In order to be able to deliver agreed service levels to customers, it’s invaluable to know what’s happening both in your managed cloud environment and to your applications. This is especially true in a cloud infrastructure, where it tends to be at arm’s length and you may not have visibility of the whole application stack. This is where business process monitoring tools come in.
Business process monitoring is the practice of real-time monitoring of activity in your managed cloud environments and applications. It enables you to measure and analyse performance, identify critical problems, and use data to make decisions that will improve the speed, quality and efficiency of your business processes.
Business process monitoring tools can now be created and combined with some very in-depth reporting as to exactly where incidents and slowdowns are occurring. Business process monitoring doesn’t take place just in your cloud environment, but in third party call outs, database engines, data transfers and more.
Here are some of the business process monitoring tools we combine at Digital Craftsmen to give a complete picture of the solution, starting from the outside in.
Pingdom have a global selection of machines that they run connectivity and analysis tests. These allow us to know what the external users sees and also what your third party call outs are doing e.g. http callouts to google, or postcode lookups.
Pingdom can monitor real user journeys, collecting real data from all visitors to a site. This is useful if we want to know how fast a website loads for users on a specific browser, device, or country.
You can also go deep level with some application code changes using transaction monitoring. This feature means you’ll need to be the first to know when there is an issue with the login, search, check out, or any other user interactions on your website.
New Relic is another tool to provide some of the deep level understanding of where the process is at within the application. This is invaluable for working out where slowdowns within the process are occurring, such as from third party call outs.
With New Relic’s Application Monitoring, we can analyse the performance of critical transactions across your entire service-oriented application environment. It allows us to drill down for instant insights into specific code segments and SQL statements, see how each component is connected and resolve problems very quickly.
At the infrastructure and Virtual Machine level, Opsview allows some very detailed monitoring at the OS level with agents installed on each box to report back on the basics – CPU, memory and disk.
There are also agent plugins for almost every application and we can track and monitor items like IIS / Apache requests per second, SQL transactions, SQL Buffer manager, MySQL slow queries and so on. These enable our managed cloud specialists to pinpoint slowdowns and quickly understand the issues.
Dashboards within Opsview give a very good overview of how the service is doing from the business users perspective. For example, there may be a webserver down but is it affecting the service overall given the knowledge of the whole process?
These dashboards let us see everything we’re responsible for, all in one place. There’s no need to search through multiple instances, or worse, multiple logins. It’s all right there, making us more efficient and helping you to reduce costly downtime. What’s more, you can also be provided with a login to the Opsview dashboards so that you can also be assured that your machines are working as they should.
If you are a large organisation managing numerous business applications deployed in multiple locations and using different technology stacks, OpsViews’ Application Performance Monitoring Tools can also help.
In dynamic cloud environments, end-to-end visibility can only be assured with a single view into the status of your entire organization. Opsview application performance monitoring tools provide a unified view of your entire infrastructure to help ensure the health, performance and availability of your business systems.
Combining these dashboards and tools with ITIL methodology around change tracking and management and audit trails of actions within your environment can reduce time to fix a wide range of problems.
All of the Opsview changes are auditable with who made the change and when, and also acknowledgement of alerts etc is recorded with a ticket number so that it can be tracked through the service desk.
Amazon have launched a new service called Amazon X-Ray, which looks to be trying to take over from New Relic as the application monitoring tool of choice. Although AWS X-Ray offers some of New Relic’s features, it does have a few exclusive features as well.
AWS X-Ray is an interesting dynamic tracing option to explore if you are already committed to the AWS ecosystem. AWS services supported by X-Ray include EC2, ECS, and Elastic Beanstalk. Elastic Load Balancer (ELB) and Amazon API Gateway provide the frontend and initiate the tracing by providing a Trace-ID. You can even peek into messaging services thanks to its SQS and SNS support.
But even though AWS X-Ray and New Relic have similar scope, they should not be considered direct competitors. AWS X-Ray is highly integrated into the AWS ecosystem, whereas New Relic is a general-purpose solution that works transparently across both cloud-based and self-hosted deployments.
If you need advice on establishing business process monitoring tools for your cloud environment, contact our managed cloud specialists by sending us an email or calling us on 020 3745 7706.
For more information about business process monitoring tools and other information security advice, download our free guide: “The Security Mindset”.