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How to monitor end-user performance over the cloud

Guide to creating a SaaS-based early warning system for applications using HP Application Performance Management (APM) Software and points of presence from HP SaaS BAC Anywhere service.

Businesses face growing demands to maintain high levels of availability for applications and websites. Outages and performance degradations of external-facing applications quickly lead to lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction, wasted productivity and financial liabilities when service level obligations are not met. When a problem occurs, time is of the essence: application owners need to be able to rapidly detect, diagnose and resolve issues.

At the same time, IT organizations are able to roll out applications and websites at a faster clip than ever before. As the number of enterprise business applications and services increase, so does the level of complexity for monitoring and managing them. Between trends in mobile, social and cloud computing, it is essential that IT and application operation support staff have access to information that allows them to quickly assess why a site becomes unavailable or is experiencing slow response times.

What makes monitoring outside the firewall different

Performance monitoring of cloud-based applications operating outside the firewall requires a different approach to overcome a range of complexities, including:

  • Contracting with various Internet service providers (ISPs)
  • Installing and maintaining hardware
  • Managing the monitoring Points of Presence (POPs)
  • Ensuring a highly available and scalable environment
  • Addressing security concerns
  • Investment required to staff and manage this implementation on a 24/7 basis

This guide demonstrates how HP SaaS points of presence enable proactive synthetic end-user monitoring over the cloud from multiple locations across a globally diverse network—from major ISPs and mobile carriers—and integrate the data into your own HP APM report, helping to reduce key blind spots for critical applications outside your data center.

How HP SaaS points of presence work

Deploying HP SaaS points of presence is a simple and cost-effective way to monitor the performance of cloud-based applications outside the firewall. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Instant-on—Points of presence are pre-deployed and ready to use
  • Subscription-based—Points of presence are offered as a service and do not require additional investment in infrastructure and staff to manage an implementation
  • On-demand—Change and update your HP SaaS points of presence allocations
  • Uses familiar technology—HP SaaS points of presence seamlessly integrate with your own HP APM Software console, alongside existing Business Process Monitors (BPM).

Over time, application owners can build a baseline of normal application performances and trends from different network providers and geographies, and compare application availability and responsiveness. When a problem occurs, you can triage at the application level or the ISP.

In this scenario, the same application is monitored from two points of presence in San Francisco, alongside other customer locations (New York and Singapore). The performance data is reported into the same Application profile in HP APM:

  • San Francisco, CA AT&T is connected to AT&T broadband
  • San Francisco, CA AT&T_Mobile is connected to AT&T Wireless (Mobile Internet)

1 Connecting SaaS BPM points of presence

First, application owners need to integrate HP SaaS points of presence into their APM Software Administration console, alongside their existing BPMs, so that they can start assigning synthetic end user monitor scripts, transactions, schedules and thresholds.

On the HP SaaS console, select and connect SaaS BPM points of presence (Figure 1):

HP SaaS console

Fig. 1

On the APM console, SaaS BPM points of presence—the second and third items in Figure 2—appear alongside existing BPMs, so you can start using them as your own:

APM console

Fig. 2

Now HP SaaS BPMs continuously and proactively monitor and report application performance & availability. Over time, application owners begin to understand how the application performs from different users’ locations, allowing them to build a performance baseline.

2. Identifying specific problematic points within an application

HP APM software is configured to notify designated support operations personnel when Application performance begins to deteriorate (Figure 3). The Health Indicators tab provides details of the performance degradation.

Health Indicators tab

Fig. 3

3. Identifying differences in end-users’ locations

When monitoring applications at a global scale, it is critical to understand how users in different locations experience different performance levels. By integrating HP SaaS points of presence, this comparison is tracked. In Figure 4, line 2 and 3 are SaaS monitor location, compared with application performance data from customer internal BPM locations, lines 1, 4 and 5.

SaaS monitor location vs application performance data

Fig. 4

4. Identifying why the application performance is inconsistent

APM Performance Status Reports allow application owners to compare monitoring data on wired vs. wireless connectivity from inside your applications data center or company locations as well as SaaS points of presence.

Beginning with high level reports of application performance status, application owners can drill down into views of the data by application, transaction or locations, enabling you to identify problematic transactions or locations that need further investigation (Figure 5).

Reports of application performance status

Fig. 5

With a comprehensive view of application performance from the perspectives of the server as well as your end users, application owners can identify why client and download times are slow, and identify which elements within the site are causing the delays.

For example, comparing the application performance data from both internal and SaaS points of presence side-by-side on the same report (Figure 6) makes it easy to identify that download times are slower from San Francisco than those from internal locations in Singapore.

Internal and SaaS points of presence report

Fig. 6

You can then drill down to isolate the cause of the performance problem (Figure 7), which in this case is due to localized network delays in San Francisco.

Drill down

Fig. 7

Finding answers faster

Connecting HP SaaS points of presence to HP APM software provides instant insight into ISP and wireless performance and availability from outside your application data center. It also delivers greater visibility into mobile app performance broken out by location, carrier & synthetic users transaction, all of which drives a faster analysis of root cause.

Learn more

Find out how HP SaaS BAC Anywhere points of presence can support your application performance monitoring efforts.