Click here to close now.



Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, SmartBear Blog, Kevin Jackson, Scott Allen, Charlotte Spencer-Smith

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
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Fusion, a leading provider of cloud services, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Fusion, a leading provider of integrated cloud solutions to small, medium and large businesses, is the industry's single source for the cloud. Fusion's advanced, proprietary cloud service platform enables the integration of leading edge solutions in the cloud, including clou...
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that VAI, a leading ERP software provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. VAI (Vormittag Associates, Inc.) is a leading independent mid-market ERP software developer renowned for its flexible solutions and ability to automate critical business functions for the distribution, manufacturing, specialty retail and service sectors. An IBM Premier Business Part...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, will provide an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profes...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
Most people haven’t heard the word, “gamification,” even though they probably, and perhaps unwittingly, participate in it every day. Gamification is “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation.” Further, gamification is about bringing game mechanics – rules, constructs, processes, and methods – into the real world in an effort to engage people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Endo, owner and engagement manager of Intrepid D...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
Learn how IoT, cloud, social networks and last but not least, humans, can be integrated into a seamless integration of cooperative organisms both cybernetic and biological. This has been enabled by recent advances in IoT device capabilities, messaging frameworks, presence and collaboration services, where devices can share information and make independent and human assisted decisions based upon social status from other entities. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Heydt, founder of Seamless...
The IoT's basic concept of collecting data from as many sources possible to drive better decision making, create process innovation and realize additional revenue has been in use at large enterprises with deep pockets for decades. So what has changed? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Prasanna Sivaramakrishnan, Solutions Architect at Red Hat, discussed the impact commodity hardware, ubiquitous connectivity, and innovations in open source software are having on the connected universe of people, thi...
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 WebRTC Summit, Cary Bran, VP of Innovation and New Ventures at Plantronics and PLT Labs, provided an overview of this technological shift, including associated business and consumer communications impacts, and opportunities it may enable, complement or entirely transform.
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, showed how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants received the download information, scripts, and complete end-t...
For manufacturers, the Internet of Things (IoT) represents a jumping-off point for innovation, jobs, and revenue creation. But to adequately seize the opportunity, manufacturers must design devices that are interconnected, can continually sense their environment and process huge amounts of data. As a first step, manufacturers must embrace a new product development ecosystem in order to support these products.
Manufacturing connected IoT versions of traditional products requires more than multiple deep technology skills. It also requires a shift in mindset, to realize that connected, sensor-enabled “things” act more like services than what we usually think of as products. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David Friedman, CEO and co-founder of Ayla Networks, discussed how when sensors start generating detailed real-world data about products and how they’re being used, smart manufacturers can use the dat...
When it comes to IoT in the enterprise, namely the commercial building and hospitality markets, a benefit not getting the attention it deserves is energy efficiency, and IoT’s direct impact on a cleaner, greener environment when installed in smart buildings. Until now clean technology was offered piecemeal and led with point solutions that require significant systems integration to orchestrate and deploy. There didn't exist a 'top down' approach that can manage and monitor the way a Smart Buildi...