In the Cloud, you have to trust your instruments...

Michael Kopp

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Top Stories by Michael Kopp

Setting up Application Performance Monitoring is a big task, but like everything else it can be broken down into simple steps. You have to know what you want to achieve and subsequently where to start. So let’s start at the beginning and take a top-down approach Know What You Want The first thing to do is to be clear of what we want when monitoring the application. Let’s face it: we “do not want to” ensure CPU utilization to be below 90 percent or a network latency of under one millisecond. We are also not really interested in garbage collection activity or whether the database connection pool is utilized. We need to monitor all of these things in order to reach our main goal. And the main goal for this article series is to ensure the health and stability of our application and business services. To ensure that we need to leverage all of the mentioned metrics. What ... (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 ea... (more)

How Garbage Collection Differs in the Three Big JVMs

(Note: If you’re interested in WebSphere in a production environment, check out Michael's upcoming webinar with The Bon-Ton Stores) Most articles about Garbage Collection ignore the fact that the Sun Hotspot JVM is not the only game in town. In fact whenever you have to work with either IBM WebSphere or Oracle WebLogic you will run on a different runtime. While the concept of Garbage Collection is the same, the implementation is not and neither are the default settings or how to tune it. This often leads to unexpected problems when running the first load tests or in the worst case... (more)

The Impact of Garbage Collection on Java Performance

In my last article I explained what a major Garbage Collection is. While a major Collection certainly has a negative impact on performance it is not the only thing that we need to watch out for. And in case of the CMS we might not always be able to distinguish between major and minor GC. So before we start tuning the garbage collector we first need to know what we want to tune for. From a high level there are two main tuning goals. Execution Time vs. Throughput The first thing we need to clarify if we want to minimize the time the application needs to respond to a request or if we... (more)

Application Performance Monitoring in Production

Last time I explained logical and organizational prerequisites to a successful production level application performance monitoring. I originally wanted to look at the concrete metrics we need on every tier, but was asked how you can correlate data in a distributed environment, so this will be the first thing that we look into. So let’s take a look at the technical prerequisites of successful production monitoring. Collecting data from distributed environment The first problem that we have is the distributed nature of most applications. In order to isolate response time problems or... (more)