|By Jyoti Bansal||
|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.
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
Mar. 27, 2017 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,933
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
Mar. 27, 2017 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,956
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm.
Mar. 27, 2017 12:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,010
As software becomes more and more complex, we, as software developers, have been splitting up our code into smaller and smaller components. This is also true for the environment in which we run our code: going from bare metal, to VMs to the modern-day Cloud Native world of containers, schedulers and micro services. While we have figured out how to run containerized applications in the cloud using schedulers, we've yet to come up with a good solution to bridge the gap between getting your contain...
Mar. 26, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 7,578
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
Mar. 26, 2017 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 9,591
DevOps is often described as a combination of technology and culture. Without both, DevOps isn't complete. However, applying the culture to outdated technology is a recipe for disaster; as response times grow and connections between teams are delayed by technology, the culture will die. A Nutanix Enterprise Cloud has many benefits that provide the needed base for a true DevOps paradigm. In his Day 3 Keynote at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Brown, a Solutions Marketing Manager at Nutanix, will explore t...
Mar. 26, 2017 03:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,806
DevOps has often been described in terms of CAMS: Culture, Automation, Measuring, Sharing. While we’ve seen a lot of focus on the “A” and even on the “M”, there are very few examples of why the “C" is equally important in the DevOps equation. In her session at @DevOps Summit, Lori MacVittie, of F5 Networks, explored HTTP/1 and HTTP/2 along with Microservices to illustrate why a collaborative culture between Dev, Ops, and the Network is critical to ensuring success.
Mar. 26, 2017 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 10,546
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @CloudExpo | @ThingsExpo, June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY and October 31 - November 2, 2017, Santa Clara Convention Center, CA. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Mar. 26, 2017 01:45 PM EDT Reads: 8,512
Everyone wants to use containers, but monitoring containers is hard. New ephemeral architecture introduces new challenges in how monitoring tools need to monitor and visualize containers, so your team can make sense of everything. In his session at @DevOpsSummit, David Gildeh, co-founder and CEO of Outlyer, will go through the challenges and show there is light at the end of the tunnel if you use the right tools and understand what you need to be monitoring to successfully use containers in your...
Mar. 26, 2017 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,583
What if you could build a web application that could support true web-scale traffic without having to ever provision or manage a single server? Sounds magical, and it is! In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Chris Munns, Senior Developer Advocate for Serverless Applications at Amazon Web Services, will show how to build a serverless website that scales automatically using services like AWS Lambda, Amazon API Gateway, and Amazon S3. We will review several frameworks that can help you build serverle...
Mar. 26, 2017 12:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,919
The IT industry is undergoing a significant evolution to keep up with cloud application demand. We see this happening as a mindset shift, from traditional IT teams to more well-rounded, cloud-focused job roles. The IT industry has become so cloud-minded that Gartner predicts that by 2020, this cloud shift will impact more than $1 trillion of global IT spending. This shift, however, has left some IT professionals feeling a little anxious about what lies ahead. The good news is that cloud computin...
Mar. 26, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,262
SYS-CON Events announced today that HTBase will exhibit 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. HTBase (Gartner 2016 Cool Vendor) delivers a Composable IT infrastructure solution architected for agility and increased efficiency. It turns compute, storage, and fabric into fluid pools of resources that are easily composed and re-composed to meet each application’s needs. With HTBase, companies can quickly prov...
Mar. 26, 2017 08:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,916
An overall theme of Cloud computing and the specific practices within it is fundamentally one of automation. The core value of technology is to continually automate low level procedures to free up people to work on more value add activities, ultimately leading to the utopian goal of full Autonomic Computing. For example a great way to define your plan for DevOps tool chain adoption is through this lens. In this TechTarget article they outline a simple maturity model for planning this.
Mar. 26, 2017 06:00 AM EDT Reads: 4,286
While DevOps most critically and famously fosters collaboration, communication, and integration through cultural change, culture is more of an output than an input. In order to actively drive cultural evolution, organizations must make substantial organizational and process changes, and adopt new technologies, to encourage a DevOps culture. Moderated by Andi Mann, panelists discussed how to balance these three pillars of DevOps, where to focus attention (and resources), where organizations might...
Mar. 26, 2017 05:15 AM EDT Reads: 6,184
The rise of containers and microservices has skyrocketed the rate at which new applications are moved into production environments today. While developers have been deploying containers to speed up the development processes for some time, there still remain challenges with running microservices efficiently. Most existing IT monitoring tools don’t actually maintain visibility into the containers that make up microservices. As those container applications move into production, some IT operations t...
Mar. 26, 2017 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,970
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
Mar. 25, 2017 09:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,647
Software development is a moving target. You have to keep your eye on trends in the tech space that haven’t even happened yet just to stay current. Consider what’s happened with augmented reality (AR) in this year alone. If you said you were working on an AR app in 2015, you might have gotten a lot of blank stares or jokes about Google Glass. Then Pokémon GO happened. Like AR, the trends listed below have been building steam for some time, but they’ll be taking off in surprising new directions b...
Mar. 25, 2017 01:30 PM EDT Reads: 5,836
@DevOpsSummit has been named the ‘Top DevOps Influencer' by iTrend. iTrend processes millions of conversations, tweets, interactions, news articles, press releases, blog posts - and extract meaning form them and analyzes mobile and desktop software platforms used to communicate, various metadata (such as geo location), and automation tools. In overall placement, @DevOpsSummit ranked as the number one ‘DevOps Influencer' followed by @CloudExpo at third, and @MicroservicesE at 24th.
Mar. 25, 2017 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 10,337
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership abi...
Mar. 25, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 11,007
The essence of cloud computing is that all consumable IT resources are delivered as services. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Yung Chou, Technology Evangelist at Microsoft, demonstrated the concepts and implementations of two important cloud computing deliveries: Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS). He discussed from business and technical viewpoints what exactly they are, why we care, how they are different and in what ways, and the strategies for IT to transi...
Mar. 25, 2017 05:00 AM EDT Reads: 6,120