Retrace Power User Tips and Tricks – Extending APM

By: jmichaelis
  |  May 2, 2023
Retrace Power User Tips and Tricks – Extending APM

Retrace is the full lifecycle APM solution that includes tools and capabilities far beyond your typical APM tool. With sophisticated log management, detailed code tracing, deployment tracking and more, Retrace delivers what your DevOps team needs most to resolve issues before impacting users.

By extending usability beyond traditional APM functionality, Retrace provides greater value than competitive products. But where would Retrace be without robust APM functionality?

Users rely on Retrace to optimize application performance in ways that are simply better or more efficient than other tools. Next up in our Power User Tips and Tricks series, let’s turn our attention to Tracked Functions and Key Transactions. These are two core APM capabilities that power users leverage to ensure great app performance and set Retrace apart from other tools.

Tracked Functions

By default, Retrace tracks the performance of dozens of different common application dependencies and frameworks. These include things like SQL databases, MongoDB, Elasticsearch, Redis, external REST services and much more. But what if you want to track and report on something else, like a specific key business transaction? This is where Tracked Functions come in.

Tracked Functions allows you to drill in on a specific transaction with increased detail and granularity. Capturing additional detail is great for troubleshooting and supports more accurate reporting of a transaction or business function. By generating reports using Tracked Functions, users are presented the key transaction data they’re looking for, without having to search through everything else being monitored in their applications.

Users implement Tracked Functions by simply wrapping the specific block of code they want to trace with Retrace. The process is a little different depending on your programming language and is described in our documentation. The Tracked Functions tab of each App Dashboard presents a list all the Tracked Functions for each app.

Our Retrace Engineering team implements Tracked Functions for improved reporting around Elasticsearch (ES), a technology we rely on under the hood for Error and Log tracking. Since the codebase that executes against Elasticsearch is in one central location, we are able to instrument our code through Tracked Functions to report our ES Queries to Retrace. Improved reporting on these specific queries is vital for our team to know if our application is performing well.

Key Transactions

Key Transactions enable users to focus reporting and monitoring on requested actions (URLs), SQL Queries or Tracked Functions. Much like Tracked Functions, Key Transactions generates separate reports on specific metrics, simplifying troubleshooting and pinpointing the cause of issues. For most applications, separately monitoring these critical transactions is essential to proactively maintaining optimum performance.

Internally, we configure numerous alerts in Retrace on Key Transactions related to the ingestion of log and metric data. Since Retrace monitors all Web Requests, our out-of-the-box APM services obviously help. However, separately monitoring our most business-critical transactions with Key Transactions has helped us countless times to identify and fix performance issues long before our users report problems.

When you go to the Advanced Settings for a Web Request or SQL Query and mark it as a “Key Transaction,” these transactions will display as separate monitors under the Monitoring Tab of the App Dashboard:

From there you can easily set up thresholds for alerting, just like any other monitor. Be sure to check out the documentation on configuration tips.

While a lot of APM tools do a fine job with core APM functionality, we take a different approach. Retrace simplifies everything you expect from an APM tool, plus more. Retrace provides the features and functionality you need most for creating, deploying and maximizing application performance.

As digital transformation continues to amplify the impact applications have on business success, developers carry greater responsibility. To ensure maximum application performance and business success, developers need more from APM. Isn’t it time you checked out Retrace full lifecycle APM?

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