Welcome!

FinTech Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Yeshim Deniz, Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @DevOpsSummit

FinTech Journal: Article

Monitoring By @SolarWinds | @CloudExpo #APM #ML #Monitoring #DevOps

Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL create mass monitoring confusion and are routinely considered ‘hard to reach’

Monitoring Those Hard to Reach Places: Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL

Today's IT environments are increasingly heterogeneous, with Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL considered nearly as common as traditional Windows environments. In many cases, these platforms have been integrated into an organization's Windows-based IT department by way of an acquisition of a company that leverages one of those platforms. In other cases, the applications may have been part of the IT department for years, but managed by a separate department or singular administrator.

Still, whether it's a perception of required specialization, frustration over these platforms' many version permutations or just general uncertainty and doubt, Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL create mass monitoring confusion and are routinely considered "hard to reach" for even a seasoned IT professional. This problem goes both ways (when monitoring Windows is actually the unnatural element) but for the most part, IT shops are primarily Windows-based and consistently struggle to monitor these more niche platforms.

Of course, it's certainly possible for IT professionals who are proficient in Linux, Java, Oracle or MySQL to successfully monitor these platforms with their own command-line scripts or native tools - many even enjoy manually writing code and command scripts to monitor these instances - but this strategy will ultimately increase the organization's likelihood of performance issues. Why?

First, should the IT professional tasked with creating unique code and scripts for these specialized instances ever leave the business, the organization will be vulnerable to downtime while another team member is trained on how to operate the native tool or also learns to develop command-line scripts for these platforms.

This isolated technique also exacerbates the biggest challenge of monitoring in any environment: sprawl. It may seem easier to maintain the status quo and continue operating disparate tools for the hard to reach platforms, but it ultimately adds another layer of complexity to the overarching monitoring system. Having too many monitoring tools to manage increases the chances that some will be forgotten (especially the tools used to monitor Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL instances), meaning performance issues or downtime will take much longer to remediate.

Not only that, but niche monitoring processes lack the type of sophisticated metrics that help create a more effective IT department. Here are several command lines for each specialized instance that will return basic metrics:

  • Linux command lines such as ‘top,' ‘glances' and ‘htop,' for example, will provide basic metrics like performance, CPU, memory and any pertinent errors to be aware of.
  • A ‘performance_schema' command line for MySQL on Linux will display tables of wait states and information about sessions (how many executions, how many rows are examined, etc.) to uncover inefficient queries. Rather than run command lines on the server, Oracle also offers a built-in desktop workbench that works in a similar fashion.
  • J-Console, a built-in dashboard available with Java installation, provides an overview of all tools running on the platform. It looks at heat/memory uses, classes, threads (important to monitor for security leaks), as well as CPU usage.

However, more comprehensive features like advanced alerts, dynamic baselines, correlation and detailed application metrics and availability, which ultimately help enable a more proactive and effective method of managing infrastructure and applications, will be missing from these reports.

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that administrators should not be spending more time configuring their command-line scripts or monitoring tools than they spend taking advantage of the data. Whether an administrator is monitoring Windows, or something more specialized like Linux or MySQL, an IT department will always be stuck on the reactive (troubleshooting) mode without better visibility into the health and performance of its systems and the ability to get early warnings.

By establishing monitoring as a core IT function deserving of a strategic approach, businesses can benefit from a more proactive, early-action IT management style, while also streamlining infrastructure performance, cost and security.

To create a more thoughtful, comprehensive monitoring strategy that incorporates those hard to reach places, here are several best practices IT departments should consider:

  • Create an inventory of what is being monitored. The majority of IT departments have a broad set of monitoring tools for a number of different things. Are there applications in the cloud that are monitored by one tool? Are workloads being hosted in a different data center that leverage a separate tool? Before standardizing monitoring process, organizations should create an inventory of everything they are currently monitoring and the tools being used to do so.
  • Implement a set of standards across all systems. This should be done for every workload independent of which tool is being using, and especially if an IT department is running several different tools. At the end of the day, it's impossible to optimize what isn't being measured, so it's in every IT department's bet interest to create a standard set of monitoring processes, similar to creating runbooks. What are the key metrics needed from each system? What are the situations for which alerts are needed, and how will they be acted on? Having answers to these types of questions will allow even an IT department with distributed workloads and applications to successfully monitor and ensure performance and availability. This approach also helps IT departments avoid having a "weakest link," where one team may have their own security protocol, their own network and their own firewalls that ultimately leave the organization open to security vulnerabilities.
  • Unify the view. IT departments should be have a comprehensive set of unified monitoring and management tools in order to ensure the performance of the entire application stack. Everything is important to monitor, even these hard-to-reach systems, and IT professionals should look to leverage tools that integrate monitoring for these non-standard Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL instances within a Windows environment into a single dashboard in order to cultivate a holistic view of their infrastructure.
  • Remember that monitoring should be a discipline. Traditionally, monitoring in the data center - even for more standard, Windows-based applications - has been somewhat of an afterthought. For most organizations, it's been a "a necessary evil," a resource that the IT department can leverage when there's a problem that needs solving, and often a job that's done with just a free tool, either open source or software pre-loaded by the hardware vendor. However, the concept of monitoring as a discipline is designed to help IT professionals escape the short-term reactive nature of administration, often caused by ineffective, ad hoc practices, and become more proactive and strategic.

In sum, despite the perception of Linux, Java, Oracle and MySQL instances as being "hard-to-reach places," there are many ways in which administrators can receive data about the health and performance of systems running on these applications, from running manual command-line scripts to leveraging comprehensive tools that integrate these instances in a single dashboard.

However, as the data center continues to grow in complexity, and especially as hybrid IT increases, IT professionals should look to establish the practice of monitoring as a discipline. This approach and unified monitoring that aims to turn data points from various monitoring tools into more actionable insights by looking at all of them from a holistic vantage point, rather than each disparately, coupled with the other above best practices, will allow IT administrators to ultimately increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of their data centers.

More Stories By Gerardo A Dada

Gerardo A Dada is Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy for SolarWinds’ database and applications business globally. He is a technologist who has been at the center of the Web, mobile, social and cloud revolutions at companies like Rackspace, Microsoft, Motorola, Vignette and Bazaarvoice. He has been involved with database technologies from dBase to BTrieve to SQL Server and NoSQL and DBaaS in the cloud.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
ScaleMP is the leader in virtualization for in-memory high-end computing, providing higher performance and lower total cost of ownership as compared with traditional shared-memory systems. The company's innovative Versatile SMP (vSMP) architecture aggregates multiple x86 systems into a single virtual x86 system, delivering an industry-standard, high-end shared-memory computer. Using software to replace custom hardware and components, ScaleMP offers a new, revolutionary computing paradigm. vSMP F...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
CloudEXPO has been the M&A capital for Cloud companies for more than a decade with memorable acquisition news stories which came out of CloudEXPO expo floor. DevOpsSUMMIT New York faculty member Greg Bledsoe shared his views on IBM's Red Hat acquisition live from NASDAQ floor. Acquisition news was announced during CloudEXPO New York which took place November 12-13, 2019 in New York City.
In an age of borderless networks, security for the cloud and security for the corporate network can no longer be separated. Security teams are now presented with the challenge of monitoring and controlling access to these cloud environments, at the same time that developers quickly spin up new cloud instances and executives push forwards new initiatives. The vulnerabilities created by migration to the cloud, such as misconfigurations and compromised credentials, require that security teams t...
AI and machine learning disruption for Enterprises started happening in the areas such as IT operations management (ITOPs) and Cloud management and SaaS apps. In 2019 CIOs will see disruptive solutions for Cloud & Devops, AI/ML driven IT Ops and Cloud Ops. Customers want AI-driven multi-cloud operations for monitoring, detection, prevention of disruptions. Disruptions cause revenue loss, unhappy users, impacts brand reputation etc.