Gain insight into your infrastructure with Server Visibility

February 24 2016

To succeed in today’s hyper-competitive and fast-changing marketplace, enterprises must pursue digital transformation leveraging software to deliver and support their products and services — with the goal of creating an ideal user experience and maximizing business agility and efficiency. To provide excellent end-user experience, enterprises need to manage their applications end-to-end including their dependencies on the underlying server infrastructure to deliver exceptional experience.

AppDynamics Server Visibility, a new module of the AppDynamics Application Intelligence platform, provides an application-centric view of servers in the context of business transactions. This helps IT Ops teams proactively isolate and resolve application performance issues faster with actionable, correlated application-server metrics. It complements end-user monitoring, application performance management, and database visibility modules to provide a comprehensive, end-to-end view of the entire application ecosystem.

Server Visibility provides an entire view into CPU, memory, disk, networking, and running processes metrics for Linux and Windows servers. In my blog announcing the beta of this solution in June 2015, I reviewed some of the key features.

In this blog, I will provide review a couple of use cases where application support personnel or a developer may use the new Server Visibility module in conjunction with the AppDynamics APM solution to quickly isolate and resolve an application performance issue.

Drill down from application flow map to Server Visibility dashboard

Customers can drill down from the application flow map to the server dashboard and see the detailed server metrics in case the server issues are impacting the performance between two application tiers.

Let me review a scenario where the application flow map shows calls between two tiers are taking longer than normal. In Fig 1 below, we can see that the E-Commerce tier is having some problems since half of the tier has turned red. Pretty obvious, right? We can also see on the right-hand, the server health indicator shows critical response time.

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Fig 1: Application Flow Map with Server health indicator showing issues

Clicking on the E-Commerce Services tier, you will notice a new tab called “Servers” which will show you the list of servers (as you can see in Fig 2) on which the nodes under this tier are running. You will notice that health indicator for both servers have turned red.

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Fig 2: List of servers supporting an application shown in the flow map

Clicking on any server, you will get to a server dashboard (Fig 3) with an indicator of server health, key performance indicators, server properties and top 10 processes consuming CPU and memory.

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Fig 3: Server Visibility Dashboard

Here you can clearly see that CPU consumption has often been reaching 100%, and may be contributing to application performance issue at the E-Commerce tier. From the server dashboard, customers can also go to other tabs with detailed information on attached storage, network, and processes for additional details required for troubleshooting.

Troubleshoot server-related performance issue by drilling down from transaction snapshot

AppDynamics enables enterprises to proactively track lagging application performance, troubleshoot the root cause, and resolve them before they impact their customers. Let’s look at the use case of troubleshooting server related application performance issue by drilling down from business transaction snapshot following the same E-Commerce application scenario (Fig 1) discussed in last use case.

As you can see in the transaction scorecard shown in Fig 1, 26 of the transactions are very slow. To troubleshoot the root cause of these very slow transactions, you can simply click on the very slow transactions in the transaction scorecard to go to the list of transaction snapshots.

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Fig 4: Transaction Snapshot

Looking at the transaction snapshot taken at 4:12 PM on 01/20/16, you’ll see the snapshot details as shown in Fig 4 above. You can now drill down further into the calls at the E-Commerce server to troubleshoot the root cause. Clicking again will bring up a more granular view and take you to the snapshot details showing a call graph and another tab for server details as shown below in Fig 5.

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Fig 5: Transaction Snapshot drill down

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Fig 6: Transaction Snapshot drill down

By clicking on the server tab, you will reach the server dashboard (as shown below in Fig 6) with an indicator of server health, key performance indicators, server properties and top 10 processes consuming CPU and memory. Here you can clearly see that CPU consumption has been maxing out, which can be contributing to the very slow transaction.

You can further drill down to see which processes are consuming CPU cycles by scrolling down to take a look at top 10 processes consuming CPU. As you can see in Fig 7 below, the antivirus process is consuming approximately 70 of CPU cycles contributing to the slowness of the business transaction, ultimately affecting the end-user.

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Fig 7: Transaction Snapshot

Hopefully, this gives you an overview of use cases how the new Server Visibility module can be used in conjunction with the AppDynamics APM solution to isolate quickly and resolve an application performance issue.

Interested in learning more about Server Visibility? Attend our free webinar here.

Anand Akela
Anand Akela is Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management (APM) at AppDynamics. Prior to his current role, Anand was head of product marketing of APM at CA Technologies. Earlier he worked at Oracle and HP in various product marketing, product management, and engineering roles in the systems management, servers, data center energy efficiency, and enterprise software areas. Anand has more than 20 years of experience in product marketing, product management, strategic planning and software development. Anand received his MBA from The Fuqua School of Business, Duke University and a B.S. in Computer Science from Pune University in India. You can follow Anand on twitter at

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