Set Benchmarks and Monitor Application Performance
“Visibility is power,” they say.
Okay, they probably say that about knowledge but given the myriad possible ways in which application performance might be affected, visibility into all layers of the application stack is key to effective troubleshooting and optimization, especially in a multicloud or hybrid cloud environment.
This is where application performance management (APM) comes in. If admins want to optimize or resolve bottlenecks in cloud app performance, they need to identify and track critical metrics governing functionality and usability. These metrics could be related to process-specific transactions, availability, analytics, or logging. Typical examples include:
- Traffic levels: How many users concurrently access the app on average? Is it scalable enough to handle spikes? To what levels and for how long?
- Application errors: How many errors occur? How frequently? What triggers them?
- Resource availability: Are all instances running? Are there any hanging database requests?
- Response times: If response time is slow, is it due to network or bandwidth issues or suboptimal application code?
- User satisfaction: What is the success rate of the business goal or task that the application enables?
“The art is correlating all of those metrics, identifying opportunities to improve performance and then work to address those opportunities,” said Owen Garrett, Head of Products and Community at Deepfence.
A variety of cloud APM software are available that collect these metrics, and store and present them in a historical or real-time format to help correlate information and insights. Cloud APM software need not be installed and managed on-prem within the organizational network or data center, unlike traditional ones – admins can simply use the APM provider cloud instance to configure and monitor cloud apps.
For example, native cloud APMs like Amazon CloudWatch and Google Operations give IT managers, developers and DevOps engineers insights on how their applications are performing on the AWS or Google Cloud infrastructure respectively. These offer deeper traceability and better compatibility with the provider’s ecosystem. However, they might lack visibility into critical metrics and integration with other platforms.
Third-party and standalone APM tools offer advanced reporting features, better visualization and closer integration with apps on other platforms. They are typically delivered via a SaaS model or as managed services.
Cloud APM software typically deals with more dependencies than its traditional counterpart, as different cloud services need to be monitored in different ways. For example, cloud apps running in virtualized instances produce much more log data than serverless functions.
APM software has become a necessity as more enterprises move workloads to the cloud and perform operations and automate processes across distributed computing environments. However, in the cloud model, any issues aren’t resolved from within the APM software. Remediation steps involve tweaking (or even temporarily turning off) cloud services as well as on-prem reconfiguration in the case of private cloud.
Optimize the Cloud Infrastructure
In cloud environments, application performance depends on the underlying cloud architecture, model, and infrastructure just as much as it does on the software stack. Correlating infrastructure resources to the apps that they support and tracking KPIs are prerequisites to improve as well as predict app performance in the cloud.