5 APM Techniques to Troubleshoot Application Slow Down in Minutes
October 27, 2014

Payal Chakravarty
IBM

Share this

Applications are getting more complex by the day. First you have the various hosting platforms that your app can span across like private cloud, public cloud, your own data center.

Second, you have applications for the web being accessed through different browsers and mobile apps being accessed from several hundred different devices and various device OSs.

Third, the same app is being accessed from around the world, 24X7.

Fourth, the number of users accessing apps have grown significantly requiring rapid scalability of the app's infrastructure.

To top it all, users, today, have very little patience to deal with poor performance.

Application Performance Management (APM) tools have evolved over the last decade to cater to this complexity and yet be able to troubleshoot application performance issues quickly. Let us look at some of the key features and visualization techniques that are enabling quicker troubleshooting:

1. End User Experience Metrics sliced by different dimensions

As an app developer or app owner, the first step to troubleshooting a performance problem is to narrow the scope of it. By comparing how long it is taking a web page to load for a user using your app through Firefox on Mac vs how long it is taking for the same web page to load for a user using Chrome on iOS, you can narrow down which browser and device to troubleshoot on. You could also compare how long the response time is for a user in California vs a user in Australia when accessing the same page and executing the same transaction. By slicing and dicing response time by various dimensions like geography, browser, device, network carrier etc isolation of problem areas have become easier.

2. Code level stack traces

For every business transaction that fails or is slow, you can find out what line of code is causing the slowdown by looking at its stack trace. APM tools today show the class name, method name and exact line of source code (e.g., SQL query, line number of code in a specific browser session trace) that led to a slow request. Further, you can see the pre- and post-code deployment patterns for your apps.

3. Transaction Topologies

Today, APM tools can automatically discover your end-to-end distributed application environment in minutes, showing you a topological view of all the components that your app depends on and hence aid visual detection of bottlenecks. A few of these tools not only show an aggregated transaction topology, but also show the detailed topological mapping for single transaction instances, capturing network hops and sub-transaction nodes to help you see where the time is spent during that instance. With the evolution of big data technologies, it is now possible to capture 100% transactions instead of sampling. This ensures you will not lose out on any key business transactions that may have failed.

4. Log analytics

Searching for errors across application stacks can be a laborious task. Earlier, while troubleshooting, operators, administrators and app owners would have to look through logs from different components independently, in silos. With integrated log analytics, you can now search for errors across log files for any component in your app stack in the context of the application. For example, you can correlate errors in your app server with an error in your database that may be impacting a transaction.

5. One pane-of-glass to view health of all components in the app stack

As opposed to looking at multiple panes of glass to see details of your application's health, today, at a glance in one UI you will be able to visualize the detailed health of all your app components. Spotting the problem area is as easy as spotting a color difference. For example, key metrics — like Garbage collection statistics from your code's runtime, memory usage of your VM, space utilization of your database server, bandwidth utilization of your network, http request response times of your web requests — can all be seen in one user interface.

With the evolution of big data, improved algorithms for search and correlation, smart dashboards/visualization and diagnostic capabilities, APM tools have matured to provide insights that you could never have before, thereby cutting troubleshooting time from days to minutes.

Payal Chakravarty is Senior Product Manager for IBM Application Performance Management.

Share this

The Latest

June 27, 2017

In today's everchanging IT industry, network engineers face a slew of challenges when it comes to network management. As networks continue to grow and become more complex, many IT professionals struggle to get a grasp on key workflows in which network engineers still rely on manual processes, including network documentation, troubleshooting, change management and cybersecurity ...

June 26, 2017

Many organizations are struggling to resolve customer-impacting incidents quickly enough to preserve brand loyalty and revenue, according to PagerDuty's recent State of Digital Operations Report ...

June 23, 2017

"Become the Automator, Not the Automated." While it's a simple enough phrase, it speaks directly to how today's organizations and IT teams must innovate to remain competitive. A critical aspect of innovation is acknowledging the digital transformation of businesses. The move to digitalization enables organizations to more effectively unlock the power of information technology (IT) to fuel and accelerate business innovation. It is a competitive weapon and a survival imperative ...

June 22, 2017

Executives in the US and Europe now place broad trust in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems, designed to protect organizations from more dynamic pernicious cyber threats, according to Radware's 2017 Executive Application & Network Security Survey ....

June 21, 2017

While IT service management (ITSM) has too often been viewed by the industry as an area of reactive management with fading process efficiencies and legacy concerns, a new study by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) reveals that, in many organizations, ITSM is becoming a hub of innovation ...

June 20, 2017

Cloud is quickly becoming the new normal. The challenge for organizations is that increased cloud usage means increased complexity, often leading to a kind of infrastructure "blind spot." So how do companies break the blind spot and get back on track? ...

June 19, 2017

Hybrid IT is becoming a standard enterprise model, but there’s no single playbook to get there, according to a new report by Dimension Data entitled The Success Factors for Managing Hybrid IT ...

June 16, 2017

Any mobile app developer will tell you that one of the greatest challenges in monetizing their apps through video ads isn't finding the right demand or knowing when to run the videos; it's figuring out how to present video ads without slowing down their apps ...

June 15, 2017

40 percent of UK retail websites experience downtime during seasonal peaks, according to a recent study by Cogeco Peer 1 ...

June 14, 2017

Predictive analytics is a popular ITOA technology that you can leverage to improve your business by leaps and bounds. Predictive analytics analyzes relationships among various data points to predict behavioral trends, growth opportunities and risks, which can add critical value to your business. Here are a few questions to help you decide if predictive analytics is right for your business ...