Monitoring applications

Concepts

Traditional Application Performance Management (APM) solutions are about managing the performance and availability of applications.

An application for APM tools is a static set of code runtimes (for example JVM or CLR) that are monitored by using an agent. Normally the application is defined as a configuration parameter on each agent.

This concept, which was a good model for classical 3-tier applications, does not work anymore in modern (micro)service applications. A service does not always belong to exactly one application. Think of a credit card payment service that is used in the online store of a company and also at their Point of Sales. A solution to this problem might be to define every service as an application, but that would introduce some new issues:

Instana introduces the next generation of APM with its application hierarchy of services, endpoints, and application perspectives across them. The main goal is to simplify the monitoring of your business' service quality. Based on the data we collect from traces and component sensors, we discover your application landscape directly from the services being implemented.

Summary

Latency Distribution

Latency Distribution chart is perfect for investigating latency-related issues of your applications, services, or endpoints. A latency range can be selected on the chart and by using the "View in Analytics" menu item, you can further explore the specific calls in Unbounded Analytics.

Latency Distribution

Infrastructure Issues & Changes

Infrastructure issues and changes related to your applications, services or endpoints are shown on the respective Dashboard "Summary" tab, to help you find correlations with interesting application metric changes, such as increase of "Erroneous Call Rate" or "Latency".

Infrastructure Issues & Changes

To learn more about some specific issues or changes, select a wanted time range on the chart and click the View Events menu item, which brings you to the Events view.

Time shift

To compare metrics to past timeframes, you can use a Time Shift functionality as shown in the image. Be aware of decreased precision when you are comparing metrics against historical data.

Time Shift

Application Dependency Map

The dependency map is available for each application and provides,

Application Dependency Map Overview

Error messages

Error messages are all messages that are collected from errors that happened during code execution of a service. For example, if an exception is thrown during processing and it is not caught and handled by the application code, it is listed on the Error Messages tab. An example would be an unhandled exception in a servlet's doGet method that causes the request to be responded to with HTTP 500.

Log messages

Log Messages are collected from instrumented logging libraries or frameworks (see, for example, the section "Logging" in the list of supported libraries). When a service writes a log message with severity WARN or higher through a logging library, the message is displayed on the "Log Messages" tab. Additionally, captured log messages are shown in the trace details in the context of their trace. If a log message was written with severity ERROR or higher, it is marked as an error. Note that log messages with a severity lower than WARN are not tracked.

Infrastructure

From the Application Perspective view or Services dashboard, it is possible to navigate to the corresponding infrastructure component shown on the Infrastructure Monitoring view.

The "Unmonitored" infrastructure component

The list of infrastructure components for an application or service might sometimes show or include the "Unmonitored" host or container or process.

The "Unmonitored" component indicates that for some or all calls to this service, we were unable to link it to a specific infrastructure component. As Services are "logical" entities, we are often able to link it to infrastructure components through the monitored process. It does not hold, for example, for third-party web services, which we don't monitor but where we still create Services and Endpoints based on hostname + path. Since no host or process is known, these services would be resulting in the "Unknown" infrastructure component being shown.

Historic Data

When viewing a dashboard over time range beyond the past seven days, you may see the indicator, which indicates that Instana will access a reduced amount of statistically significant traces and calls to serve the queries.

Traces and calls occurring rarely may not be represented in such scenarios.

Large Datasets

When querying data over a large time range, the indicator may be displayed. It indicates that Instana has stored a very large amount of traces and calls in the selected timeframe, and querying over every one of them would be slow.

Traces and calls occurring rarely may not be represented in such scenarios. To access the entire dataset, simply reduce the size of the time window.