Slow Applications Are Criminal
May 07, 2015

Larry Dragich
Technology Executive

Share this

In the world of Application Performance Management (APM) it is always better to enlist more than one entity to help solve the mystery of performance problems.

It's kind of like arriving at the scene of the crime on foreign soil, being blindfolded, shoved out the door, and then asked to help solve the injustice without any insight. All you can do is begin by asking people in the vicinity, providing you speak their language, for information on what they have seen (i.e. end-user-experience).

Gathering facts related to a crime is essential, and can be likened to utilizing an APM solution for solving application performance problems. The more information about an application’s behavior that you can obtain, along with understanding its idiosyncrasies within the environment, the more likely you will be able to pinpoint root causes of performance issues.

The Three People You Need

Wouldn't it be helpful if there was an eye witness you could interview, a watchman who was on duty during the time of the incident, and an agent you could hire to translate the native tongue and provide insight into the culture?

In much the same way, a smart APM strategy enlists the help from these three entities: the Witness, the Watchman, and the Agent. You start by listening to the testimony from the eye witness (aka. wire data), collecting the observations from the watchman (aka. web robots), and analyzing details from the agent (aka. code level instrumentation).

The Witness

Passive monitoring, wire-data analytics

The Witness reports what they see within their field of vision, (aka. passive monitoring, wire-data analytics). The Witness is watching everything in their purview and sees things as they happen, which corresponds to what is coming across "the wire" in front of them.

The Witness will tell you how many people were involved, if anyone was injured, and what time the event occurred, (e.g. user names, packet loss, timelines, etc.). She can tell you what doors the people went through, how wide the aisles were, and how fast people were traveling, (e.g. network port listeners, realized bandwidth, round-trip-time, etc.).

The Watchman

Active monitoring - synthetic transactions

The Watchman (aka. web robot) is actively checking and is always on patrol, methodically taking the same path every time. He will tell you what doors are locked and monitor the ones that are open, collecting measurements along the way on how long it takes to complete his rounds, (i.e. synthetic transactions).

The Watchman will report the status of the rooms and buildings on his patrol and will note if anything happens to him along the way, (e.g. application availability, transaction errors, timeouts, etc.).

The Agent

Application code instrumentation

The Agent you hire is critical for solving the crime within the territory you're operating in. The Agent will watch activity from specific vantage points throughout the environment and report back his findings. It's crucial he speaks the local language, (e.g. Java, .Net, PHP) and can easily translate for you.

His approach will be to deploy probes on rooftops and inside the buildings for monitoring all conversations and actions in the environment, (aka. application code instrumentation). He will also tap the communication systems, (i.e. script injection) when appropriate and capture specific measurements from each conversation and record them.   

Going from Red to Green

Identifying an application that has gone catatonic is one thing, but assessing the insidious slow performance of a complex multi-tiered application and fixing it, can be very time consuming and costly. Enlisting all three entities described above to assist is a thoughtful strategy for any IT Leader to consider.

Based on eye witness testimony, the forensics collected, and the conversations recorded, you will be well on your way to providing an accurate account of what has transpired and why, (i.e. root cause analysis).

Conclusion

Remember, the end-user is the supreme judge in this case and if performance is chronically slow, your sentence could be harsh. Either directly by inundating you with complaints creating bad press or indirectly by abandoning your site in favor of one that is much faster and more intuitive to use.

Embracing a smart but simple APM Methodology within your environment may be the only thing that exonerates you when the verdict for your slow application is "guilty as charged."

Larry Dragich is a Technology Executive and Founder of the APM Strategies Group on LinkedIn
Share this

The Latest

September 19, 2019

You must dive into various aspects or themes of services so that you can gauge authentic user experience. There are usually five main themes that the customer thinks of when experiencing a service ...

September 18, 2019

Service desks teams use internally focused performance-based metrics more than many might think. These metrics are essential and remain relevant, but they do not provide any insight into the user experience. To gain actual insight into user satisfaction, you need to change your metrics. The question becomes: How do I efficiently change my metrics? Then, how do you best go about it? ...

September 17, 2019

The skills gap is a very real issue impacting today's IT professionals. In preparation for IT Pro Day 2019, celebrated on September 17, 2019, SolarWinds explored this skills gap by surveying technology professionals around the world to understand their needs and how organizations are addressing these needs ...

September 16, 2019

Top performing organizations (TPOs) in managing IT Operations are experiencing significant operational and business benefits such as 5.9x shorter average Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) per incident as compared to all other organizations, according to a new market study from Digital Enterprise Journal ...

September 12, 2019

Multichannel marketers report that mobile-friendly websites have emerged as a dominant engagement channel for their brands, according to Gartner. However, Gartner research has found that too many organizations build their mobile websites without accurate knowledge about, or regard for, their customer's mobile preferences ...

September 11, 2019

Do you get excited when you discover a new service from one of the top three public clouds or a new public cloud provider? I do. But every time you feel excited about new cloud offerings, you should also feel a twinge of fear. Because in the tech world, each time we introduce something new we also add a new point of failure for our application and potentially a service we are stuck with. This is why thinking about the long-tail cloud for your organization is important ...

September 10, 2019

A solid start to migration can be approached three ways — all of which are ladder up to adopting a Software Intelligence strategy ...

September 09, 2019

Many aren't doing the due diligence needed to properly assess and facilitate a move of applications to the cloud. This is according to the recent 2019 Cloud Migration Report which revealed half of IT leaders at banks, insurance and telecommunications companies do not conduct adequate risk assessments prior to moving apps over to the cloud. Essentially, they are going in blind and expecting everything to turn out ok. Spoiler alert: It doesn't ...

September 05, 2019

Research conducted by Aite Group uncovered more than 80 global eCommerce sites that were actively being compromised by Magecart groups, according to a new report, In Plain Sight II: On the Trail of Magecart ...

September 04, 2019

In this blog, I'd like to expand beyond the TAP and look at the role Packet Brokers play in an organization's visibility architecture. Here are 5 common mistakes that are made when deploying Packet Brokers, and how to avoid them ...