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Review of SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

Product: SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

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SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

Over time, purposes inevitably grow to be extra complicated. As we speak’s server purposes generally consist of a number of tiers and should leverage a number of totally different databases. Moreover, these numerous software elements won’t all be in the identical place. It’s turning into more and more widespread for some of an software’s parts to reside on premises, whereas different elements of the appliance exist within the public cloud. Sadly, inherent complexity makes it far harder to troubleshoot purposes when issues happen.

In an effort to assist organizations to maintain their purposes operating easily, SolarWinds has created a product referred to as Application Performance Monitor. Application Performance Monitor is designed to watch customized .NET purposes which are operating on Microsoft IIS servers. If such an software have been to expertise efficiency points, Application Performance Monitor can shortly pinpoint the supply of the issue by permitting you to visualise efficiency bottlenecks, after which decide the underlying root trigger of these bottlenecks.

Deployment and integration

Sometimes once I evaluation a product, I like to provide an summary of the deployment course of. Through the years, I’ve discovered that some merchandise work proper out of the field, whereas others are almost unimaginable to configure. Within the case of SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor, I used to be supplied with a preconfigured lab surroundings, so I didn’t get to deploy the software program myself. Even so, I’ve labored with sufficient SolarWinds merchandise to have the ability to inform you that SolarWinds makes use of an ordinary installer and that deploying and configuring SolarWinds merchandise is usually an virtually easy course of.

Like most different SolarWinds merchandise, Application Performance Monitor integrates with the Orion dashboard. This immediately provides Application Performance Monitor a well-known appear and feel. Moreover, Application Performance Monitor integrates with SolarWinds Server and Application Monitor, which suggests you can have a single pane of glass view of your customized and off the shelf Net purposes.

Response time warmth map

Of the varied options present in Application Performance Monitor, my private favourite is the response time warmth map. SolarWinds merchandise have all the time offered so much of knowledge visualization instruments, however I feel that the corporate did an particularly good job creating this one.

Application Performance Monitor accommodates a menu referred to as Traced Requests. Inside this menu, the device supplies you with the choice of taking a look at traced queries, traced calls, traced cache calls, or traced exceptions. Upon making your choice, you’re given the choice of narrowing down the outcomes by taking a look at a sure percentile. In case you take a look at the screenshot under, for instance, you’ll be able to see that I’m taking a look at traced requests under the 95th percentile. This functionality is useful as a result of it permits you to look at question by period.

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

What’s extra spectacular, nevertheless, is the best way that Application Performance Monitor lets you drill down into the question outcomes. When you take a look at the earlier screenshot, you’ll little question discover the chart displaying question response time. It’s also possible to see that some of the queries absorb extra of 10 milliseconds to finish. If I needed to know extra about these specific queries, I might merely draw a field across the portion of the chart that I used to be concerned with to see extra detailed details about the gadgets that I chosen. Should you take a look at the subsequent screenshot as an example, you possibly can see that I can see the time, transaction, database, host, and extra.

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

Another factor that I need to level out earlier than I transfer on is that the desk displaying the person leads to the earlier display seize incorporates a Hint icon for every returned question. Clicking this icon takes you to a display that gives a particularly detailed breakdown of the question. As you’ll be able to see within the following display seize for example, Application Performance Monitor shows actions associated to each IIS and SQL Server. You possibly can drill down into this chart to view all the question response in granular element.

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

Transaction efficiency monitoring

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor additionally permits you to carry out transaction degree efficiency monitoring. That is distinctive, as a result of most efficiency monitoring instruments which are out there as we speak are designed to offer efficiency metrics on the hardware, working system, or software degree. In distinction, Application Performance Monitor breaks down your software’s efficiency by question sort. That means, you possibly can see which varieties of queries are finishing shortly and that are taking longer to finish.

You’ll be able to see what the transaction efficiency monitoring interface appears like within the screenshot under. As you take a look at the screenshot, you possibly can see that efficiency knowledge is being displayed for transactions associated to particular person software gadgets together with HTML pages, pictures, and extra. For every transaction sort that’s displayed, the software exhibits you the typical response time, the quantity of requests coming in every second, and the error fee.

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

As useful as this info could also be, you possibly can take issues a step additional. You may need observed within the earlier screenshot that every listed transaction is hyperlinked. Clicking on a transaction causes the console to show a extra granular breakdown of the info. Within the subsequent screenshot, for example, you’ll be able to see that the chart differentiates between software response time and SQL response time. There’s additionally a button which you could click on to look at associated traced requests.

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

I’ve already proven you what traced requests seem like, however I need to emphasize what I stated earlier about Application Performance Monitor permits you to drill down right into a hint request. This functionality may be extraordinarily useful in resolving software efficiency points, as a result of the device permits you to see precisely which hosts, databases, and so on. serviced the question. You possibly can see an instance of this within the subsequent screenshot.

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

Getting access to this sort of info is particularly helpful relating to troubleshooting efficiency points with distributed or multi-tier purposes. You may for example have the ability to decide that a specific question response is sluggish, as a result of of the latency concerned in accessing a database residing off premises.

The decision

Once I first determined to assessment this device, my largest concern was usability. The thought of with the ability to visualize efficiency bottlenecks after which drill down into the basis trigger of these bottlenecks is definitely interesting, however I questioned how sensible the software would truly be. Through the years I’ve labored with quite a few efficiency monitoring and software monitoring instruments. Many of these instruments have been over difficult, and required the administrator to know the best way to interpret uncooked metrics. Different instruments that I’ve used (notably ones associated to software monitoring) appear as if they’re geared extra towards builders than directors or community architects. Based mostly on these previous experiences, I questioned if the SolarWinds software can be one thing that the typical administrator would have the ability to use with no vital studying curve.

Admittedly, I had a bit of problem with the interface once I first acquired began. I didn’t have the product documentation at my disposal, and I wasn’t fairly positive the place I wanted to go inside the Orion dashboard to get began. Finally, I needed to attain out to SolarWinds for assist.

I used to be pleasantly stunned by simply how shortly SolarWinds responded to the e-mail message that I despatched them. Not solely that, the steerage that they offered me was precisely what I wanted, and I used to be up and operating inside minutes. On a aspect word, there isn’t something notably troublesome about getting began with Application Performance Monitor. My troubles have been my very own fault, as a result of I used to be clicking on the improper hyperlinks.

As soon as I received into Application Performance Monitor, I discovered the interface to be very properly accomplished. As you’ll be able to see within the display captures that I’ve included on this evaluate, Application Performance Monitor manages to offer you all of the knowledge that you could monitor down efficiency points in your Net servers, and presents that info in a approach that’s straightforward to digest. You don’t should be an engineer or a developer to know what the software is telling you.

So far as the interface itself goes, I discovered it to be comparatively intuitive, but in addition discovered that I wanted to spend some additional time exploring the interface to familiarize myself with its options and capabilities.

One other huge query that I had previous to starting this evaluation was what can be required to be able to hyperlink Application Performance Monitor to an software that must be monitored. A couple of years in the past, I attempted out a unique software monitoring device from one other vendor and located that the Net software’s code truly needed to be modified earlier than the monitoring software would be capable of do its job. I’m completely satisfied to say that this isn’t the case with Application Performance Monitor. Application Performance Monitor makes use of an agent that runs on the IIS server slightly than requiring you to put in writing any customized code.

So what was my general opinion of Application Performance Monitor? Nicely, every time I assessment a product for this website, it has turn into customary for me to assign the product a star score, starting from zero to 5 stars. After spending a substantial quantity of time with SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor, I made a decision to offer it a rating of four.7 stars, which is a gold star rating. For my part, the interface could be a little bit busy in locations, however general the product does precisely what it’s alleged to do, and does it nicely. Score four.7/5

SolarWinds Application Performance Monitor

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