Application Monitoring with JConsole, VisualVM and AppDynamics Lite

What happens when mission critical Java applications slow down or keep crashing in production? The vast majority of IT Operations (Ops) today bury their heads in log files. Why? because thats what they’ve been doing since IBM invented the mainframe. Diving into the weeds feels good, everyone feels productive looking at log entries, hoping that one will eventually explain the unexplainable. IT Ops may also look at system and network metrics which tell them how server resource and network bandwidth is being consumed. Again, looking at lots of metrics feels good but what is causing those server and network metrics to change in the first place? Answer: the application.

IT Ops monitor the infrastructure that applications run on, but they lack visibility of how applications actually work and utilize the infrastructure. To get this visibility, Ops must monitor the application run-time. A quick way to get started is to use the free tools that come with the application run-time. In the case of Java applications, both JConsole and VisualVM ship with the standard SDK and have proved popular choices for monitoring Java applications. When we built AppDynamics Lite we felt their was a void of free application monitoring solutions for IT Ops, the market had plenty of tools aimed at developers but many were just too verbose and intrusive for IT Ops to use in production. If we take a look at how JConsole, VisualVM and AppDynamics Lite compare, we’ll see just how different free application monitoring solutions can be.

Free your Application Performance Management with AppDynamics Lite 2.0

In May last year we launched AppDynamics Lite 1.0, the first free application performance management (APM) solution to monitor and troubleshoot a production JVM. 18 Months and 50,000+ users later I’m pleased to announce version 2 of AppDynamics Lite is here and the innovation hasn’t stopped. In fact, I would say Lite 2.0 gives many legacy (or vintage) APM vendors a run for their money. Five years ago the standard for any APM solution was the ability to perform Byte Code Instrumentation for logging application response times along with some JMX metric collection to monitor JVM and container resource. Lite 2.0 does all this, albeit it’s limited to a single JVM, which is one more JVM than any other APM vendor will give you for free.

Here is an example of what AppDynamics Lite 2.0 looks like today when you monitor a single JVM.