Application Performance Engineering

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The tangled web of applications within international organizations is getting more and more complex, putting strain on the IT department and stunting digital transformation. This comes from a study of over 1,000 CIOs and senior IT decision makers by Capgemini, a provider of consulting, technology, and outsourcing services. According to the report released today, over the last three years, the number of IT decision makers who believe their business has more applications than it needs has increased from just over a third (34 percent) to nearly half (48 percent). Just 37 percent believe the majority of their applications are mission critical. Nearly three quarters (70 percent) believe at least a fifth of their company’s applications share similar functionality and could be consolidated, and a further 53 percent believe a fifth should be retired or replaced. Apps bloa... (more)

What Type of Traffic or Devices Can Be Load Balanced?

It is important to have a familiarity with the OSI 7 layer stack model when considering what type of traffic or devices can be load balanced. This knowledge is important because load balancing of traffic and, for that matter, devices is normally performed at Layer 2 (Data), Layer 4 (Transport) and Layer 7 (Application). It is also important to consider what information you require from your load balancers. For example, a business may need a health check on the performance of servers and applications, and/or information about server loading levels together with the ability to use load balancers to optimize the bandwidth that is available. If you use an ADSL router at home you may discover that you are already experiencing the benefits of load balancing (multiplexing) without even knowing it. The better ADSL routers load balance according to the applications that are... (more)

Cloud Computing Performance

"The cloud (whether public or private) is a strong driver of Big Data," noted Michael Kopp, a technology strategist at Compuware, in this exclusive Q&A with Cloud Expo Conference Chair Jeremy Geelan. "A Cisco survey said that 4 out of 5 IT professionals stated that ‘all or some Big Data projects will require cloud computing capabilities.'" Cloud Computing Journal: The move to cloud isn't about saving money, it is about saving time - Agree or disagree? Michael Kopp: Agree - The move to cloud is about faster go-to-market, more flexibility, more agility and faster deployments. That being said Cloud costs can easily explode if not monitored and if applications are not specifically tuned toward cloud-based cost structures Cloud Computing Journal: How should organizations tackle their regulatory and compliance concerns in the cloud? Who should they be asking / trusting fo... (more)

Advanced Performance Analysis

Just in time for our speaking session at SenchaCon 2013 we are happy to announce the latest version of Compuware APM/dynaTrace AJAX Edition. Version 4.2 now supports the latest versions of Firefox (FF 21 & FF 22). Download the latest version from ourAJAX Edition website. SenchaCon 2013 Session Preview If you happen to be at SenchaCon 2013 then consider checking out our session. I will show you how to best leverage the AJAX Edition to analyze and optimize Page Load as well User Interaction times of modern web applications for both Internet Explorer as well as Firefox. We start by giving new AJAX Edition users a brief introduction on the core functionality but will then mainly talk about advanced features and Best Practices on both browser-side performance but also the impact that modern browser technologies have on the overall application performance - especially unde... (more)

A Discussion on Top Performance Problems for Hadoop and Cassandra

In the last couple of weeks my colleagues and I attended the Hadoop and Cassandra Summits in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was rewarding to talk to so many experienced Big Data technologists in such a short time frame - thanks to our partners DataStax and Hortonworks for hosting these great events. It was also great to see that performance is becoming an important topic in the community at large. We got a lot of feedback on typical Big Data performance issues and were surprised by the performance related challenges that were discussed. The practitioners here were definitely no novices, and the usual high-level generic patterns and basic cluster monitoring approaches were not on the hot list. Instead we found more advanced problem patterns - for both Hadoop and Cassandra. I've compiled a list of the most interesting and most common issues for Hadoop and Cassandra ... (more)

Case Study: Too Fast for the User

I just heard an interesting story from Runtastic, who is one of our Mobile Real User Monitoring customers. Runtastic's main mobile app allows their users to track their sport activities such as running, biking, hiking or skiing. They had a user complaining about too high speed. He didn't actually complain about the performance of the app but instead complained about his average speed during his workout as calculated by the app. After his one hour biking session, the app showed the he covered a distance of 490 km - that would probably be a world record and give him the yellow shirt in a small French bicycling event. What went wrong on the mobile device? After a short brainstorming session, the developers came up with the following three potential root causes for this bug: Bad GPS coordinates Problems with the calculation of the distance in the app code In correct v... (more)

Deep Insight and Collaboration in the Cloud: A Customer Story

Recently, one of our customers, let's call him PointInFact, had a very typical problem. After deploying a new version of its software, some user requests degraded horribly. Requests that should have taken half a second took up to a minute. Interestingly, the PointInFact team runs a multi-tenant SaaS solution in the AWS Cloud and relies heavily on cloud services. This reliance makes User Experience Management and fault domain isolation very challenging. Back Story: Application Running in the AWS Cloud PointInFact runs a SaaS service. Internally this results in a multi-tenant service where each customer has his own instance of the application he subscribes to. All of these applications and services are hosted in Amazon's EC2 Cloud where they dynamically create new application environments and offload some functionality to AWS by using the provided services. As a SaaS ... (more)

The Butterfly Effect Within IT

The "Butterfly Effect" theoretically describes a hurricane's formation being contingent on whether or not a distant butterfly had flapped its wings weeks before. This highlights a sensitive dependence on environmental conditions where a small change at one place (Dev Env) can result in large differences to a later state (Production). Consider the possibility that a small innocuous code change could go undetected, promoted through Development & QA, and then have catastrophic effects on performance once it reaches production. The environmental variants need to be minimized and closely monitored to prevent the anomalous behavior. Depending on transaction volume and performance characteristics there will be a certain level of noise that will need to be squelched to a volume level that can be analyzed. This is the precipice where APM intersects Capacity Management and a... (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)

How Workstation Hardware Problems Can Affect SAP Performance Perception

Introducing SAP is a cost that makes everyone very cautious about the return on this investment. Performance problems with SAP delivery can quickly propagate to seriously affect business operations and lead to tedious war room scenarios. End-user complaints will usually point towards the SAP team, the SAP team will blame the network, and IT operations team will fight back. But what if the root cause of the problem is something altogether different. The inability to quickly determine the root cause of the performance problem often leads to war room scenarios, especially when the money invested in failing applications comes from public funds. Our client, Nimrod, a country-wide government agency from Republic of Razkavia (names changed for commercial reasons) made a decision to implement its key applications based on the SAP infrastructure. When employees from Rosecoast... (more)

Your Next Move During an IT Postmortem Review

Your Next Move During an IT Postmortem Review Can a postmortem review help foster a curiosity for innovative possibilities to make application performance better? Blue-sky thinkers may not want to deal with the myriad of details on how to manage the events being generated operationally, but could learn something from this exercise. Consider the major system failures in your organization over the last 12 to 18 months. What if you had a system or process in place to capture those failures and mitigate them from a proactive standpoint preventing them from reoccurring? How much better off would you be if you could avoid the proverbial "Groundhog Day" with system outages? The argument that system monitoring is just a nice to have, and not really a core requirement for operational readiness, dissipates quickly when a critical application goes down with no warning. Startin... (more)