Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Derek Weeks, Liz McMillan, Jyoti Bansal

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 co-founder of guidearama.com. David's background as a technologist and a product marketing manager enables him to look at today's solutions from the perspective of the user. David's career spans early stage startups including Axent Technologies, Vignette and Morph Labs as well as enterprise mainstays such as Symantec. You can also follow David on twitter @dabramowski

@ThingsExpo Stories
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
In 2014, Amazon announced a new form of compute called Lambda. We didn't know it at the time, but this represented a fundamental shift in what we expect from cloud computing. Now, all of the major cloud computing vendors want to take part in this disruptive technology. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, John Jelinek IV, a web developer at Linux Academy, will discuss why major players like AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM Bluemix, and Google Cloud Platform are all trying to sidestep VMs and containers...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex softw...
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, discussed the best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
Technology vendors and analysts are eager to paint a rosy picture of how wonderful IoT is and why your deployment will be great with the use of their products and services. While it is easy to showcase successful IoT solutions, identifying IoT systems that missed the mark or failed can often provide more in the way of key lessons learned. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Peter Vanderminden, Principal Industry Analyst for IoT & Digital Supply Chain to Flatiron Strategies, will focus on how IoT depl...
Big Data, cloud, analytics, contextual information, wearable tech, sensors, mobility, and WebRTC: together, these advances have created a perfect storm of technologies that are disrupting and transforming classic communications models and ecosystems. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Erik Perotti, Senior Manager of New Ventures on Plantronics’ Innovation team, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it m...
Manufacturers are embracing the Industrial Internet the same way consumers are leveraging Fitbits – to improve overall health and wellness. Both can provide consistent measurement, visibility, and suggest performance improvements customized to help reach goals. Fitbit users can view real-time data and make adjustments to increase their activity. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mark Bernardo Professional Services Leader, Americas, at GE Digital, discussed how leveraging the Industrial Internet and...
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
"Tintri was started in 2008 with the express purpose of building a storage appliance that is ideal for virtualized environments. We support a lot of different hypervisor platforms from VMware to OpenStack to Hyper-V," explained Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
A critical component of any IoT project is what to do with all the data being generated. This data needs to be captured, processed, structured, and stored in a way to facilitate different kinds of queries. Traditional data warehouse and analytical systems are mature technologies that can be used to handle certain kinds of queries, but they are not always well suited to many problems, particularly when there is a need for real-time insights.
In his General Session at 16th Cloud Expo, David Shacochis, host of The Hybrid IT Files podcast and Vice President at CenturyLink, investigated three key trends of the “gigabit economy" though the story of a Fortune 500 communications company in transformation. Narrating how multi-modal hybrid IT, service automation, and agile delivery all intersect, he will cover the role of storytelling and empathy in achieving strategic alignment between the enterprise and its information technology.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, discussed the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to focus o...
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, discussed the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Things are changing so quickly in IoT that it would take a wizard to predict which ecosystem will gain the most traction. In order for IoT to reach its potential, smart devices must be able to work together. Today, there are a slew of interoperability standards being promoted by big names to make this happen: HomeKit, Brillo and Alljoyn. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Adam Justice, vice president and general manager of Grid Connect, will review what happens when smart devices don’t work togethe...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices 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 business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...