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Turn on the light with Openbravo and AppDynamics!

Glowing LED bulb and simple light bulbsIt is funny to watch those TV programs in which contestants have to look for some object placed in a completely dark room full of obstacles. Spectators can see, thanks to a special camera, how contestants bump into those obstacles and move around and around the targeted object without finding it.

Managing the performance of your applications without a proper monitoring tool is a -not funny- version of this game.  Users report performance issues they are suffering from and the support team try to guess from the information provided what the problem could be.

 

For users it is very difficult to report with enough detail how to reproduce the issue, even more so if it is a problem related to concurrency. For the support team it is difficult to gather enough information about the issue. Finally, it is not funny because it leads to the frustration of everyone: the support team –they feel they are wasting their time working on false root causes- and more importantly, the users, because performance issues are solved at a very low pace if solved at all.

The bigger the size of the application and volume of users, the more difficult it is to pinpoint performance issues so the bigger the frustration generated.

Recently Openbravo has reached an agreement with AppDynamics to include their performance monitoring tool in the new Enterprise Edition of Openbravo products. The Professional Edition and all existing customers can also benefit from this agreement since they can buy it at a very convenient price. It is delivered as a pre-configured Openbravo module specially adapted to monitor Openbravo instances. Managing performance this tool is like turning on the light in the dark room, suddenly you see what is going on.

AppDynamics runs a permanent agent in your Openbravo instance that records all its activity in full detail. The agent is very light so it creates insignificant overhead on the instance (less than 2%), needed for the key objective of permanent monitoring. It allows the support guy to see in full detail what happened on the performance issue reported by the User as if it were a policeman watching a security camera recording. With this information it is possible to identify  the root cause of the problem immediately and provide a quick solution  to the problem, to the  full satisfaction of the support team and more importantly to the great satisfaction of the Users.

The ease of pinpointing performance issues so you can provide an agile response to performance issues is critically important, but it is just reactive management. There are several other key capabilities of AppDynamics that allow real proactive management of the performance of your Openbravo instance.

The first one is alerts. You can define alerts with very precise detail, so you can notify  your system administrator  before the issue impacts the operation.

But what´s more relevant, it allows continuous analysis and so continuous improvement of the performance of your instance. Through the concept of Business Transactions it simplifies the analysis by grouping together different requests into meaningful groups for analysis. Openbravo provides a preconfigured definition of those Business Transactions specially designed for Openbravo instances, and it can be extended –temporarily or permanently- for customer specific requirements.

Analysis is always more powerful when it can be done with a reference. With AppDynamics you can use three interesting references for three different purposes:

  • Compare Business Transactions in the current situation. It allows to identify what are the top transactions that create most of the workload, both individually and cumulatively. With this analysis you can define where to focus your attention for optimization (logically there is more potential for improvement on those top transactions)
  • Compare Business Transactions with a benchmark provided by Openbravo from other Openbravo instances. It allows a quick audit of the health of your instance. If your instance performs slower than the Openbravo benchmark there should be a good explanation or it should be fixed.
  • Compare Business Transactions with historical data. It allows to measure and understand how changes in the system affect performance, and take action based on it.  For example, to have an objective measure of the value delivered by some performance optimization, to confirm that some recent update improves –or at least does not degrade- instance performance, to verify that some new functionality or integration performs as expected without impacting other business flows, etc.

There is even more value that you can take from this permanent monitoring of your Openbravo instance. From this information you can understand how your staff are using the system, and it can lead to very interesting insights on how to optimize your business processes. I will be elaborating on this concept in a future blog post.

Do not hesitate, turn on the light and enjoy managing the performance of your Openbravo instance with AppDynamics!

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4 Comments

  1. JH
    November 7, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Recently we added New Relic to a few servers. The agent is really easy to install. Does the Openbravo agent for AppDynamics provide specific Openbravo functionality our are the metrics generic server, java and database metrics that come out of the box?

  2. November 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM

    AppDynamics agent is installed in a similar way than the one for New Relic.

    AppDynamics for Openbravo is a commercial module which delivers a preconfigured [1] set of “Business Transactions” and “Data Collectors” to be applied to the AppDynamics controller, this preconfiguration is designed to detect and gather information for the common Openbravo requests.

    [1] http://wiki.openbravo.com/wiki/AppDynamics_Overview#Default_Settings

  3. JH
    November 11, 2014 at 8:44 PM

    Thanks Asier. That looks really good!

  4. […] week we had the opportunity to meet our partners again in a new webinar talking about Openbravo Performance Monitoring. The topic of course created  a lot of interest and we were able to count with the presence of […]

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