In order for a business to thrive in today’s digital market it’s critical that the website performs optimally enough so visitors and customers can get timely access to all of its products, services, and features. When shopping in a physical store visitors have certain expectations about the kind of service and treatment they’ll receive. So why should it be any less for an online shop. End-users of your site expect it to be available at anytime and on any type of device.
Today’s IT infrastructure often includes multiple tiers of applications that integrate and work with one another to deliver services to the end-users. These application layers includes such areas as your server environment (Apache, SQL, Active Directory, etc.), the databases (NoSQL, Oracle), and the various middleware components required to keep your apps running in tip-top shape. In order to manage such complexity it is necessary to monitor these applications holistically. You can’t keep tabs on each app in isolation. Being able to monitor the overall performance of these applications in harmony is key to your business bottom-line.
APM is an IT discipline that specifically focuses on the monitoring and management of software applications that also impact your website. It’s worth interjecting briefly here that a lot of debate and discussion has flowed in recent years about what the term APM really means. Some sources call it “application performance management” and others think in terms of “application performance monitoring”. For our purposes, we’ll agree that it’s a combination of both management and monitoring, and that by whatever name it’s called APM is intended to improve the business bottom-line. One source well summarizes the purpose of APM as follows: “To translate IT metrics into an End-User-Experience that provides value back to the business.”
So the real question here is how to put application monitoring to work to improve your bottom line? What best practices do you need to adopt to make this strategy work for you? Let’s take a look at a number of methods you can start implementing today to make application monitoring (and management) work to improve your business performance.
1. Avoid Website Downtime at All Costs
Any application monitoring strategy is inherently about keeping an “eagle eye” on the apps that support your website. Ultimately, it’s a fairly simple calculus; the total package of web applications need to be running optimally on your site or you’ll lose customers. For example, you’ll want to be looking at and monitoring areas such as Java/JMX, UDP/TCP, SOAP, MySQL, TomCat, servers, and of course the volume of your web traffic. The point of continuous testing, reviewing page loads, transaction management, and stress testing is to ensure you detect any problems before your customer does. If they find out first, then it’s too late. In other words, application monitoring is all about keeping your infrastructure and website running smoothly and efficiently and finding issues well enough in advance to prevent customer flight. Avoiding downtime starts with having an effective application monitoring strategy in place.
2. Make End-User Experience Monitoring Key
The consumerization of IT and the integration of BYOD throughout the enterprise in recent years has made the customer king. And this means the end-user experience has become critical. The latest figures show that if your site doesn’t do a full page load in 3 seconds or less, then your customers will leave and abandon you and head over to your competitors site to spend their money there. This is just a sample of how little patience customers will have for slow, erratic, or downed websites. End-user experience monitoring, a subset of APM, is really about getting optics on your visitors’ experience. It’s about understanding such key metrics as page views and load times, site page build performance, and users’ browser and platform performance. At the end of the day, end-user experience monitoring all boils down to giving you peace of mind, keeping your customers happy, and increasing business ROI.
3. Capture Real-time Analytics
The kinds of metrics you measure will depend on your application architecture. But in case you’re running a multi-tier web site, you’ll want to monitor the performance of each server in the system (including machine hardware and OS components). This will involve such areas as CPU, disk usage, physical memory, and network metrics. You’ll also want to monitor the actual metrics for each of your application programs, which can include webserver and database metrics. Here, you’ll want to compare the metric data against baseline readings to verify your applications are performing as expected. Again, as we’ve said time and again, the business goals here is to deliver the highest quality end user experience.
4. Mobile Application Monitoring is a Must
Everything is mobile today and it goes without saying that your business must be “mobile first” to compete. The business impacts of BYOD are significant as end users expect the same level of 24/7 performance and availability on mobile devices as they get on desktops. The desktop environment is still the framework for most monitoring efforts, but this will change; application monitoring will need to become mobile-centric. Vendors have started to offer mAPM or mobile application performance monitoring platforms to deal with the rapid changes and increasing complexity of managing business-critical applications running on mobile, virtual, and physical devices. But this is just the beginning! Gartner predicts UEM, or Unified Endpoint Management, as the future of IT device and application management when wearables, Internet of Things, and smartphones become addressed as endpoints. The bottom line is this: smaller and more dynamic form factors and device sizes will require innovative ways to ensure that APM (or mAPM!) keeps end-user experience front and center as the central business goal.
5. Leverage Monitis 24/7 Application Monitoring
As we’ve seen, application monitoring is a critical part of your business bottom-line and too important to leave to chance. So doesn’t it make sense to go with a proven leader in this market, one with a proven track record of giving enterprises fast, concise, reliable information on their infrastructure? There are lots of vendors out there vying to monitor your applications. But there’s one name you can trust for leading performance in this market. That name is Monitis. They are the elder statesmen in the industry as a cloud-based monitoring platform provider. And if you visit their site you’ll see they are truly a one stop shop for all things monitoring; websites, servers, applications, networks, as well as real user, custom, and cloud monitoring.
The Monitis application monitoring suite provides you with all the information you need about the availability and performance of your applications, servers, and databases from a single dashboard and eliminates any problems associated with user experience before they harm your business. Application monitors are available for Email Round Trip, MySQL, Log, Oracle, Tomcat and Java/JMX and they are constantly adding more. The mobile version of Monitis allows you to get the latest metrics and push notifications delivered to your Android and iPhone/iPad devices.
So when it comes to monitoring your business-critical applications, you don’t want to shortchange yourself. Get the peace of mind you deserve by entrusting your business to a proven industry leader. Go to Monitis and sign up for a free trial today and let them help boost your bottom-line. You’ll be glad you did!