Application Performance Engineering

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Part 1 - of a two part series looking at the journey enterprise IT departments take as they increasingly seek to understand the relationships and impact of IT infrastructure performance on application performance and business services. As a product manager at Netuitive, I'm often put in a position to explain how my product works. This question usually refers not just to the nuts and bolts of the technology, but also to the more specific question: "How do I make it work?" To get to the heart of the answer, you need to understand the underpinnings of today's monitoring solutions and why most of them don't represent a complete solution. To help illustrate this, I'll look at the problem from the perspective of Fred, an operations manager for "Acmecorp." Fred is responsible for keeping Acmecorp's key E-Commerce platform, BuyThis.com, up and performing under stringent 2... (more)

Evaluating the Performance of SPDY-Enabled Web Servers

As you may already know, SPDY (pronounced "SPeeDY") is a new networking protocol introduced by Google and designed to reduce the web latency associated with HTTP. With SPDY, web pages load up to 64 percent faster than HTTP alone, according to Google. It accomplishes this by adding a session layer between HTTP and SSL that supports concurrent, interleaved streams over a single TCP connection. The initial draft of HTTP/2.0, the future of the web, is based on SPDY, which is a welcome step forward considering that HTTP/1.0 was released in 1996. SPDY holds great potential for mobile devices, for which latency is more of an issue, and the market is catching on. As evidence of this, Microsoft recently announced the next version of Internet Explorer will support the new protocol. Today, SPDY can be deployed on Apache by installing a single module (mod-spdy, the Apache SPDY... (more)

When Transaction Management Becomes a Business (Technical) Issue [#APM]

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services Transaction management is not just for technical geeks; it is very much a subject that ‘business suits' should be focused on. But should it be seen as a business issue for technologists or a technology issue for business people? Or doesn't it matter and should transaction management be a two-way street anyway? Sometimes called business transaction management or business transaction monitoring (both conveniently sitting under a BTM acronym), this is the activity of application transaction profiling and also what we also sometimes refer to as ‘user-defined' transaction profiling. For want of a formal definition: BTM has been described as that process aimed at detecting and resolving problems at the granular level of interactions between IT elements that form a business transaction (for... (more)

The Converged Application Container

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE Just about everything I do in my job points back to a construct that is a foundational part of the modern enterprise IT organization: the application server. Now, when you say ‘application server', thoughts immediately wander to Java. More specifically, folks tend to think about servers that support traditional Java EE applications and rightfully so. Over the past ten years, the predominant type of application server has been of the Java EE variety, and the industry has experienced tons of innovation in this area with more undoubtedly yet to come. But is the term ‘application server' only applicable when we are talking Java? The one-word answer to that question is ‘no'. While the strong association exists today thanks to a widely adopted programming model (widely adopted for many good reasons I should say), I cannot h... (more)

Diagnosing Stuck Transactions in Minutes

Does the following situation sound familiar? From one minute to the other, your production servers grind to a halt, terse emails are complemented by equally hectic phone calls, and the first order of business is to get back up and running. After the dust settles, you're usually left with a pile of log files and the assignment of figuring out what happened, why it happened, and what to do to keep it from happening again. A common first step is trying to reproduce what has gone wrong. More often than not, this consumes a considerable amount of time that would be better spent on actually fixing the problem. In this first blog post of a series, I will present a Step-by-Step Guide to Diagnose Stuck Transactions within minutes and show how a modern APM Solution helps to pinpoint common production problems, without spending hours on reproducing it at first. The Problem: Re... (more)

Paddling Through Murky APM Waters

It should come as no surprise that more and more organizations are focused on meeting customer service expectations, guaranteeing end-to-end business process delivery and modernizing their IT infrastructures.  But what does this mean for IT operations teams? If we approach this question using an iceburg analogy, the tip would probably be an easy observation, such as “IT operations needs to adopt a business-centric way of thinking.” But dealing with all the change that needs to occur beneath the surface of this statement is what can sink or float an organization. IT operations teams need to start breaking down the internal silos, and learn to paddle their canoe in the same direction.  They need to figure out a whole new approach to IT management with challenges that range from how best to work with emerging IT teams responsible for virtual or Cloud-based environment... (more)

Intelligent Complex Event Processing with Artificial Neural Network

In the current world, data is continuously being generated across various layers of organizations and environment due to changes in the system states or due to the occurrence of new events. These changes in the state of the existing system can happen due to the arrival of a new order request, customer service calls for complaints or feedback, changes in the company stock prices, text or multimedia messages, emails, social media posts, traffic reports, weather reports or any other kind of data. Simply producing reports using these data on a pre-defined schedule is not enough. Decision makers need real-time alerts and intelligent insight of all that is happening within and around the organization so that they may take meaningful reactive and proactive action before it is too late based on the new information being continuously generated. A powerful technique called C... (more)

Easing Up on Application Integration

Data and apps integration provider Jitterbit this week released a new version of its solution, Jitterbit 5, designed to be the glue between on-premise, cloud, social, and mobile data, Jitterbit focuses on simple yet powerful integration technologies that can be quickly and easily deployed to create integrated processes and data views. We've seen a lot of interest in light-weight, low-coding integration capabilities as more SaaS and cloud services need to be coordinated. This is now becoming even more pertinent to bringing data together from a variety of sources. Jitterbit 5 aims to raise the level of simplicity even higher with new features that streamline process integration, said the Oakland, CA company. The wizards-based approach allows non-technical users to design integration projects through a graphical, point-and-click interface. I think making more people ... (more)

Accurately Identify Impact of System Issues on End-User Response Time

Triggered by current expected load projections for our community portal, our Apps Team was tasked to run a stress on our production system to verify whether we can handle 10 times the load we currently experience on our existing infrastructure. In order to have the least impact in the event the site crumbled under the load, we decided to run the first test on a Sunday afternoon. Before we ran the test we gave our Operations Team a heads-up: they could expect significant load during a two-hour window with the potential to affect other applications that also run on the same environment. During the test, with both the Ops and Application Teams watching the live performance data, we all saw end-user response time go through the roof and the underlying infrastructure running out of resources when we hit a certain load level. What was very interesting in this exercise is t... (more)

Eating Our Own Dog Food – 2x Faster Hadoop MapReduce Jobs

For a while now I have been writing about how to analyze and optimize Hadoop jobs beyond just tweaking MapReduce options. The other day I took a look at some of our Outage Analyzer Hadoop jobs and put words into action. A simple analysis of the Outage Analyzer jobs with Compuware APM 5.5 identified three hotspots and two potential Hadoop problems in one of our biggest jobs. It took the responsible developer a couple of hours to fix it and the result is a 2x improvement overall and a 6x improvement on the Reduce part of the job. Let's see how we achieved that. About Outage Analyzer Outage Analyzer is a free service provided by Compuware that displays in real-time any availability problems with the most popular third-party content providers on the Internet. It's available at http://www.outageanalyzer.com. It uses real time analytical process technologies to do anomaly d... (more)

Make PHP Requests “Sleep” to Stop Bad Behavior. Smart or Not?

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)