Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Don MacVittie, Nate Vickery, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @CloudExpo

@CloudExpo: Blog Post

Monitoring Applications in the Cloud

Small steps make your environment more resilient

Cloud computing is a rather powerful tool that allows even the smallest of businesses to provide an enterprise class environment for web applications.  In a nutshell, the cloud is nothing more than the ability to rent computer services on demand from a 3rd party provider.  At MioWorks.com we use Amazon Web Services, but there are several other services out there for you to explore.

Mastering the cloud takes a bit of work, a dash of experience and an openness to learn from others.  But once you do master it, the benefits are tremendous.  You’ll never have to order another server or rent a rack in a data center.  You’ll be able to fluidly control your environment by increasing and decreasing the services you need on the fly, saving time and money.

This power, flexibility and potential demands that you pay attention to the details.  You must anticipate that the cloud can have hiccups and that as quickly as a server comes to life, that server can disappear.  In previous blog posts I’ve already talked about the importance of backups and recovery drills, but let’s take a step back.  Today let’s talk about monitoring and how important it is to your survival.

Ok I’ll bite, why is monitoring so important

Let me sum this up in a single sentence: Monitoring can be the difference between “whew that was close” and “holy s$%t we are down”.  I lied -  I need another sentence…  Monitoring can also be the difference between a five minute outage and a five hour outage.

What to monitor

Every web based application environment in the cloud is a jigsaw puzzle of pieces.  At the core you have your virtual hardware followed by your operating system.  Each of your servers is then configured differently depending on its specific duty.  You may have application servers, web servers, search servers, database servers and the list goes on.  Each of these servers needs to be monitored from several points of view - both internally and externally.

Internal Monitoring

The big question isn’t “Is the server running?” it should be “Is the server and all of its pieces running correctly? Each virtual server in your setup is a maze of processes, files, directories and file systems.  At any given time a hiccup can occur within this delicate environment that will eventually disrupt the end user’s ability to use your service.   In our environment we use monit and munin (two open source tools) on the inside to provide us with critical monitoring, recovery & trending capabilities.

Monit provides systems monitoring and error recovery for our Unix systems.  In our environment we have configured monit to watch dozens of potential failure points.   Monit can start a process if it is not running and can kill/restart a process if it takes too many resources. Monit is also configurable as an intrusion detection system by watching for changes in files, directories and file systems.  By spending a little time learning and using Monit your system administrator has a great tool to keep a constant eye on all the pieces of the puzzle.

In addition to the direct monitoring and error recovery system, we also like to see the bigger picture.  We use Munin to aggregate information across our server pool.  Munin provides a graphical view that allows your team to quickly see what’s different from yesterday.   You can quickly determine your resource utlization and plan in ADVANCE any increase of capacity.

From the outside

Keeping track of all the pieces inside the cloud is very important, but you also need to know how your environment in the cloud is performing to the outside world.  There are more external monitoring services out there than I can count.  But I’ll tell you who we use.  Our favorite at the moment is monitis.com.  We like them because starting at just $10/month you get on demand fault & performance monitoring for your environment. This external watchdog system helps to keep everyone informed if/when the cloud is having issues.  It also provides us with important statistics on response time and application performance that we use to determine how to adjust our infrastructure.

Continuous improvement

Your monitoring program must become a living, breathing element of your systems administration.  As new problems arise or potential problems are identified, the monitoring system must be adjusted to be proactive.   The good news is that the more you adjust your monitoring and error recovery system, the less you’ll be surprised in the future.  It takes discipline to post mortem each problem and determine how to proactively detect for it in the future.  And this discipline will distinguish your application in the frenzy of the cloud.

Real world results of a good monitoring program

In the real world your monitoring system can be the difference between keeping your systems alive and thriving OR having unhappy customers and missed SLAs. It can help you pinpoint exactly what went wrong and reduce the time it takes for the first responders to identify and solve the issue.  There are lots of solutions in the marketplace including commerical  and open source alternatives.  It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you start the process and improve little by little, you’ll be amazed at the positive impact your monitoring program will have on your environment stability and your ability to get some sleep.

More Stories By David Abramowski

David Abramowski is a technologist turned product leader. David was a co-founder of Morph Labs, one of the first Platform as a Service plays on AWS. He was the GM for Parallels Virtuozzo containers, enterprise business, and most recently he is the leader of the product marketing team for the IT Operations Management solutions at the hyper growth SaaS company, ServiceNow.

@ThingsExpo Stories
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked 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 m...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
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, discussed how they built...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits,...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
SYS-CON Events announced today that T-Mobile exhibited at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. As America's Un-carrier, T-Mobile US, Inc., is redefining the way consumers and businesses buy wireless services through leading product and service innovation. The Company's advanced nationwide 4G LTE network delivers outstanding wireless experiences to 67.4 million customers who are unwilling to compromise on qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cedexis 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. Cedexis is the leader in data-driven enterprise global traffic management. Whether optimizing traffic through datacenters, clouds, CDNs, or any combination, Cedexis solutions drive quality and cost-effectiveness. For more information, please visit https://www.cedexis.com.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Google Cloud has been named “Keynote Sponsor” of 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. Companies come to Google Cloud to transform their businesses. Google Cloud’s comprehensive portfolio – from infrastructure to apps to devices – helps enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter, stay secure, and do more with data than ever before.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vivint to exhibit at 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. As a leading smart home technology provider, Vivint offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the United States and Canada. The end result is a smart home solution that sav...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani 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. Opsani is the leading provider of deployment automation systems for running and scaling traditional enterprise applications on container infrastructure.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Nirmata 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. Nirmata provides a comprehensive platform, for deploying, operating, and optimizing containerized applications across clouds, powered by Kubernetes. Nirmata empowers enterprise DevOps teams by fully automating the complex operations and management of application containers and its underlying ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Opsani to exhibit at 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. Opsani is creating the next generation of automated continuous deployment tools designed specifically for containers. How is continuous deployment different from continuous integration and continuous delivery? CI/CD tools provide build and test. Continuous Deployment is the means by which...