by June 29, 2007 0 comments

For any organization it is important to know the methods which will improve
the overall performance of their critical applications. For this, a deep
understanding of various factors influencing the performance is critical. If an
organization only relies on superficial capabilities for performance management,
then it will never be able to go to the core of the issue. Most organizations
including govt. agencies for their regular day to day work involve networked
applications. If any business critical application gets interrupted, it will
directly have an impact on the revenues or productivity of that organization.

An application performance monitoring tool is basically a piece of software
that monitors, diagnoses and informs about the problems that slow down the
applications you are running. Application performance relates to the speed as in
how fast transactions are completed or the information is getting delivered to
the end user by the application via a particular network, application and Web
services infrastructure.

For collecting client side application performance information there are
basically 3 types of products available. One of the products is management
software along with distributed agents which are deployed on client machines to
capture performance data. Another one is the monitoring software which collects
performance metrics across an infrastructure. Last but not the least there are
applications which monitor traffic and capture metrics, such as response time,
while users interact with the applications.

Even Windows has its own monitoring tool, popularly known as ‘Perfmon’. It is
largely used for system monitoring, but can also be used for monitoring
applications. To use Perfmon from the Windows menu, choose run and type perfmon.
This will open a Windows performance monitor application. Here select System
Monitor and click on Add button on the tool bar. This will open Add Counter
dialog box, here choose whether you want to monitor an application on the local
computer or on a remote machine. To choose an application you need to click on
the drop down menu of performance objects. This will show all installed
applications on the machine, let’s create a sample monitor for an ASP.NET
application. You can see all available counters for ASP.NET applications in the
select counters list. Choose the counters of application which you want to
monitor and click on Add. You can also see details of a counter by clicking on
the Explain button. That’s it and you are now monitoring performance of your
ASP.NET applications. You can also see counter logs and alerts under performance
log and Alerts option. Now, this is the basic approach to applications
performance monitoring. In this article, we have covered some of the important
application management tools and how they help you to determine the main reason
for the dip in performance of a particular application.

NetIQ AppManager suite
Enterprises demand productivity and visibility of their system management
solution and at the same time it should be capable of adopting and exploiting
next generation technologies. NetIQ AppManager caters to this particular need of
the enterprise. It provides the critical foundation needed for safely adopting
and exploiting new-age applications, such as, VMware ESX server, Microsoft
SharePoint and Exchange Server 2007, BlackBerry Enterprise Server, Oracle Grid
Computing and Cisco or Nortel IP Telephony (VoIP) solutions.

NetIQ AppManager is designed to manage a variety of components from physical
hardware to server applications to end user response. It also helps IT
organizations to reconcile systems and application events with the impact to end
user services, and hence making prioritization of work easier and better. It
provides a deep management view of any cross platform infrastructure and has
about 65 applications and services available across Windows, Linux, VoIP and
network devices. Via the AppManager Control centre, you can get a visual
representation of IT resources mapped to business applications and services.
Hence you can easily figure out the ownership and headcount for all elements,
the services depend on, as well as understand how element failures impact
services. Standard scripting languages such as XML, VBA and Perl etc is used by

Prerequisites for AppManager Suite are .NET Framework 1.1 SP1 for Windows
2003 along with Visual Basic 6 SP6. Other key prerequisites include, BITS
Client, Microsoft Mdac, Microsoft .NET Framework, XML Parser. You need to make
sure that you have IIS service manager running on your system along with BITS.

Define various deployment rules for packages
like IIS, Exchange 2007, SQL Server etc. You can also view their status,
along with rule summary

How to implement the AppManager
Once you have installed the AppManager, you can go to the Control Center and
start managing a group of computers. Start with logging into the Control Center
repository database. The Control Centre is where you do most of the work to
manage the systems on your network. In the navigation pane, you can view the
deployment packages, rules, and deployment tasks. To manage servers and
workstations from Control Centre console, your first need is to identify the
computers and applications using discovery option. Now you can create a
management group by right clicking the AppManager icon. You can add the members
which are eventually the computers you want to include under the management

Under the Deployment tab, you can view what all packages, rules and
deployment tasks are available. Select the packages you want to deploy, from
Packages option. It will show you the names of various packages, such as
AppManager for Active Directory, AppManager for Microsoft Internet Information
Services. Under the Rule tab you can set rule for various packages and check
there status whether they are enabled or disabled, installed or not, and what
are these packages meant to do. Suppose you want to setup rules for IIS then,
you will need to give a rule name and a brief description. After that you need
to select the packages, for which you want to set the rules. You can also do
pre-deployment check, which will check for all the prerequisites. If a certain
package requires further configuration, it will be prompted on the screen and
you will need to install the other required components. Then, you will need to
specify the account information and authentication credentials to allow files to
be installed. After configuring the credentials, you will need to choose target
computers to install the files. You can choose from options like agents, domain,
specific computers, computer list file, and management groups. Once you have
made the choice, you can further add filters, like inclusion filter and
exclusion filters. Then you need to specify the deployment Service along with
deployment Schedule. You also have the option to get notification on successful
deployment via e-mail for which you need configured SMTP server. Finally, you
will get a summarized report consisting of all the parameters that you have set
for the package. Deployment Task tab shows all the deployment tasks that have
been generated by the deployment Service. Another tab is Software Inventory,
which shows the AppManager agents and modules that have been installed on each
computer. It provides you with vital details, like computer name, application
name, version and which platform it is running.

Symantec Veritas
Application Performance Management
Symantec Veritas Application Management tool
allows you to manage all business critical applications, which can affect
business, if not functioning in the optimum manner. It caters to almost all
verticals ranging from ERP and CRM to Database and Storage to Web and
Middleware and also enables you to check the reliability of an application.
We mainly emphasized on SQL Server’s performance management using one of the
i3 for SQL server package which comes under database and storage management.
The basic functionality of this tool is to improve the response time of the
end user by monitoring database and storage application. It not just
monitors your applications, it also enables you to analyze the performance
of the application and if required you can tune it as per requirement.

After the deployment task is done, you can also see how many repositories are
configured and can manage each one of them. All you need to do here is to click
on the Repository option and either modify the previous one or add a new one.
Security can only be managed by the administrator, where in he can grant full
permission or restrict permission to selected groups. Now coming to the
management part of it, management group gives you the option to either create a
new management group or an event or a job or a knowledge script or a server view
or a service map. To create a new management group select the option for
creating the new management group, give it a name and add the member, whom you
want to manage; it can be an IIS, or an SQL server or a VoIP. Then define a
policy for it and finally define the security parameters. Once you have done
all, you are ready to manage that group. You will be able to see the details of
all the events and jobs and also how many members are there in all. For jobs
details, you can go to the newly created jobs and see what the status of these
particular jobs is; you can also stop a currently running application or start
it all over again. It will also provide information, like the knowledge script
or user of that particular job, enterprise job ID, last run time and stop time.
You will be able to check the severity status along with the maintenance
status-what all jobs are running on it and to which repository they belong to
etc. In the pane below, you can check the events details, jobs details and other
details, such as CPU utilization, memory utilization, network, etc.

LivePerf can monitor distributed applications across various Operating
Systems. It supports both agent based and agent-less monitoring. It can be used
for monitoring Windows applications, MS SQL server, Oracle MySQL, Websphere,
Weblogic, Apache, JBoss, etc. In agent-less monitoring, it lets you create
process-based providers that can run command line tools with the use of rexec
utility or telnet or ssh2. These providers are designed for collecting chunks of
data and to send them to the LivePerf’s main console. It also sends visual
alerts, e-mails in case of a warning or failure and can be configured to run a
script or execute an application automatically incase of a failure.

Using LivePerf for monitoring MS SQL Server
Running LivePerf is simple. Just unzip the LivePerf package and open the
command prompt. Go to the location where you have unzipped the LivePerf files.
Now, run the console.bat file, this will open the GUI console of LivePref. Now
to monitor applications for their performance, you need to create a Monitoring
Session. To do this from the menu bar, click on the New Session button. This
will open a |new window asking you to add hosts you want to monitor. Here,
either provide the IP addresses of the hosts or the host names. Now your
monitoring session is ready.

LivePerf lets you choose which events of MS
SQL you want to monitor, before you activate its agents

Next thing you need to do is to add agents-right click on the monitoring
session and choose Add Agents. This will open all activate agents on the Host
window. Here you will find all types of performance monitors supported by the
LivePref. From the Databases option choose MS SQL Server, now it will ask you to
provide MS SQL ‘sa’ password and what components you want to monitor. Choose the
components you want to monitor
and click on activate agents. Now click on Run Session option. At this point
agents will start gathering data and send it to main console at specified
intervals. LivePref also lets you save a session and reload it later on.

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