February 8, 2016

Best Practices for Architecting Highly Monitorable Applications

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Is your application easy to monitor in production? Many applications are, but sadly, some are designed with observability as an afterthought. Monitoring is one of many important factors of running apps at scale, and just like backups, security, auditability, and the like, it should ideally be considered in advance. In this way, you can make the tradeoffs consciously instead of accidentally.

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You should not let the tail wag the dog in monitoring. Decide what information you need, which falls into categories such as work, resources, and events. Then plan to collect (or build in the ability to measure and expose) that information. In databases, in particular, the most important thing to measure is queries (or statements, or requests, or similar). Queries are the database’s unit of work. From a user’s perspective, the query needs to complete correctly and quickly, and little else matters. If you’re not monitoring queries at a highly granular level, your database is little more than a black box.

This ebook collects the experience of a variety of seasoned architects and combines it with what customers have taught us about monitoring at VividCortex. With that insight, you'll be able to apply the best practices in this book to avoid pitfalls later, and create a highly monitorable architecture for your application, so you can get excellent visibility with minimal cost and effort.

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