Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Scom APM 2012 SP1

Definition of APM from MSDN:
In System Center 2012 – Operations Manager, you can monitor web applications and web services from server- and client-side perspectives to get details about application availability and performance that can help you pinpoint problems. (For System Center 2012 SP1 only: You can also monitor Windows Services.) When you specify settings, the types of events to collect, the performance goals to measure, and which servers to monitor, Operations Manager .NET Application Monitoring provides insights into how web-based applications are running. You can see how frequently a problem is occurring, how a server was performing when a problem occurred, and the chain of events related to the slow request or a method that is unreliable. You have to have this information to partner with software developers and database administrators to help ensure that applications are available and perform at optimal levels.

Basically the APM is a layer on SCOM, it is the former Avicode. Microsoft has bought the product and made and improved the integration between the two products, in SCOM 2012SP1 there are still very well differentiated products.

For APM monitoring you have three main consoles:
  • SCOM Administration console, where relevant alerts are raised when time baseline is reached. 
  • APP Diagnostics is a web console with a series of reports which can help you to determine what is going wrong with your application.
  • APP Advisor is a web console with a list of events which have reached a determined time threshold, you can use this console to inspect or drill down a specific event.

We think that the most impressive thing that APM can do, is drilling down into the source code of the application.

How to deploy
Firstly you need to start the APM service via services.msc (SCOM 2012R2 APM agent is integrated in the SCOM agent) in the machines which you want to monitor, it is disabled by default.
There is a wizard on Authroing --> Management Pack Templates --> .NET application performance to start the APM monitoring, it is easy understand and it does not need a step-by-step description.
You can monitor IIS .NET applications and services. IIS .NET application refer strictly to IIS application and not the application pools, some people confuse these two terms.
When you finish the wizard, usually you have to reboot the application pool of IIS or the service, it is not a bad idea to restart all the server if it is possible.
In the agent´s eventviewer you can see the log of APM agent.
The first time you run the agent, it may need several minutes to display something in the SCOM console, be patient.

APM can be very noisy in the SCOM administration console if you don´t have an accurate config, we think that it is a good idea to disable the alerts from the beginning and show the events on the APP Advisors console until you have a reasonable number of events. You can make rules in the APP Advisor to delete o mark as design some events related with the application performance or functionality.
In these url you will find resources about filtering and rules with APM SCOM : http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/MMS/2012/AM-B310

To show the source code when a code exception is raised, you can export the exception to an Intellitrace file to see the exception and the code into your Visual Studio or you can send it to the developer. If you want, you can see the code via APM Advisor as well, to do this, you have to add the PDBs with the DLLs in the application folder. We think that Intellitrace way is cleaner than the PDBs way.


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