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What are some options for Web application monitoring in the cloud?

What are some options for Web application monitoring in the cloud?

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We have a number of options for Web application monitoring, and choosing a good option depends on understanding the types of information you want to collect and where your application is running.

If you run your application in a public cloud, then make use of tools offered by the vendor. Amazon Web Services, for example, has CloudWatch, which allows administrators to monitor a basic set of metrics in each of the major AWS services, such as Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) instances, Elastic Block Store (EBS) volumes, load balancers, Relational Database Store (RDS) database instances, Simple Queue Service (SQS) queues and others. 

Third-party tools, such as ManageEngine, provide comparable monitoring services for Amazon EC2 instances and RDS databases, and they can be used to monitor applications in your data center as well. These may be sufficient if you are primarily concerned with the performance of your infrastructure.

If you need to monitor specific aspects of application performance, then tools such as New Relic and Riverbed may be right for you. These tools allow for a more detailed view of application performance, such as page load times, error rates, transaction performance and SQL Server query performance. These tools provide insights into end-user experience and not just server performance measures. This is especially important if network latency is an issue. If you only monitor servers in the cloud and not application performance at the end-user location, you may miss problems end users are experiencing.

For more in-depth analysis, Web application monitoring tools such as AppDynamics are useful for creating baseline performance measures and identifying the root causes of performance problems.

About the author:
Dan Sullivan, M.Sc., is an author, systems architect and consultant with more than 20 years of IT experience. He has had engagements in advanced analytics, systems architecture, database design, enterprise security and business intelligence. He has worked in a broad range of industries, including financial services, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, software development, government, retail and education. Dan has written extensively about topics that range from data warehousing, cloud computing and advanced analytics to security management, collaboration and text mining.

This was first published in September 2013

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