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In a previous post we showed how we hooked up our blog's WordPress application with the new Compuware APMaaS offering. Since WordPress is a PHP application we use PurePath for PHP to monitor it. We highlighted that we got an alert about a response time violation on some of our blog posts - which is shown in the following screenshot. Dynamic Baselining detects a significant violation of the baseline during a 4.5 hour period last night In this follow-up article I want to show you how we get to the root cause of this problem which turns out to be a third-party WordPress PHP plugin that detects Bad Requests including requests from Bots that try to put spam messages in blog comments. Step 1: See PHP Performance Hotspots For the selected time-frame, we open the Response Time Hotspot dashboard. This shows which layer of the PHP Application has the highest performance con... (more)

Defending Network Performance [#APM / @CompuwareAPM]

Defending Network Performance with Packet Level Detail My favorite war room accusation is: "It's always the network at fault!" Whether you're the one taking the blame or the one pointing the finger likely has everything to do with which seat you occupy in that war room. I suppose that comes with the territory, because at the same time there seems to be a consensus that the network is vital to understanding that holistic "Big Picture" on how application delivery is experienced by your end users. I suppose we'll have to live with those accusations, but we don't have to take the blame. Here's how you can defend yourself. The view from the network provides both context and accuracy relative to performance and availability problems in your environment. Collecting a combination of network-based performance information and data obtained from points in the application deliv... (more)

What Will the Future Look Like for Performance Monitoring Architectures?

In a previous article, I summarized that Gartner was seeing increased inquiries and spending on IT analytics platforms from buyers that traditionally purchased application performance monitoring tools. This suggested that one of Gartner's "five pillars of APM" - namely analytics, was taking center stage. Now, it seems, Gartner is going one step further in its forecast in a session at the recent Gartner Infrastructure & Operations Management Summit. I attended a session by Research VP Will Cappelli and was very interested in a Strategic Planning Assumption that was revealed. "By 2018, 25% of the Global 2000 will have deployed an ITOA platform taking data feeds from a variety of P&A systems up from 2% today and spending on IT operations analytics will account for 10% of the global spending on ITOM tools and services, up from less than 1% today"* I would conclude the f... (more)

Super Bowl Sunday 2013 – Winners, Losers, and Casualties

No matter which team you were cheering for (or if you even watched the game at all), Super Bowl Sunday 2013 was more than a football game. Since the late 1990s, Super Bowl advertisers have tried to successfully link their TV ads to their online properties, sometimes with mixed results. Even 15 years later, companies can't always predict how well their sites will perform on the big day. But unlike the early days of TV/online campaigns, the problems are more complex than a site going down under heavy traffic. This year, some of the world's premier brands spent millions of dollars on 30 second and one-minute ad blocks (as well as millions for the creation of the ads) during the Super Bowl, all of which were tied directly to online or social media campaigns. However, not all the sites successfully resisted the onslaught of traffic. The measurement results from the Comp... (more)

Balancing the Load

A question that every online application provider will face eventually is: Does my application scale? Can I add an extra 100 users and still ensure the same user experience? If the application architecture is properly designed the easiest way is to put an additional server behind the load balancer to handle more traffic. In this article we recount an incident that happened to one of our clients when the cause of poor application performance was eventually attributed to problems with the load balancing of the application servers. HTTP Server (500) Errors Go Over the Roof Around 8 am the Operations team at Rendoosia Inc. (name changed for commercial reasons) got an alert from the APM tool that one of three SharePoint servers was generating many HTTP Server (500) errors. All three servers were behind a load balancer; hence why the team decided to analyze the overall p... (more)

Optimize Front-End Web Performance to Ensure Highly Satisfying Experiences

Today's end users demand highly satisfying and interactive web experiences, such as automatically populated search suggestions and dynamic menus. To make applications more engaging, technologies like AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) have emerged. AJAX works by dynamically displaying and allowing users to interact with presented information - think of when you enter a Google search and results are produced as you type. AJAX does this by sending data to, and retrieving data from, a server asynchronously in the background, without interfering with the display and behavior of an existing page. While AJAX can make websites and web applications seem faster and more engaging, it also results in more application logic sitting in the web browser than ever before. This produces a greater impact for browsers overall on end-user experiences, which makes it critical to meas... (more)

APM Convergence: Monitoring vs. Management

APM is entering into a period of intense competition of technology and strategy with a multiplicity of vendors and viewpoints. While the nomenclature used within its space has five distinct dimensions that elucidate its meaning, the very acronym of APM is in question: Application Performance ... Monitoring vs. Management. It's strange to think that we would not normally use monitoring and management synonymously, but when used in the APM vernacular they seem to be interchangeable. This may be a visceral response, but I see the APM idiom converging on itself and becoming a matter of expectations vs. aspirations. Application Performance Monitoring is the expectation of the tool sets themselves and how to implement them. Gartner provides five dimensions that describe these technologies which are not meant to be so "prescriptive" as much as they are "descriptive" Appli... (more)

Application Transformation Defined

Application Transformation, as an industry term, is all very well and good; but it begs the inquisitive reader to question its deeper meaning and gain a little extra perspective. After all, most of us would naturally expect all applications to undergo a certain amount of "transformation" over the passage of time - and yes I am even including legacy apps in that statement. Transform to Mobile The reality we face in terms of application transformation today is our journey to mobile. Mobile-based enterprise applications are the new norm and secure migration to mobile platforms is (or at least should be) close to the top of every CIO's to-do list. At the risk of straying into industry marketing terminology, much of the rationale for this application transformation journey is found in the desire to engender greater employee productivity and "enhance the user engagement e... (more)

Why Averages Are Inadequate, and Percentiles Are Great

Anyone who ever monitored or analyzed an application uses or has used averages. They are simple to understand and calculate. We tend to ignore just how wrong the picture is that averages paint of the world. To emphasis the point let me give you a real-world example outside of the performance space that I read recently in a newspaper. The article was explaining that the average salary in a certain region in Europe was 1900 Euro's (to be clear this would be quite good in that region!). However when looking closer they found out that the majority, namely 9 out of 10 people, only earned around 1000 Euros and one would earn 10.000 (I over simplified this of course, but you get the idea). If you do the math you will see that the average of this is indeed 1900, but we can all agree that this does not represent the "average" salary as we would use the word in day to day li... (more)

Case Study: Raising ITs Credibility at Dole Fresh Fruit with APM

As Senior Director/IT Leader of Information Technology at Dole Fresh Fruit North America, I am responsible for providing consistent and reliable distribution services for our division. Dole's mission is to provide our customers with safe, healthy, high-quality products and services. To succeed, our business critical systems must be highly available and we need to quickly identify and resolve problems as they arise. When I assumed this role in March 2008, IT credibility was at an all-time low. Our internal IT user community was very frustrated with the poor stability of the applications supporting our logistics functions including transportation, product tracking and traceability from Dole farms to our distribution centers. System stability was so poor it disrupted our ability to ship products effectively. Formerly, we used and supported systems unique to each count... (more)

Compuware Partners with Hortonworks to Streamline Big Data Performance

Compuware Corporation has partnered with Hortonworks to optimize the performance of Hadoop applications on the Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP). The integration of the Compuware application performance management (APM) solution with Hortonworks Data Platform provides complete visibility and deep dive analysis into MapReduce. According to Mitch Ferguson, vice president of business development at Hortonworks, this partnership provides "unparalleled insight for developers into their code, reducing both time and effort to fix bugs or triage slow performance." Compuware APM provides visibility into NoSQL databases and Hadoop applications across hundreds or even thousands of nodes. With its patented PurePath Technology®, Compuware APM with HDP will enable customers to: Analyze job and task performance with deep tracing, allowing one-click access to the hotspot and root c... (more)