alert preferences. Proceed with a close interrogation of your organization's processes and methodology -- who is involved and who should be.

1Make the right call on APM-

Tools for all shapes and sizes

APM options are aplenty, and organizations can struggle to suss out what capabilities and features are vital -- such as monitoring -- which are nice to have and which are irrelevant for a given app setup. These tips offer advice on what to look for in an APM tool and how to choose one.

Answer

Q: Do we need an APM tool?

A: Yes, you absolutely do. A monitoring and management tool is critical for the success of virtualized hosts and resources. Things are bound to go wrong without one. Continue Reading

Tip

Consider APM in 5 primary concepts

The key to application performance improvement is in one's approach: Set clear, defined goals and priorities for aspects such as analytics and user experience (UX). Be sure to develop a multifaceted approach. Continue Reading

Feature

App performance anomalies and where to find them

Most organizations don't exclusively run on mainframes in data centers anymore. Even organizations that still use mainframes have some presence in the cloud, and the cloud has a whole host of unique conditions that requires a new spin on APM. Continue Reading

Feature

Increase in network access brings new APM demands

The enterprise network used to be a simple, controlled virtual private network in-and-out affair, but IT admins and users alike work on so many different, uncontrolled devices. If your organization operates on a BYOD model, seek out tools that illuminate undeclared points of access to improve application performance. Continue Reading

2Beyond the tool-

Fine-tune processes and methodology

Application performance improvement goes beyond simply having the right tool to capture ops data. Learn how to direct attention to the most likely sources for a bottleneck, which team members to involve in the process and how to ensure that cloud applications float along smoothly.

Tip

Recalibrate the focus of app performance metrics

IT teams build, organize and operate applications and the resources they live on differently than the last generation of apps. To meet user expectations and demands on these new architectures, transition from traditional key performance indicators to a more UX-focused lens. Continue Reading

Tip

Tweak hardware configs and resource allocations

When applications don't run as well as expected, look at resource allocation and host health, along with other factors. After any change, monitor subsequent activity closely, and compare to historical data to guide the way to a better application. Continue Reading

Tip

Where's Waldo -- or, rather, the performance bottleneck?

Finding the source of a performance slowdown can be a frustrating Where's Waldo puzzle. Use these pointers on the most likely hiding spots to save some headaches. Continue Reading

Tip

You're all in this together

Rely on application owners to fill in knowledge gaps, and empower internal superusers to work alongside the help desk team. People with technical knowledge outside the IT team can answer peers' questions and offer insights that facilitate application performance improvement. Continue Reading

Tip

Cloud application performance midterms

When it comes to exams, you're better off if you study all the possible questions. The same goes for applications in the cloud. Test applications for performance under load and stress, as well as these three other key factors. Continue Reading

Feature

Continuous delivery runs more smoothly with APM

While it can seem like CD and APM are at odds, the process for application performance improvement can scoot leftward in the prerelease stage of the CD pipeline. It's easier to fix a problem that hasn't affected users than a problem that's already live. Continue Reading

3ABCs of APM-

A vocabulary lesson in app improvement

Here's a handful of terms you should know to approach application performance improvement.

4Keep a close eye on apps-

Comprehensive monitoring is key for APM

An organization committed to application performance improvement must be equally committed to a monitoring setup that tracks the right metrics and sends out the right alerts. It's unlikely that any tool can do these things perfectly off the shelf; these tips aid in customization and tuning.

Tip

Draw the baseline

Monitoring tools use either static or dynamic thresholds to notify IT when there's a metric out of spec. Both methods have pros and cons. Continue Reading

Tip

Distinguish a fault from a bottleneck

Admins must recognize the difference between faults and bottlenecks. Ensure monitoring data is precise and comprehensive, and be prepared to comb through layers of application and host data to find the source of an issue. Continue Reading

Feature

Smart log analysis yields stronger apps

AI-fueled log analytics and monitoring tools offer organizations a range of ways to evaluate and interpret data and boast other benefits not found in basic tools. Let the algorithms point the way to application performance improvement. Continue Reading

Tip

SNMP monitoring broadens IT's view

SNMP can track both infrastructure and application metrics at once. And because SNMP is open source and widely used, most major vendors provide the necessary tools to adopt this method. Continue Reading

Tip

Distributed apps: Attempt to catch them all

Distributed applications make IT monitoring difficult -- it's like trying to count chickens running around in the yard. Not only do microservices shift, they often disappear when inactive. Predictive analytics correlated to UX can't let IT see everything all at once but can suggest what to examine. Continue Reading

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