Troubleshooting complex applications faster

With the advent of the cloud and microservices, application architectures have become complex, and monitoring their performance is critical in protecting your business' bottom line. To troubleshoot performance problems quickly and achieve a reduced mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to resolve (MTTR), the use of an application performance monitoring (APM) tool is invaluable. 

APM tools help you identify the root cause of an issue, as well as enable you to identify the issue proactively before it even surfaces.  By continuously monitoring your applications, you can quickly rollback and remediate when a problem surfaces unexpectedly. 

In this blog, we'll discuss common application performance problems, and how an APM tool can aid in fixing those problems. 

1. Ripple Effect

Often, an issue or an exception is not caused by a stand-alone instance, but rather by a cascading effect among the interconnected services in a distributed architecture. When this happens, it's important to identify the root cause of the issue as early as possible. This is where distributed traces come in handy. 

With distributed traces, you can identify the application transactions and the corresponding service that led to the error to drill down to the exact line of problematic code. This enables you to resolve issues with a minimum MTTR. 

2. Scalability

What works for one user may not work for "n" number of people; when your application scales, it may behave differently than anticipated. By tracking the normal behavior of your system and creating a baseline for comparison, an APM solution equipped with AI and AIOps can help predict how your system will perform over time. Forecast data on request count and response time can help you scale effectively.

3. Unhandled Exceptions

Exceptions cause a huge strain on web servers, which are built to propagate the stack trace, log the exception details, and serve incoming requests. Frequent errors and unhandled exceptions need the immediate attention of the development team to boost application performance and enhance the end-user experience. With an APM tool, you can analyze the nature of exceptions, their frequency, the URLs and APIs that encounter them and trace the details even down to the line number in your code.

4. Version Dependencies

With many organizations today deploying microservice applications that are interdependent in nature, it can be difficult to update one service without breaking another. Most applications use version flags to maintain backward compatibility with other services. Tracking the version that needs deprecation and the service that needs upgrading becomes complex with each incremental version update. An APM tool can track the request parameters and visualize the communication breakages across a topology map to help you avoid these complications.


The key to maintaining optimum performance in a distributed architecture is to identify the common pitfalls and conduct shift left testing to catch problems early in the development process. 

Also, take a quick look at the emerging application performance trends in 2020, and let us know your thoughts. 

What common performance problems have you faced, and how did you overcome them? Let us know in the comments. 


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