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Five ways to maintain a high-performing application stacks

Level 11

Today’s users demand access to easy-to-use applications even though the IT landscape has become a complex mishmash of end-user devices, connectivity methods, and siloed IT organizations, some of which contain further siloes for applications, databases and back-end storage.

These multiple tiers of complexity, combined with end users’ increasing dependency on accessible applications, creates significant difficulties for IT professionals across the globe, but especially in government agencies, with all their regulations and policies.

Figuring out how to maintain application performance in these complex environments has become a key objective for federal IT staff. Here are five methods for preserving a high-performance app stack:

1. Simplifying application stack management

A significant part of the effort lies in simplifying management of the application stack (app stack) itself, which includes the application, middleware and the extended infrastructure the application requires for performance. Think about the entire environment.

Rather than looking at networks, storage, servers and clients as distinct silos of individual responsibility, federal IT departments can reduce the complexity of the sometimes conflicting information they use to manage these silos. The simplification lies in the practice of monitoring all applications and the resources they use as a single application ecosystem, recognizing the relationships.

Working through the entire app stack lets federal IT pros understand where performance is degraded and improves troubleshooting.

2. Monitoring servers

Server monitoring is a significant part of managing the app stack. Servers are the engines that provide application services to the end user. And applications need sufficient CPU cycles, memory, storage I/O and network bandwidth to work effectively.

Monitoring current server conditions and analyzing historical usage trends is the key to ensuring problems are resolved rapidly or prevented.

3. Monitoring virtualization

Monitoring the virtualization infrastructure is key and Federal IT pros should monitor how and when VMs move from one host or cluster to another as well as the status of shared hosts, networks and storage resources, especially if they are over-subscribed.

Federal IT pros should prioritize how individual VMs on a host are working together, whether resource contention is occurring on a host or a cluster, and what applications are causing those conflicts. In addition, federal IT pros should keep tabs on network latency.

4. Monitoring user devices

Today’s users are running applications on all types of devices with a range of capabilities and connectivity options, all of which are significant factors in maintaining a healthy app ecosystem.

5. Bring it together with alerting

The last component is alerting, which notifies technicians when there is an issue with a component of the app stack prior to the first end-user noticing the problem.

The ability to set proactive performance baselines for devices and applications to signal when app stack issues arise helps both in day-to-day monitoring and future capacity planning.

In short, it’s critical for federal IT pros to be aware of, monitor and set up notifications across the app stack – from back end storage, through application services and processes to front-end users – and provide high performance from a holistic perspective.

Find the full article on Government Computer News.


Over all I agree with reality multi-tenancy can complicate things a great deal.  In theory it should be simple to which I say "inconceivable" especially in a heavily siloed environment.

The actual application stack or stacks may be similar but have totally different alerting requirements that may scale over many servers with similar but different environments/products with parts in the DMZ.

In a perfect world we can take the cookie cutter approach.  In reality, in some cases yes, others maybe.

Alerting/Monitoring--getting the access to the right devices/flows/apps and then delivering the monitoring and alerts to the right teams--which may require breaking through those silos--is the task.  And it's quite a challenge.

It may be that all silo'd teams need to sit in an auditorium that has a 60-foot-wide projection display of Orion with all the relevant modules loaded, and then point them each out for every group in the room.  Twenty seconds per Orion tab, just to whet their curiosity, followed up with a focus on Administration and Leader Teams that showcases NPM's front/main view.

Get them to see their details, and how their details flow into that single pane of glass, and (I hope!) you can sit back and listen to them ask questions.  At that point it's time for the individual module experts to conduct break-out sessions with the silo'd teams.  Then come back all into the same auditorium and put it all together.

Wait a minute--did I just outline an ideal SWUG session for prospective Solarwinds clients?

Level 10

I could't agree more, although part of the goals of IT for common end users is to provide simple applications that are easy to use, the reality is that the more simple and easy an application becomes the more complicated it will be in terms of maintenance, management and support. The task of monitoring and keeping our current technologies/applications up and running with zero to very minimal downtime is enormous and its comforting to know that SolarWinds has come up with the idea of the AppStack Environment dashboard. Not only you can lead different IT Teams to collaborate with each other for a faster turn around time for troubleshooting issues, it can also break boundaries and put and end to siloes within the organization and make a harmonious working environment for everyone.

Level 8

Completely agreed! Great summary.

I realize that this is "Application Stack", but considering there is a requirement to monitor the user devices should there be more of a focus on monitoring the performance of the transport layer? Not just LAN, but WAN and internet. "Network" is referenced in the above blog many times but it is buried with monitoring servers and virtualization monitoring. In my experiences I have found the importance of focusing on transport.

Level 14

Good read

Level 20

Big fan of SW appstack!