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Practical Monitoring by Mike Julian

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Chapter 7. Application Monitoring

I’ve seen many companies with robust monitoring on their server infrastructure, great security monitoring, and a very capable network monitoring strategy—yet their applications are an unknowable black box. This always strikes me as odd, since most organizations are changing their applications more often than they are changing anything else, which means visibility into the performance of those applications should be of high importance.

I think it’s mostly because many teams think application monitoring is too hard or requires some highly specialized skillset. Thankfully, neither is true, and this chapter will help you on your way to having high visibility into your applications.

Instrumenting Your Apps with Metrics

One of the most powerful things you can do in monitoring is also one of the most overlooked things: instrumenting your own applications. Why would you want to do this? Easy: your apps have a ton of valuable information about their performance, many of which will allow you to move from reactive to proactive in maintaining that performance.

One common fear I’ve heard is that it’s difficult and time-consuming to add metrics to apps, but I’m here to tell you neither are true. As with all things, starting simple is the key: what about timing how long database queries take? Or how long some external vendor API takes to respond? Or how many logins happen throughout the day?

Once you start instrumenting your app, it becomes addictive. App metrics ...

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