Tips for Custom Application Monitoring

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Custom applications play a vital role in all kinds of organizations, including education, government, healthcare, IT, and more. In order to adapt to the latest technologies, there are many changes businesses must make, especially the method they use to reach out to their customers.

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Most interactions between the customer/client and the organization takes place via tailor-made applications that suit the business. These custom applications vary based on business needs. Some examples include an application for new user login, an application to check the functioning of a machine, an application to check a person’s health status, and so on. Therefore, it is essential that these custom applications function properly, which means they should be carefully monitored. This post will cover tips for monitoring custom applications.

The development stage

There are many factors to be considered while developing the application, including functionality, usability, performance, etc. The availability of the application can be verified by checking the concerned services (for Windows® ) or process (for Linux®) is running. However, if there are more factors to be monitored, the application should be designed to respond to the requests from the monitoring tool, or the application should be able to send the needed details to the monitoring application. The factors to be monitored differ based on what the application will be used for.

For example, if the custom application connects to a database to store customer details, imagine that this application is also available over the Internet. There are lot of factors to be monitored.

  • Application uptime.
  • CPU, RAM, and memory resources.
  • Database and application connectivity.
  • Available space left in the database.
  • And more.

The monitoring tool would use different kinds of protocol based on the factors being monitored. for the application. Some common protocols include SNMP, SSH, Telnet, Web service protocols, WMI etc.

Be proactive

Business critical applications should always have zero downtime. Even though the application and the server on which the application is deployed are monitored, they occasionally go down. Therefore, it’s always recommended to have a high availability (HA) solution for all your business-critical applications, preferably in a location apart from the organization.

There are active and passive servers in an HA architecture. You should not monitor just the active server because you never know when a disaster might occur, at which time you’ll want to have your passive server working. Thus, it’s always recommended to monitor both your active and passive servers. This increases your chance of achieving zero downtime for your custom application.

Security

These business-critical custom applications should always be behind the firewall, intrusion-detection system (IDS) or intrusion-prevention system (IPS) in the network because they are always the first to be attacked by intruders. Even when the applications are behind the firewall, they should be monitored for attacks from within the network.

Some examples of security monitoring include:

  • Monitor transactions to and from the application.
  • Check if the traffic is coming from a non-authorized IP address or network.
  • Check all the API calls made by the application, and check if there are any unsafe ones.

Also, these applications should be reviewed for new vulnerabilities; apply patches if vulnerabilities are found.

Custom applications should be given high priority, which includes giving them the best server.  You should also consider the network with the best QoS policies, and the best storage to store the application data, which should also be monitored.

When you have a business-critical custom application running in your environment, it’s important to have a tool  that monitors it. Monitoring all of the above will increase uptime and help your business run without too many major glitches.

This post was originally published on the SolarWinds IT Resource Center.