Enterprise mobile solutions are only useful if they work.
When cloud applications are running smoothly and data is moving easily from the user to the cloud and back again, enterprise mobile solutions are efficient and can seem almost magical. But when they fail, they can be a big headache and stall essential business processes.
That’s why application performance management (APM (News - Alert)) is an essential part of any enterprise mobile solution. It is crucial that businesses have a real-time awareness of the health of their mobile solutions so operations can continue to flow smoothly.
“Traditional measures of software are about capacity, utilization and throughput: CPU, memory, disk and network,” noted Matt Heusser in a recent blog post on the topic of APM. “Monitoring all of them doesn't tell you anything about what the user is actually experiencing until there's a serious problem.”
APM basically is all about keeping an eye on the application or Web service to ensure that it is functioning as required, not just how much CPU capacity is being used. When something goes wrong, IT can be notified immediately so the problem can be resolved without much or any real disruption.
Implementing APM can take two forms: Either an off-the-shelf solution, or a homegrown monitoring effort based on logs.
For many enterprises with relatively simple mobile solutions, the homegrown solution can be enough.
Implementing APM for enterprise mobile solutions starts with log files.
“Most Web applications produce log files,” noted Heusser. “With a little work, the programmers can change the log files to spit out both the URL accessed and the total time to load that resource. That measurement does not include the time from leaving your corporate network, or the time to render on the client's machine; but it is an approximation for how long your software takes to load a Web page, end to end.”
With this data, businesses can get a real-time health checkup of their system, helping to see when there are slowdowns that need to be addressed. This can help avoid downtime, and help IT know when to take action.
But of course these logs are only useful if they are able to generate meaningful feedback, so the second crucial component is creating a dashboard to show performance metrics culled from logs.
There are several formats and tools that can be used to create dashboards, including some that are available as a Web service. What businesses need to look for are dashboard solutions that are pluggable, making it easy to add to metrics as the business evolves. The dashboard also needs to be clear and easy to use.
The cloud is a beautiful thing, but only when it works. So any business that relies on the cloud or has a mobile solutions strategy needs to make sure it also has some form of APM. If it doesn’t, it is like going through life without health insurance.