View your Server Data faster

Many users loved the level of detail at which they could view server data in the old version of our product – they could quickly choose a server from a list, and immediately see a wide variety of information about processes, logs, metrics, and alerts for that particular server.

We’ve brought back many of the fetures of the old servers page into our new user interface, making it even faster to view important server metrics and data.

Server metrics, log messages, triggered alerts, and polled data are organized into tabs. We’ve also added a new section – Collector Info – which tells you which collector version the server is running and when the collector last uploaded data.

You can use your left and right arrow keys to quickly switch between tabs.

The dropdown above the list of servers lets you filter servers by running/not running, as well as by any server tags or server groups that are configured. You can use your up and down arrow keys to quickly cycle through the list of servers.

The new servers page is available today!

The Value of Context in Web Scale IT

Frequently in the world of monitoring we hear about the miraculous solutions provided from a single agent. How the world can be solved with transaction tracing, user experience monitoring and understanding the performance of the software pipeline as it applies to business.

All of these are great starting points, but today I’ll go through the case where the software pipeline is affected by the environment in which it lives, and application monitoring only shows the symptoms.

For example, my dashboard this morning:

AppFirst Dashboard Frontend Response Time Spike

The specific item in question, “Frontend Response Time” has a high value for a period this morning.

Frontend response time spike

And as I look into this value, it becomes evident that this is being caused by something external to the software stack.

As a quick background, the eCommerce solution I’m running (magento) uses files to keep track of each user as they access the site. A normal activity which isn’t excessively risky. However, due to this activity, thousands of session files exist which quickly eat up all available inode space if no action is taken.

Session files east up all available inode space is no action is taken

Now, performing normal maintenance, removing these excessive files is easy enough. However, a simple ‘rm -f’ command is insufficient (too many items). This is easily remedied with xargs:

Removing excessive files with xargs

However, execution like this takes time. Time that we can see with the data we’ve collected from the system, and graphed in-line with the web stack performance data.

System and web stack performance graph

The blue line is the ecommerce response time, the purple line the system disk utilization, and the orange line is the number of files being accessed by xargs. You can see the clear correlation between running the file removal on the response time, as well as the reduction in storage space. As soon as the files have been removed, the response time recovers.

If you’d like to stop treating symptoms and see how the environmental context affects your business, sign up for a free 30 day trial at http://www.appfirst.com/signup/.

New & Improved Dashboard Management

Our latest update to the AppFirst Product is a new and improved interface for creating, editing, and navigating between your Dashboards.

In an effort to save space and to give users a faster way to manage and switch between their Dashboards, we’ve moved them to a dropdown menu in the upper left-hand part of the product.

Creating a new Dashboard is easy – just click the + button to the right of the dropdown, and give it a name. Once it’s created, the Dashboard will appear in the dropdown.

If your list of Dashboards gets long, using the search box can help you find the Dashboard you’re looking for much faster.

Hovering over a Dashboard in the dropdown reveals options to rename, duplicate, or delete it.

Grabbing and dragging the leftmost icon lets you manually sort Dashboards in the list.

Our product now remembers which Dashboard you last visited; when navigating back to the product after leaving the site, you will automatically be directed to the Dashboard you previously had active.

The new Dashboard management interface is live and ready-to-use for everyone. If you have any feedback, make sure to let us know!

Windows Collector Version 67 Now Available

The Windows collector version 67 is now available. Updates include:

  • Increased stability in collector and Windows library
  • Decreased bandwidth requirements
  • Increased support with programs that intercept functions (such at Citrix XenApp)
  • Troubleshooting improvements
  • General bug fixes

Get this new version by going to Administration – Collectors – Update Collectors. 

Web-Scale IT in the Enterprise

Enterprise IT organizations are turning to a portfolio of SaaS, PaaS and hybrid cloud services to quickly respond to the business at a lower price point while improving service levels. Yet a new level of transparency and data precision is required to effectively deliver on this promise. Only AppFirst delivers a miss nothing approach to collecting data across the entire IT ecosystem. With this foundational data set it is now possible for organizations to achieve:

  1. A steady-state high-definition view of your end-to-end application infrastructure as compared to the still- picture model that was state-of-the-art with legacy technologies.
  2. Significantly drive down costs while ensuring business critical service levels.
  3. A deterministic view of the n-tier application environment, eliminating the need to make probabilistic assumptions to manage the system.
  4. The correct data view to fully leverage automation and predictive analytics technologies.

This brief discusses the key learnings that Claus Moldt, former Global CIO for Salesforce.com took away from addressing these challenges. The need for a new approach is reiterated by the following Gartner research note on Building a Modern APM Architecture for the World of Web Scale IT.

Read the following report on Web-Scale IT in the Enterprise.

AppFirst on the APM Shortlist

ProfitBricks, a cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) company, recently included AppFirst on a short list of application performance management tools that provide full-stack visibility, complete with diagnostics and actionable recommendations based on sophisticated data analysis.

The problem: Modern enterprises require robust tools that can monitor resources used by applications, correlate that data with meaningful user insights, and align performance with business processes.

Check out what they have to say about AppFirst: http://blog.profitbricks.com/application-performance-management-tools/