Riding on the heels of todays announcement I’m excited to announce the Release Candidate availability of Server & Application Monitor v5.0. For those of you who may not as yet heard, Application Performance Monitor (APM) has been officially renamed Server & Application Monitor (SAM) to reflect new product features and enhancements centered around server health monitoring.

SAM 5.0 retains all the great application performance and availability monitoring you already know and love but has now grown to include server hardware health and real-time performance monitoring. All existing APM customers under active maintenance will receive the SAM 5.0 upgrade at no additional cost when it’s officially released. For now, we welcome these customers looking to get in on the action early, to sign-up to download the SAM 5.0 Release Candidate.

In an Application Performance Monitor 5.0 Beta – Sign up now I provided a sneak peek into some of the killer new features we’ve been working on for the launch of the new Server & Application Monitor v5.0. As the new name implies, many of the new features in this release center around server health and performance monitoring. Since your organization’s critical business applications run on servers, application availability can be negatively impacted by a failure of any of the servers internal components. Properly monitoring your servers hardware health is just as important as monitoring the applications that run on them.

Monitoring your server’s hardware health in SAM 5.0 is as simple as clicking a button. Or in the case of the Network Sonar Discovery, completely auto-magical. To manually enable or disable hardware health monitoring for an existing node, simply click the image button located in the Node Details Resource. Then check the checkbox next to image to enable hardware monitoring for the node. You’ll find this automatically checked by default for any newly added nodes that support hardware health monitoring.

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Once you’ve enabled hardware health monitoring for the node you should see the new Hardware Details, Current Hardware Health and Hardware Health chart resources pictured in my Application Performance Monitor 5.0 Beta – Sign up now on the Node Details page of the monitored server.

Additionally, we’ve made excellent use of the information collected via the Real-Time Process Explorer. Occasionally I’m asked by a customer why they’re seeing high CPU, Memory, or Virtual Memory utilization on their server, but none of their monitored applications show unusually high resource utilization. In almost all cases this is because the offending process is not currently being monitored by SAM. So how does one gain visibility into those unmonitored processes that might be negatively impacting their overall system performance without monitoring each and every process? This was one of the challenges we addressed with the Real-Time Process Explorer. By providing real-time visibility into what processes are running on the server, and what resources they’re consuming, regardless of their managed/monitored state, you can effectively troubleshoot performance issues in real-time from the SAM web console. But we didn’t stop there.

If you’re anything like me you don’t camp in front of your APM/SAM web console 24x7, and you rely on alerts to notify of things that either need your immediate attention, or require further investigation. So in SAM 5.0 we added three new out-of-the-box alerts for high CPU, memory, and virtual memory that includes a listing of the top 10 offending processes by metric.

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You can easily enable these alerts from within the Advanced Alert Engine. The only configuration required is a valid email address and the IP address of your SMTP server. Once you’ve enabled the alerts you will receive detailed process information provided through the Real-Time Process Explorer when thresholds defined in the alert trigger condition are exceeded. Below is an example email based on the “High CPU Utilization with Top 10 Processes” alert.

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Now when it’s 3am and you receive a high CPU utilization alert you’ll have all the necessary information to make an informed decision about what to do next.  If it turns out just to be the nightly backups kicking off, or a scheduled antivirus scan of the server, you can safely rollover and go back to sleep.

Also in my previous blog posting I briefly touched upon SAM’s added support for managing Windows nodes via WMI, eliminating the need to enable or configure SNMP (or anything else for that matter) on your Windows servers. WMI is enabled by default for all Windows hosts, so this should significantly reduce deployment time and ease management overhead associated with SNMP. 

In addition to allowing you to managing nodes via WMI, we’ve included the ability for you to leverage these same WMI node credentials for applications assigned to those Windows hosts. Anywhere you have the option to specify credentials for an application template or component monitor, you also have the the option to utilize the existing WMI credentials already used to manage the host. This is shown below as <Inherit Windows credential from node>.

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In the case where you may be assigning an application template to a mix of WMI and SNMP/ICMP nodes, the Add New Application Monitors wizard allows you to easily utilize the existing Windows credentials for WMI nodes, as well as allowing you to designate specific credentials, or inherit credentials from the template for SNMP and ICMP nodes. This simplifies the credentials juggling workflow process so it’s easy to understand precisely which credentials are being used for each node the application template is being assigned to. 

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The ability to leverage WMI node credentials when assigning application templates also allows you to manage these credentials from the node itself. This is especially helpful in workgroup environments, or where domain credentials simply aren’t allowed due to policy, or security concerns. Should the password you’re using to monitor the server and the applications running on it expire or change for any reason, you need only update the WMI credentials for the node, and any application templates assigned to that node that are inheriting their credentials will also be updated. That’s server and application management simplified!