Network-based application performance monitoring for better visibility

Jesse Rothstein, Network Management Expert

How is network-based application performance monitoring different than other performance management approaches?

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Traditional approaches to application performance monitoring use a number of technologies, some of which are decades old and include SNMP polling, NetFlow collection, synthetic transactions and log-file analysis. For application visibility, software agents typically are installed on application infrastructure components. These agents perform byte-code instrumentation or call-stack sampling and report back system and application performance data to a central reporting server. The downside of these legacy approaches is that they consume system resources, typically have expensive per-server licensing fees, and are difficult to deploy and maintain, requiring testing and certification every time there is a change to the application.

Network-based application performance monitoring is different from these traditional approaches because it does not interfere with the application being monitored. Instead, network-based APM examines a copy of the network traffic passing through the data center and reconstructs and analyzes all transactions in real time, extracting valuable health and performance metrics. IT Operations teams use these metrics to troubleshoot problems and receive automatic early-warning alerts for anomalous behavior.

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Defining the importance of application performance management

This network-based application performance monitoring approach is advantageous in that it can correlate application performance to network performance, which is critical when trying to determine the root cause of an application performance issue. Oftentimes, application and network performance issues are interrelated. With a network-based APM solution, IT Operations teams can easily see how application response time is broken down by network request, server processing, and network response.

This was first published in April 2012

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