|By AppDynamics Blog||
|May 8, 2014 12:00 PM EDT||
I wouldn’t do website load/performance testing any more without having an APM tool in place. Period. Full stop. End of story.
I’ve been involved in website load testing for over 10 years, as a “end-user” when I was web operations manager for an online job board, as a team leader for a company providing cloud load testing services, and as a consultant on web performance with my own company DevOpsGuys. The difference in the value you get from load/performance testing with and without APM tools is enormous.
We’ve probably all seen those testing reports that are full of graphs of response time versus req/sec, CPU utilisation curves, disk IO throughput, error rates ad nauseam. I, to my eternal shame, have even written them… and whilst they are useful for answering the (very simplistic) question of “how many simulated requests/users can my website support before it falls over?” generating any real application insight from what are essentially infrastructure metrics is difficult. This type of test report rarely results in any corrective actions other than (1) “lets throw more hardware at it” or (2) “let’s shout at the devs that they have to fix something because the application is slow”. Quite often the report gets circular filed because no-one knows how to derive application insight and hence generate meaningful corrective actions at either the code, application stack configuration or infrastructure level. All that effort & expense is wasted.
So how are things different when using APM tools (like my preferred tool, AppDynamics)? Here are my top 4 reasons:
1. See the Big Picture (Systems Thinking)
“Systems thinking is a framework for seeing interrelationships rather than things, for seeing patterns rather than static snapshots.” - Peter Senge, “The Fifth Discipline”.
The “first way of DevOps” is systems thinking, and APM tools reinforce the systems thinking perspective by helping you see the big picture very clearly. You can see the interrelationships between the web tier, application tier, database servers, message queues, external cloud services etc. in real time while you’re testing rather than being focussed on the metrics for each tier individually. You can instantly see where the bottlenecks in your application are in the example below the 4306ms calls to Navision stand out!
2. Drill Down to the Code Level
One of my favourite things when load testing with APM tools is being able to drill down to the stack trace level and identify the calls that are the most problematic. Suddenly, instead of talking about infrastructure metrics like CPU, RAM and Disk we are talking about application metrics — this business transaction (e.g. web page or API request) generates this flow across the application and 75% of the time is spent in this method call which makes 3 database calls and 2 web service calls and its this database call that’s slow and here’s the exact SQL statement that was executed. The difference in the response you get from the developer’s when you give them this level of detail compared to “your application is slow when we hit 200 users” is fantastic — now you are giving them real, pinpoint actionable intelligence on how their application responds under load.
3. Iterate Faster
“the application was made 56x faster during a 12hr testing window”
Because you can move quickly to the code level in real-time while you test and because this facilitates better communication with the development team your load testing suddenly becomes a lot more collaborative, even if the load testing is being performed by an external 3rd party.
We generally have all the relevant parties on a conference call or HipChat chat session while we test and we are constantly exchanging information, screenshots, links to APM snapshots and the developers are often able to code fixes there and then because we can rapidly pinpoint the pain points.
If you’ve got a customer with an Agile mindset and continuous delivery capability it can enable you to do rapid test and fix cycles during testing, often multiple times times in a day. In one notable example, the application was made 56x faster during a 12hr testing window due to 4 application releases during that period.
4. Stop the “Blame Game”
“make the enemy poor performance, not each other…”
Traditionally in the old school (pre-APM tools) days, load tests were often conducted by external load testing consultancies who would come in, do the testing, and then deliver some big report on how things went.
The customer would assemble their team together in a conference room to go through the report, which often triggered the “blame game” – Ops blaming Dev, Dev blaming QA, QA blaming Ops, Ops blaming the hosting provider, the hosting provider blaming the customer’s code and around and around it would go.
But with the right APM tools in place we’ve found this negative team dynamic can be avoided.
As mentioned earlier, testing tends to become more collaborative because it’s easier to share the performance data in real time via the APM tool, and discussions become more evidence-based. It’s more about “what are we going to do about this problem we can see here in the APM tool” and less about trying to allocate blame when no-one really knows where the problem actually resides and they don’t want to be left holding the can. The system-thinking, holistic view of the application’s performance promulgated by the APM tool makes performance the enemy, not each other. And that means that the performance issues are likely to be fixed faster, and not ignored due to politics and infighting.
There are probably loads more reasons you can come up with for why load testing with APM tools are awesome (and I’d love you hear your thoughts in the comments), but I will leave you with one more bonus reason – because it’s fun. For me, using AppDynamics when I’m doing load testing and performance tuning has really bought the fun factor back into the work. It’s fun to see the load being applied to the system and to see (via AppDynamics) the effect across the entire application. It’s fun to work closer with the Dev & Ops teams (dare I say, “DevOps”!) and to share meaningful, actionable insights on where the problems lie, and it’s fun be able to rapidly iterate and show the performance improvements in real-time.
The post 4 Reasons Why You Should Use APM When You Load Test Your Website written by Steve Thair (DevOpsGuys) appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog from AppDynamics.
Early in my DevOps Journey, I was introduced to a book of great significance circulating within the Web Operations industry titled The Phoenix Project. (You can read our review of Gene’s book, if interested.) Written as a novel and loosely based on many of the same principles explored in The Goal, this book has been read and referenced by many who have adopted DevOps into their continuous improvement and software delivery processes around the world. As I began planning my travel schedule last...
Sep. 5, 2015 05:30 AM EDT Reads: 592
At the outset, Hyper convergence looks to be an attractive option seemingly providing lot of flexibility. In reality, it comes with so many limitation and curtail the flexibility to grow the hardware resources such as server, storage, etc independent of each other. In addition, performance nightmare bound to hit once the system gets loaded. In late 1990s, storage and networking came out of compute for a reason. Both networking and storage need some specialized processing and it doesn't make se...
Sep. 5, 2015 05:15 AM EDT
ElasticBox, the agile application delivery manager, announced freely available public boxes for the DevOps community. ElasticBox works with enterprises to help them deploy any application to any cloud. Public boxes are curated reference boxes that represent some of the most popular applications and tools for orchestrating deployments at scale. Boxes are an adaptive way to represent reusable infrastructure as components of code. Boxes contain scripts, variables, and metadata to automate proces...
Sep. 5, 2015 04:30 AM EDT Reads: 151
This is the first DevOps book that shows a realistic and achievable view of the full implementation of DevOps. Most of the books and other literature I have read on DevOps are all about the culture, the attitudes, how it relates to Agile and Lean practices, and a high level view of microservices. This book includes all that, but they are not its main focus, and it goes several steps further with respect to the architecture and infrastructure needed for the implementation.
Sep. 5, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 103
To support developers and operations professionals in their push to implement DevOps principles for their infrastructure environments, ProfitBricks, a provider of cloud infrastructure, is adding support for DevOps tools Ansible and Chef. Ansible is a platform for configuring and managing data center infrastructure that combines multi-node software deployment, ad hoc task execution, and configuration management, and is used by DevOps professionals as they use its playbooks functionality to autom...
Sep. 5, 2015 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 156
Skeuomorphism usually means retaining existing design cues in something new that doesn’t actually need them. However, the concept of skeuomorphism can be thought of as relating more broadly to applying existing patterns to new technologies that, in fact, cry out for new approaches. In his session at DevOps Summit, Gordon Haff, Senior Cloud Strategy Marketing and Evangelism Manager at Red Hat, discussed why containers should be paired with new architectural practices such as microservices rathe...
Sep. 5, 2015 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 464
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sep. 5, 2015 01:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,004
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
Sep. 5, 2015 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 617
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies leverage disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advance...
Sep. 5, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 417
All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades. With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo, November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and e...
Sep. 5, 2015 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 265
The pricing of tools or licenses for log aggregation can have a significant effect on organizational culture and the collaboration between Dev and Ops teams. Modern tools for log aggregation (of which Logentries is one example) can be hugely enabling for DevOps approaches to building and operating business-critical software systems. However, the pricing of an aggregated logging solution can affect the adoption of modern logging techniques, as well as organizational capabilities and cross-team ...
Sep. 4, 2015 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 461
DevOps has traditionally played important roles in development and IT operations, but the practice is quickly becoming core to other business functions such as customer success, business intelligence, and marketing analytics. Modern marketers today are driven by data and rely on many different analytics tools. They need DevOps engineers in general and server log data specifically to do their jobs well. Here’s why: Server log files contain the only data that is completely full and accurate in th...
Sep. 4, 2015 11:45 PM EDT Reads: 486
SYS-CON Events announced today that G2G3 will exhibit at SYS-CON's @DevOpsSummit Silicon Valley, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Based on a collective appreciation for user experience, design, and technology, G2G3 is uniquely qualified and motivated to redefine how organizations and people engage in an increasingly digital world.
Sep. 4, 2015 11:00 PM EDT Reads: 585
DevOps Summit, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud 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 for long development...
Sep. 4, 2015 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,670
Whether you like it or not, DevOps is on track for a remarkable alliance with security. The SEC didn’t approve the merger. And your boss hasn’t heard anything about it. Yet, this unruly triumvirate will soon dominate and deliver DevSecOps faster, cheaper, better, and on an unprecedented scale. In his session at DevOps Summit, Frank Bunger, VP of Customer Success at ScriptRock, will discuss how this cathartic moment will propel the DevOps movement from such stuff as dreams are made on to a prac...
Sep. 4, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 286
SYS-CON Events announced today that DataClear Inc. will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The DataClear ‘BlackBox’ is the only solution that moves your PC, browsing and data out of the United States and away from prying (and spying) eyes. Its solution automatically builds you a clean, on-demand, virus free, new virtual cloud based PC outside of the United States, and wipes it clean...
Sep. 4, 2015 05:30 PM EDT Reads: 510
The word quantum often portends New Age mumbo-jumbo, in spite of the fact that quantum mechanics underlies many of today’s most important technologies, including lasers and the semiconductors found in every computer chip. Nevertheless, today quantum computing is becoming a reality. And while it may look to the layperson like mere mumbo-jumbo, in reality of the technology has largely moved out of the theoretical stage, as recent news indicates. In fact, two important announcements over the la...
Sep. 4, 2015 04:45 PM EDT
Any Ops team trying to support a company in today’s cloud-connected world knows that a new way of thinking is required – one just as dramatic than the shift from Ops to DevOps. The diversity of modern operations requires teams to focus their impact on breadth vs. depth. In his session at DevOps Summit, Adam Serediuk, Director of Operations at xMatters, Inc., will discuss the strategic requirements of evolving from Ops to DevOps, and why modern Operations has begun leveraging the “NoOps” approa...
Sep. 4, 2015 03:30 PM EDT Reads: 475
In today's digital world, change is the one constant. Disruptive innovations like cloud, mobility, social media, and the Internet of Things have reshaped the market and set new standards in customer expectations. To remain competitive, businesses must tap the potential of emerging technologies and markets through the rapid release of new products and services. However, the rigid and siloed structures of traditional IT platforms and processes are slowing them down – resulting in lengthy delivery ...
Sep. 4, 2015 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 667
In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ernest Mueller, Product Manager at Idera, will explain the best practices and lessons learned for tracking and optimizing costs while delivering a cloud-hosted service. He will describe a DevOps approach where the applications and systems work together to track usage, model costs in a granular fashion, and make smart decisions at runtime to minimize costs. The trickier parts covered include triggering off the right metrics; balancing resilience and redundancy ...
Sep. 4, 2015 11:45 AM EDT Reads: 347