14 INSIGHTS to help you simplify application monitoring with Timothee Bouhour & Marvin Goodman
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IBM’s new application monitoring solution: Quick, Easy, and Effective!
The combination of a lightweight solution, ease of installation, ease of use, and minimal ongoing maintenance sets the stage for a new approach to application performance management. In addition, the fact that it is both elastic and expandable makes IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight an excellent option for fast growing companies of any size. Let’s get a sneak peak from the experts into the finer Insights of this new application monitoring solution from IBM.
1) What are your thoughts on "The move of applications to public clouds"?
Public clouds allow for great flexibility in scale and resources. For applications, this translates to instant response to performance and user trends as well as excellent resource utilization. There are concerns with availability and security, but these are being addressed better and better as public cloud providers strengthen their offerings
2) From a Technical Context why IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight ?
This new application monitoring solution is the starting point of a new flexible architecture for Application Performance Monitoring. The goal is to provide a product for the cloud where solutions such as ITM will not be able to thrive. The architecture is lightweight, very quick to install, self-configuring, elastically scaling, and can automatically discover agents. The second goal of IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight is to target a new growing customer segment in addition to the traditional IT customers: the LOB or Cloud owner who has little tech experience but wishes to monitor his/her solution quickly and easily. The architecture is intended to require no training or help to install or use and incorporates multi-tenancy to cater to the varied customer environments.
3) What are the elastic capabilities of this new architecture, designed for cloud and hybrid applications?
The new elastic architecture is intended to flexibly follow the rapid changes in infrastructure mandated by cloud or hybrid environments. The architecture instantly recognizes when agents are added or decommissioned and will start or stop tracking them on the fly. It is also built with awareness to scale and contract with the size of its environment.
4) What experience can users expect when installing and using this application?
Installing the application is as simple as downloading it to a Virtual Machine and running the installer. It installs like consumer market software, easily and intuitively. Ease of use is the main goal of the new unified UI for APM. The UI is designed for easy navigation so the user can go as deep as required without ever losing sign of where they are. Intensive dash boarding makes it possible for users to quickly see what is important to them throughout their monitoring solution, no matter how broadly or precisely they wish to look at their environment.
5) How is your experience on configuration and key features of this product?
This application monitoring solution auto-configures. As agents are deployed to monitor various resources the architecture will recognize them and instantly start monitoring them. The agents are preconfigured out of the box to provide the right metrics for what they are monitoring, but the metrics displayed, viewing options (graphs, charts, and raw numbers), date ranges, and alert thresholds are all fully customizable by the user.
6) How is the Logging capability of this product?
This application monitoring solution retains information from its agents to allow users to view data from minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or years at a time, directly from the dashboard. Reports can be customized, generated, and shared easily directly from the interface.
7) What are the key capabilities of IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight?
The entire interface of this application monitoring solution is web-based to work in tandem with a cloud environment and to remain remotely accessible. The User Interface is built as dashboards to show users near real-time data in the most convenient way possible. These dashboards can be fully customized.
This product installs itself on a single Virtual Machine, and the agents deployed are designed to be lightweight and unobtrusive. The entire architecture is designed to be nimble and self-discovering in a virtual environment.
8) What are your thoughts on SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight End-User Experience ?
The dashboards and deep-dive capabilities allow the user to get to the heart of a problem in just a few clicks. Because the data is in near real time, users know exactly when a problem is arising and exactly where it is happening. This allows them to respond very fast and accurately, which is primordial in a cloud-driven environment.
9) What are your thoughts around the Diagnostics capabilities will this product offer deep dive diagnostics?
The agents are designed to maintain deep dive, but as of today none of those capabilities will be included in IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight, they will however be included in IBM Application Performance Diagnostics which has the same infrastructure and central node, but deep agents instead of a wide range of agents.
10) What is your experience with SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight in regards to Time to Value and download time for the fabric node?
This depends on connection, but the Fabric Node is a small file and this should be a matter of minutes for most customers
This part takes around 10 minutes.
The Fabric Node is self-configuring. Most users typically go from nothing to seeing data in around 20 minutes, including download, install, and configuration. More experienced users have been able to go through the whole process in 12-15 minutes.
IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight can be easily installed across all stages and environments of production since it scales and configures itself for its environment. Using IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight in pre-production allows for better testing prior to release and means a new offering can be monitored from day one.
12) Do you think we need to have Multi-Platform OS support? IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight currently deploys on LINUX based machines. Do you see any need for adding compatibility for a second OS like a Windows based machine?
Because IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight is installed on its own VM, there is no reason why that particular VM couldn’t be deployed with Linux in all environments. We could potentially consider adding compatibility for a second OS if we find environments that do not allow the deployment of a Linux machine, but for now that is not a priority.
13) Does this release of IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight provide visibility into .net? What are the monitoring agents that can be plugged into this architecture?
The current release does not have a .NET monitoring agent. We do plan on adding functionality for this in the next few months however. The agents are based off 6 IBM Tivoli Monitoring agents, so those could theoretically be plugged into the architecture. However, the agents created specifically for SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight will have full dashboard and metric visibility and will be much more integrated
14) What can we expect from IBM SmartCloud Monitoring – Application Insight in future releases?
The next release, in November will integrate APM UI and dashboards, as well as some new agents (Windows OS, WAS, Ruby, MongoDB, and MySQL). Future development will focus on improving the scalability of the architecture, adding in multi-tenancy, and bringing in more and more agents!