(First in a Five-Part Blog Series)
Enterprise APM involves many programming languages, databases, infrastructure components, and applications. Add multiple end-points to that – browsers, rich clients, and terminals – and performance management can be an issue. For commercial applications like Oracle Forms and eBusiness Suite, the technology stack may be more manageable but optimizing performance is still a challenge.
One of the first tools that network administrators learn is often the traceroute. Hop-by-hop, it analyzes latencies and is a quick — if primitive — way to identify trouble spots in your network. It worked pretty well in the old days, when all of the resources I was trying to access were in the same place.
In today’s distributed networking environment, troubleshooting performance issues requires a lot more than a couple traceroutes — even if all the required resources are sitting on the “same” computer, thanks to the magic of virtualization. Application performance management (APM) tools have arisen in response to the increasing complexity of our network infrastructure. But even APM solutions have a tough time with many of today’s applications. Oracle Forms is one of those environments that most APM systems struggle with.
Oracle Forms’ multi-tiered architecture, combined with today’s modern network infrastructure, presents multiple challenges to anyone tasked with optimizing and troubleshooting its performance. In this series of blog posts, we’ll investigate the five keys to performance success in Oracle Forms.
Today, we start with the importance of tracking all requests through every hop. This is something we first learned with the traceroute, but which quickly got terribly complicated as middleware, distributed architectures and virtualization took hold, and as applications evolved beyond the bounds of a single server and the good old client-server days.
There are often many servers for each tier in a typical Oracle Forms implementation. Changes are frequent, fields are numerous, and upgrades and system tweaks happen often. In an ideal world, IT help desk staff can track a single session from the client through the web server, the app server, and back to the database. Successful performance monitoring and management requires the ability to track activity through all of these tiers and servers.
In the world of Oracle Forms, you also need to make sure you don’t limit yourself to Java and .Net. If you want a complete picture, you have to be able to track and meter single end-user activity across the entire stack and all technologies, including Apache, OC4J, Forms Runtime, and Oracle Database. While point monitoring and troubleshooting solutions might be able to diagnose some basic problems, even a patchwork collective of them won’t be able to perform true root cause analysis for most performance issues that face modern enterprises.
In our next post, we’ll take a look at the importance of the user experience, and the frustrations that face both the user who dares to report performance issues and the help desk support representative tasked with solving the user’s problems.
(Get all five blog posts all at once: Download our white paper describing all five keys to Oracle Forms performance success)