Server Monitoring for Applications

What is Server Monitoring?

Server monitoring can refer to a range of different tools and approaches for monitoring the performance of web and application servers. At its most basic, server monitoring means collecting machine- and infrastructure-level metrics like Disk I/O, throughput, CPU utilization, and memory usage. These metrics help operations teams get a pulse on their infrastructure, but they fall short when it comes to finding, isolating and troubleshooting problems that originate in the application code.

AppDynamics is an application performance management solution that provides all the metrics of server monitoring tools in addition to the troubleshooting capabilities of APM software.

Key Benefits

  • Visualize server health and map your application topology
  • Monitor key server metrics and trend performance over time
  • Troubleshoot slow performance by drilling down to code level detail
  • Fix bottlenecks before they affect your end users

Server Monitoring Tools Can't Do Automatic Application Discovery

AppDynamics automatically detects, instruments, and maps your application topology, showing you where the latency exists between your different application tiers.


Server Monitoring Tools Lack Business Transaction Context

Another advantage of application monitoring over server monitoring is its ability to understand Business Transactions. With Business Transaction context, it's much easier to prioritize which performance bottlenecks are critical based on which transactions they affect.


Agentless Server Monitors Can't Do Call Stack Traces

One of the biggest limitations of server monitoring software is that they can't offer code-level insight into performance bottlenecks. Because AppDynamics sits inside the application container, it can deliver class and method-level detail around performance bottlenecks, making it easier than ever to identify and fix problems.


Server Monitoring Tools Use Basic Alerting Thresholds

Many server monitoring tools have alerting capabilities, but your alerts are only as good as the as the thresholds they're triggered on. When you set static alerts they are usually set either to high or too low. This causes either too few or too many alerts that eventually get discarded because they are inaccurate. With AppDynamics, you get alerts on application, Business Transaction and infrastructure metrics, based on algorithms that calculate deviation from normal behavior so you only get alerts when they really matter.

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Other Types of Server Monitoring

Server monitoring can refer to a number of different types of tools:

  • Physical server monitoring monitors the physical environment of the server, including temperature, humidity, liquid presence, motion, and more. These are useful for managing large data centers.
  • Infrastructure-level server monitoring provides Disk I/O, CPU Utilization, memory and other metrics from the Operating System.
  • Network-level server monitoring shows network time between servers and usually includes application mapping capabilities. This is often accomplished with a physical device that sits on the network and examines packets.
  • Application server monitoring refers to monitoring tools that sit in the application container such as the JVM or CLR. These tools can pull JMX metrics and Perfmon counters such as heap utilization, garbage collection, process-specific CPU, etc. but don't have the code execution details, flow maps, or Business Transactions you find in full-fledged application performance management software.

More About Server Monitoring

AppDynamics Lite collects many of the same metrics as server monitoring tools, such as:

  • Disk I/O
  • Memory
  • CPU Utilization

In addition, AppDynamics offers the following functionalities above and beyond what server monitoring tools do:

  • Automated application discovery and mapping
  • Business Transaction context
  • Dynamic deep-dive diagnostics
  • Proactive analytics-based alerting