Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Frank Lupo

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Blog Feed Post

Application Monitoring with JConsole, VisualVM and AppDynamics Lite

IT Ops monitor the infrastructure that applications run on, but they lack visibility of how applications actually work

What happens when mission-critical Java applications slow down or keep crashing in production? The vast majority of IT Operations (Ops) today bury their heads in log files. Why? because that's what they’ve been doing since IBM invented the mainframe. Diving into the weeds feels good, everyone feels productive looking at log entries, hoping that one will eventually explain the unexplainable. IT Ops may also look at system and network metrics which tell them how server resource and network bandwidth is being consumed. Again, looking at lots of metrics feels good but what is causing those server and network metrics to change in the first place? Answer: the application.

IT Ops monitor the infrastructure that applications run on, but they lack visibility of how applications actually work and utilize the infrastructure. To get this visibility, Ops must monitor the application run-time. A quick way to get started is to use the free tools that come with the application run-time. In the case of Java applications, both JConsole and VisualVM ship with the standard SDK and have proved popular choices for monitoring Java applications. When we built AppDynamics Lite we felt their was a void of free application monitoring solutions for IT Ops, the market had plenty of tools aimed at developers but many were just too verbose and intrusive for IT Ops to use in production. If we take a look at how JConsole, VisualVM and AppDynamics Lite compare, we’ll see just how different free application monitoring solutions can be.

Monitoring with JConsole:

JConsole provides basic monitoring of the JVM run-time along with key resources such as CPU, memory and threads.  It consists of several tabs that summarize the health of JVM memory, threads, classes, virtual machine and MBeans which are exposed via the standard JMX console. JConsole can dynamically attach to any JVM and will collect data as long as the tool is open and connected to the JVM. It’s fairly good for inspecting the mechanics of a JVM at a high level so you can identify issues such as potential memory leaks, high thread concurrency and deadlock. The MBean viewer also allows the user to report hundreds of KPI metrics in real-time to check which JVM resources are being exhausted by the application. Unfortunately Oracle recommends that JConsole only be deployed in dev and test environments due to the overhead it can introduce on the application. The UI is both simple and easy to navigate but lacks application context with respect to the user requests and transactions that execute within the JVM. For example, if a user complains that their checkout transaction is slow, the JConsole user has no way of correlating or troubleshooting this activity.

Here are a few screenshots of JConsole in action:

Monitor JVM Resource Utilization

Trend memory heap usage over-time:

Monitor thread concurrency

Monitor MBeans in real-time

Monitoring with VisualVM:

VisualVM is also free and ships with the Java SDK. Its a bit like JConsole but with better lipstick and more advanced monitoring features. VisualVM takes application monitoring one level deeper than JConsole by allowing the user to analyze thread execution as well as the ability to profile CPU and memory usage of JVM requests, both of which are triggered manually by the user. VisualVM also has a nice tab showing memory pool and garbage collection activity to spot abnormal trends. From a usability perspective its perfect for a developer although I’m not sure how suitable it would be for IT Ops given the profiling features and data are fairly low level, verbose and provide little context of application requests or user transactions. Users with deep application knowledge could probably piece together which Java components related to user requests otherwise transactions are not immediately obvious to the user. Like JConsole overhead can be an issue in production when features like CPU and memory profiler are triggered by the user. It’s still a great tool for development and test use cases given it costs nothing.

Here are a few screenshots of VisualVM in action:

Monitor JVM Resource Utilization

Trigger CPU and Memory Profiling

View Memory Pools and Garbage Collection

Monitoring with AppDynamics Lite:

AppDynamics Lite is another free tool that takes a slightly different approach to application monitoring. Its start at a more high level and visualizes the monitored JVM, and its infrastructure interactions. Users get to see the top business transactions that flow through the JVM, creating a level of abstraction from just analyzing raw threads and JVM metrics. It’s a top down approach to monitoring as opposed to bottom up which means IT Ops and developers see the real business impact before they drill down and analyze data. From a slow business transaction the user can drill down into the actual code execution to pinpoint the exact class, method and interface which was responsible for the bottleneck. So instead of analyzing metrics holistically from different perspectives the user can troubleshoot using a business transaction as an anchor all the way down to the root cause. Lite also has real-time MBean trending and also comes with alerting capabilities so users can be pro-active to monitor application performance. The best bit of AppDynamics Lite is that it can run in production 24/7 so IT Ops don’t have to worry about overhead and issues can be resolved quickly.

Here are a few screenshots of AppDynamics Lite in action:

Monitor Application Flow and Business Transaction Health

Business Transaction volume, throughput, errors and SLA health

Drill Down on any Business Transaction to see its Code Execution Stack with timing

Monitor MBean & JMX metrics in real-time

Configure Alerts to pro-actively manage application performance

Here is a quick summary of how JConsole, VisualVM and AppDynamics Lite Compare:

Conclusion:

JConsole, VisualVM and AppDynamics Lite are just a few examples of free application performance monitoring solutions on the market. They have common features but differ in how they monitor, collect and present data. The value of these tools therefore vary depending on the user, use case and environment they are intended for. Developers generally want a bottom up view with lots of data to analyze whilst IT Ops want a more structured top down approach so they can troubleshoot and maintain context without getting lost in the weeds. Overhead can also vary across toolsets so remember to take care when monitoring your application in production.

If you’re looking for a cheap and easy way to get started with application monitoring then you should check out these three solutions. They are completely free, easy to install and may give you the visibility you need to fix your application issues. AppDynamics also has a Pro Edition for organizations that require deeper visibility into their mission critical applications, again its free to trial for 30 days (which is how it should be). We really believe in try before you buy, we also believe that some organizations may not have immediate budget for application monitoring which is why we created AppDynamics Lite!

App Man.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

@ThingsExpo Stories
SYS-CON Events announced today that Daiya Industry will exhibit at the Japanese Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ruby Development Inc. builds new services in short period of time and provides a continuous support of those services based on Ruby on Rails. For more information, please visit https://github.com/RubyDevInc.
As businesses evolve, they need technology that is simple to help them succeed today and flexible enough to help them build for tomorrow. Chrome is fit for the workplace of the future — providing a secure, consistent user experience across a range of devices that can be used anywhere. In her session at 21st Cloud Expo, Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will take a look at various options as to how ChromeOS can be leveraged to interact with people on the devices, and formats th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Yuasa System will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Yuasa System is introducing a multi-purpose endurance testing system for flexible displays, OLED devices, flexible substrates, flat cables, and films in smartphones, wearables, automobiles, and healthcare.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Organizations do not need a Big Data strategy; they need a business strategy that incorporates Big Data. Most organizations lack a road map for using Big Data to optimize key business processes, deliver a differentiated customer experience, or uncover new business opportunities. They do not understand what’s possible with respect to integrating Big Data into the business model.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they b...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities – ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups. As a result, many firms employ new business models that place enormous impor...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dasher Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dasher Technologies, Inc. ® is a premier IT solution provider that delivers expert technical resources along with trusted account executives to architect and deliver complete IT solutions and services to help our clients execute their goals, plans and objectives. Since 1999, we'v...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale, a leading provider of systems and services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale has been involved in shaping the computing landscape. They've designed, developed and deployed some of the most important and successful systems and services in the history of the computing industry - internet, Ethernet, operating s...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
Amazon is pursuing new markets and disrupting industries at an incredible pace. Almost every industry seems to be in its crosshairs. Companies and industries that once thought they were safe are now worried about being “Amazoned.”. The new watch word should be “Be afraid. Be very afraid.” In his session 21st Cloud Expo, Chris Kocher, a co-founder of Grey Heron, will address questions such as: What new areas is Amazon disrupting? How are they doing this? Where are they likely to go? What are th...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...