Application Performance Engineering

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Much like electricity, APM will take the path of least resistance when entering into an organization, attracted to the area with the strongest need; lightning, as soon as it is triggered, needs to find ground. It may be brought in to help resuscitate an application that has recently become lethargic or assist the team in rehabilitating an intrinsic codebase. Once the goal is attained however, the propensity to pigeonhole APM as a point solution is high. Now contrast this with DevOps, which is moving forward with a momentum permeating IT and giving us a means to change the way we think and operate as a partner to the business. From a waterfall perspective the sprints in scrum may have tainted the stream, but DevOps disrupts the flow entirely, rerouting the way we do work. The exploration of DevOps springs from the need to keep up with the insatiable expectations fro... (more)

Application Performance Management Insights | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

A well-oiled APM solution comes from correlating bottom-up monitoring (infrastructure monitoring) with insights from top-down monitoring (real-time application monitoring) all within the context of the end-user-experience (EUE). But from what angle should we be looking at APM as it relates to IT strategy? Consider Australia for a moment. Is it a country, a continent, or an island? The answer depends upon your perspective, and, in much the same way, the unique spectrum of APM can be viewed as a framework, methodology, or platform. Understanding these attributes will help raise APM up the stack into the wheelhouse of IT Leadership for greater visibility. To complete this metaphor, think about the monitoring tools themselves as the counties, cities, or streets on which APM is built. This parallels the idea that APM has different facets to consider within its construct... (more)

Why DevOps Needs a Friend

As enterprises embrace the DevOps philosophy, and the coalescence of the Development and Operations continues, I foresee the conditions ripening to foster innovative methods of making application performance better and code deployments smoother.  To me, 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. Application Performance Management (APM) has been bred with all the right elements to give us the insights we need to see the health of our applications. Similar to your most trusted watch dog, it alerts us to anomalies when events occur, providing awareness to the environment that only they can observe. This is where APM can bridge the gap between Development and Operations, supporting the entire application lifecycle. Th... (more)

Slow Applications Are Criminal | @DevOpsSummit #APM #IoT #DevOps #Docker #Microservices

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 Peop... (more)

Java-Based Software Replaces Paper-Based Exams and Saves Trees

The company named EPractize Labs comes with an innovative product, Skill Evaluation Lab, a Java EE application that can be used for conducting any kind of online exams. This Java based application can be used in many areas like pre-employment testing, employment training, performance appraisal, employment surveys, conducting government exams, university exams, school exams, kids IQ exams, aptitude exams, psychometric exams, personality tests, conducting exams for visually challenged candidates, and much more. The great thing about Skill Evaluation Lab is that the product can also be used for conducting voice based questions. Exam managers can create voice questions directly on their desktop headphone. The voice feature emphasis online exams for Visually Challenged candidates. Note that the software uses Java technology in all places including web image editor for ... (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)

APM Fade Away? NO WAY!

Recently an article came out stating that APM was going the way of the space shuttle.  Too expensive, outdated, not needed and so on.  There were statistics given indicating that APM products were growing out of favor as well.  Balderdash! To my experience most customers don’t even use the acronym APM or what it stands for, application performance monitoring. Many enterprises have shared services, IT operations and application development groups and they all monitor or test the performance of their respective resources. Statistics are a funny thing.  Depending on when you ask someone their opinion, depends on what answer you will get.  For example, someone asks you if you like a certain magazine.  If the economy is good, your day is going well, no server problems, coffee is good, light traffic, you are going to say that the magazine is insightful, informative and yo... (more)

Will IT Operations Analytics Platforms Replace APM Suites?

Gartner recently published an important report titled "Will IT Operations Analytics Platforms Replace APM Suites?"* The report is based on Gartner client Inquiries about enterprise performance and availability strategies and these enterprises report a near-universal commitment to the idea that monitoring, performance and availability should be application-centric. At the same time the report suggests the rate at which investments in new on-premises Application Performance Monitoring (APM) technology appears to be slowing down. It attributes this to observations that enterprises have perhaps prematurely come to believe that IT operations analytics (ITOA) platforms can be deployed as a substitute for traditional APM suites. It concludes that IT operations analytics platforms are not a substitute for traditional five-dimensional APM portfolios, but the importance of an... (more)

Part 3 | Five Steps to Improve E-Commerce Performance for Increased Sales

This is the third episode of the mini-series on e-commerce performance management. Our client TescaraHats (name changed for commercial reasons), a European market leader in manufacturing customized hats, did not achieve the expected sales increase with its new e-commerce site. It offered its customers the ability to customize and order hats online instead of visiting its brick and mortar locations, but customers seemed disinterested. TescaraHats learned quickly that there is much more to an e-commerce platform than simply putting an e-commerce service online. In previous posts we showed that increasing page rank is not the only way to boost sales and that checking and improving back-end performance of your e-commerce is also critical. In this episode we show why you should not keep network load and HTTP errors in check. Avoid Unnecessary Network Load Although broad... (more)

How to Recruit the Next Generation of Load and Performance Testers

Last month, I went to my engineering school, where I graduated 15 years ago, to attend the Annual Gala. While there, I met a few young engineers who asked about my job. This raised a question: "What would make them join my team?" In the IT world, the demand for highly skilled software engineers continues to grow as application development becomes an integral part of more and more businesses around the globe. As more and more applications are highly connected and have strong SLAs and are addressing sensitive business issues, the demand for load and performance testers also grows. Companies have been using creative techniques like using Big Data, Twitter and gamification to find top tech talent, but how do you get talented young engineers to 1) be interested in load testing and 2) want to work at your company in your team? 1) Build an environment that suits Generation... (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)