The Loneliness of the Solitary APM Administrator

Blog Post created by Hallett_German Employee on Feb 8, 2015



There is a special place in my heart for the lone site APM administrator. Lack of time is always their challenge. They have often more than one product to support. The requirements of APM administration is always changing as more applications are frequently added to monitor. People are always coming up to them asking, "What does APM say about my application performance?"  As a result, the environment may be subjected to bouts on instability keeping up with the increasing load. What can they do to get ahead? This article gives some possible suggestions


Mental Aspects


It is important to have a good mindset and not to feel discouraged when neck up with reactive issues. This includes the following:

  • Do your best today, do better tomorrow. Keep at it!
  • Not knowing but keep going: Attempt to move forward without knowing the final result. Each day things are changing for the better. Sometimes it take a long time for the seeds that you are planting to harvest. Believe in your actions.
  • Be Kind to Yourself in All Situations:  Sometimes in the middle of it all, we get "stress-stupid" and miss obvious solutions. Don't kick yourself for the rest of the day. Learn from the situation and move on.
  • Know you are never alone. There are others that have been or will be in the same boat as you. Seek them out on the APM Community Site.
  • Enjoy the dance of APM Administration! It is dynamic, challenging, and exhilarating.


Proactive Aspects


It can take some time to get out of reactive situation to a proactive state and an optimized environment. But doing the following, will get you closer:


- Take care of the "low hanging fruits."

  • Clean your logs of minor errors.
  • Make configuration changes that will have the biggest impact.
  • Increase physical memory and heap size on MOMs and Collectors. Evaluate impact of this change looking at the perflog.
  • Remove any unneeded metrics that could impact performance (such as socket metrics).
  • Monitor only those applications and transactions that you really need to rather than those that are nice to have.
  • Keep up with operating system, security, and third-party changes.


- Undergo Planning Baby Steps

  • Implement a monitoring strategy/implementation roadmap and review quarterly.
  • Review architecture against current and future needs at least quarterly. Make changes before they are needed. Don't wait for "just that one more application" that will break things.
  • Do frequent health checks, optimizations, and maintenance. This is not "do it once and forget it." (Just like dental cleanings.) It must be an ongoing process. Read the previous sentences again until that sinks in.


Knowledge Aspects


- With new releases every couple of months, the world of APM is fact changing. When evaluating a new release, one has to know which of their current problems are fixed , which

   features they are using are removed, and which new features to consider deploying. This is an ongoing process. Reading the known issues, release notes are an important way to

   do this
- Read APM Flip Board, Community, Tech Tips on best practices and field enhancements that may apply to you. There is a wealth of information therein.
- Take at least twenty minutes each day to build your APM knowledge.




If you keep up doing the above steps, you will see real results. Rather than pondering at the end of each day, "What did I do today", you will be excited with the small victories that you are seeing taking root. I would love to hear back from you on this topic. You can reach me at hallett.german@ca.com