web application availability

How to monitor your web application availability

Iryne Somera Developer Tips, Tricks & Resources

How do you execute an effective web application availability monitoring? All stakeholders should monitor to ensure that web app’s availability is not compromised. Great design and excellent user experience are put to waste if your web app is not accessible. 

Let’s establish first how web application monitoring works. 


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What is application availability monitoring?

A web application, regardless of its type (whether it’s a SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS), requires 24/7 and 365 days a year availability. For example, a software development collaboration tool is expected to be running crashes on a Monday. It is the first day of the week and everyone will be checking on their messages, tasks, and deliverables to have a smooth start of the week. 

The impact is severe. It does not only jeopardize the business owner of that collaboration tool but all the businesses that are using it. Oftentimes, availability monitoring is bundled with Application Performance Management(APM) solutions and other monitoring tools. It provides notifications, alerts, and other important information when issues arise.

Hence, we can define web application availability monitoring as the process of checking the application’s online availability, functionalities, speed, and performance. 

How APMs help application availability monitoring

As mentioned above, monitoring services provide web application availability monitoring. There are different types of monitoring solutions, but in dealing with availability, APM solutions are the go-to solution.

APMs help organizations save valuable productivity time and revenue. Most organizations and businesses incorporate APMs in their software development and enterprise architecture. These organizations may opt for APMs that offer on-prem or as-a-service delivery options. But the main goal is to get a bird’s eye view of business applications to resolve performance issues and quickly find root causes to avoid disrupting critical business processes.

Retrace by Stackify is a robust APM solution that provides centralized logging, full-transaction tracing, error tracking, and many others.  Its features help organizations achieve effective monitoring. Also, it helps quantify the speed and efficiency of the business-critical applications to ensure a seamless user experience. 

Determine the key types of web applications availability monitoring services

To help monitor your web application availability, it is best to learn first the types of web applications availability monitoring tools. 

Here are three major key types to look into:

Server Availability

Server availability is the type of monitoring that can detect if certain servers are available. For instance, some tools specifically deal with website hosting servers, external servers, databases, and mail services. It is sometimes called “uptime” monitoring. It can also detect advanced services such as DNS, FTP, and SSL availability.

API Monitoring

API monitoring is the process of checking on Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). This is mostly done in staging and production to gain greater visibility into availability, performance, and correct functionalities. 

API development and API monitoring is a broad process that requires specific tools. However, the concept of web application availability monitoring still applies to API monitoring. There are web application monitoring tools designed to help developers analyze the performance of an application and improve poorly performing APIs. 

These tools provide calculations and metrics into how long a routine takes to execute, and the total time spent per API transaction execution. For example, you have a website that offers weather forecasting and gets information from a weather API. API monitoring tools can provide data such as the frequency called, geolocation on where it is called from, and even determine user segmentation. 

Above all, monitoring tools help developers answer these key availability questions: 

  • Are the APIs up and running? 
  • How are the APIs behaving? 
  • Are the APIs functionalities working properly? 

Remember, if APIs fail, your application fails. 

In the web development trend, APIs fuel modern applications toward digital transformation. This has become the building blocks to gain revenue and improve marketability status in the modern digital age. As a result, most web applications use APIs for critical business processes. This is where monitoring tools play as heroes; it helps business leaders understand its essence. They don’t need to know what’s going on behind the scenes with each API endpoint or API transaction, monitoring tools clear those blind spots in terms of web app’s availability and performance.

Performance Monitoring

Performance monitoring is also considered availability checking. This type of monitoring refers to the totality of your web app performance from browser checks and full-page functionality. Tools such as APM provide reports on how your web application is performing as a whole and check how its line-by-line code works. It detects simple issues related to scripts, timeouts up to complex dev ops performance.

Why should you use web apps monitoring software?

Whether you opt to use a web app traffic monitor, error tracer and analytic tools, or a more robust APM, one thing is certain — the availability of your web app can make or break your business operations.

Here are some of the few key answers to the question above.

  • Web app availability monitoring tools provide an accurate indicator of how your web application is performing.
  • These monitoring tools provide alerts during the web app’s downtime to resolve the issues quickly.
  • It gives you a heads-up of potential problems with performance and functionalities. For instance, an API link broke. An alert will help mitigate the issue faster to help your users and prevent greater revenue loss.

Top 5 Key Features for Performance Monitoring Tools to consider

Availability is not application accessibility. Your web app can be up and running but has several broken functionalities. Hence, here are some key features to help you perform web application availability monitoring: 

1. End-User Experience Monitoring

The primary reason why organizations use APMs is the end-user experience. It gathers information on the user’s interaction with the application and helps identify any issues that provide a negative impact on the end user’s experience.

As businesses embrace the cloud, it’s vital to find a tool that can monitor the application’s availability both on-prem and hosted applications. Also, consider tools that allow real-time configuration that provides instant changes to the apps, network links, or external servers without compromising the end-user experience.

2. Runtime Application Architecture Discovery

The complexity of the new generation applications hinders discovering and displaying all the components that contribute to application performance assessment. It became a hefty task. However, web availability monitoring tools are not lagging. APMs and tools such as Prefix from Stackify provide real-time insight into the application coding status. This is the best tool that visualizes coding effectively as you profile and test your code as you write it. 

3. User-Defined Transaction Profiling

The availability of an application can also be connected to user-defined transactions. Some profilers help developers trace events as they occur across the various components. This is relevant especially during memory leaks or worse, downtime. It provides information of where and when events are occurring, and whether they are occurring as frequently as possible that may trigger a longer downtime jeopardizing the revenue generation of the system.

4. Component Deep-Dive Monitoring

Every web app component plays an important role in the overall performance of the application. Component deep-dive monitoring is an in-depth understanding of the components. APMs and monitoring tools offer ways to conduct in-depth monitoring of the resources being used. Also, it provides logs and events occurrence and even the overall application performance infrastructure.

5. Analytics and Log Monitoring

APM with analytics and logging features allow to:

• Set a performance baseline using the current and historical performance data. 

• Quickly identify, pinpoint, and eliminate application performance issues based on historical performance data and set expectations on how an application should behave during peak or normal workload.

The Virtual Offerings of Stackify Retrace

APMs and other monitoring tools provide key performance metrics. One important metric is availability monitoring. These tools can be installed or deployed independently. Once installed, you’ll gain at-a-glance access to data, logs, error traces about how every aspect of your web application is faring.

To save on valuable productivity time and revenue, Stackify Retrace is a solution that provides you with a 360-degree view of business applications. It helps resolve performance problems and find root causes before they disrupt critical services.

RUM

Real User Monitoring (RUM) is a performance monitoring feature that captures and analyzes web app user transactions. RUM gauges user experience, specifically key metrics like load time and transaction paths. Most APMs include RUM as an important component of their services. Furthermore, it offers these features:

  • End-to-end monitoring
  • Reduced time to resolution
  • Improved user experience

Application and Server Monitoring

This monitoring is done to prevent problems before it disrupts critical services and violate service level agreement (SLA). 

  • Application Server Monitoring
  • Component-level Monitoring
  • Transaction Tracing
  • Web Server Monitoring
  • Message Queue Monitoring

Real-time Error Tracking

  • Track all errors
  • Monitor Error Rates
  • Email and SMS Notification

Deployment Tracking

  • Validate Deployments
  • Identify Application Changes
  • Track Deployment Across Environments

Manage critical processes to enhance application availability and performance

Web application availability monitoring is often set aside and referred to as part of the overall performance assessment. Indeed it is.  However, availability monitoring is not just checking the availability per se. For example, monitoring the availability of a web application inside an intranet infrastructure requires tools. These tools on the web are called watcher nodes. They can monitor URLs of a website or methods of a web service. 

This is also possible with externally-facing web application endpoints. The possibilities are endless for web applications monitoring. Stackify Retrace is an APM with a wide array of features. It has user-friendly dashboards to visualize application status, you can trace your code, track errors, and track SLAs. Finally, you can use the extensive alert features to determine the severity of the problem and the specific causes of errors in your application.

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About Iryne Somera

Iryne Somera is a professor in the Department of Computer Engineering. She loves to research and write articles related to computing technology such as Computer Hardware Fundamentals, Management Information Systems, Software Development and Project Management. In her spare time, she loves to experiment in her kitchen with her healthy breakfast ideas.