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Application performance management (APM) allows developers to monitor the performance of their apps and quickly respond to any problems as soon as they arise. This offers more control to developers and ensures that end users have an optimal experience when using an app.
While most companies have some level of application monitoring in place, not all organizations have applied it well. In this blog, we give an overview of the benefits of a good PHP application monitoring strategy, the tools that can be used, and how to get started building out and maintaining an effective PHP monitoring strategy.
PHP application performance monitoring is important for several reasons (these are just a few of them):
APM helps to ensure that applications are performing well and meeting user expectations. Slow or poorly performing applications can lead to frustration and dissatisfaction among users, which can ultimately impact business revenue and reputation
APM helps to identify and address issues that may be impacting the reliability of applications. By detecting and resolving issues proactively, APM can help to prevent downtime and ensure that applications are available when they are needed.
APM provides insights into the resource utilization of applications, which can help organizations to optimize their infrastructure and reduce costs.
APM can be integrated into DevOps workflows to help teams identify and resolve issues quickly. By providing visibility into the performance of applications, APM can help to ensure that changes are made with confidence and that applications are deployed successfully.
APM can help organizations to meet service level agreements (SLAs) by ensuring that applications are performing well and meeting performance targets.
Every organization should have a well-implemented PHP APM solution for their mission critical PHP apps. This allows DevOps teams (and the organization as a whole) to resolve issues and PHP performance bottlenecks efficiently and reduce Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR).
This has a substantial impact on the bottom line of the business, as organizations do not have to deal with the unnecessary work involved in maintaining an extensive software analysis group.
In general, monitoring allows insight into application health, by providing notifications when certain conditions occur, such as high CPU usage, high memory usage, slow requests, and more.
You may either passively get details on events/issues by using the visualizations tools provided by a vendor, or you may setup the delivery of notifications to you actively on the channels of choice (SMS, email, Slack, ticket systems, etc.).
Related to the concept of MTTR, the ability to detect and debug an issue, as close as possible to the initial development phase of the SDLC, is one of the most important features of an APM system.
I order to fulfill the objectives, an enterprise level APM system must provide the capacity to drill down into call stack traces to diagnose performance bottlenecks, auto-discover business transactions, dynamic baselining and code-level diagnostics.
These functionalities will ensure a rapid issue identification and resolution to maintain an ideal user experience for any mission-critical PHP application, running on-premises or in the cloud.
In today’s digital world, faster troubleshooting isn’t enough.
A great user experience is paramount for the success of a Web application, therefore a valuable APM system must guarantee a large set of data points, as intelligently aggregated as possible, related to areas of the execution that are not performing optimally.
Those areas include:
Read our article on how to improve PHP performance >>
As your PHP apps succeed and grow, your services scale in number and complexity. This makes it difficult to maintain a rapid pace of innovation while keeping your applications secure.
It’s particularly challenging to respond to attacks, as DevOps and security teams need to collaborate to understand each attack’s root cause and remediate the vulnerabilities that enabled it.
It becomes paramount to be able to identify risks from known vulnerabilities in third-party libraries and services, assuring that the only attack surface is limited to the proprietary logic developed in-house under the full control of DevOps and security teams.
An APM system can help teams to :
Another topic that has great business relevance is app availability, especially for critical PHP apps.
Availability and Uptime must be analyzed ahead of time through the following lenses:
A state-of-the-art APM must be able to feed valuable and unequivocal data towards the analysis mentioned above, facilitating data-driven decisions for business leaders.
The most popular APM solutions, working at the engine level, in the PHP space are the following:
Extension + Agent
Cloud Based UI
Extension + Agent
Generic monitoring and alerting toolkit
Local Grafana UI
The above-mentioned solutions have various degrees of complexity in terms of installation and use, with ZendHQ being the easiest of the lot, while Prometheus is the most complex to be fully actionable.
There are more tools for PHP execution monitoring out there, with PHP sometimes being one of the supported technologies within a plethora of others.
See ZendHQ in ActionZendHQ makes PHP monitoring, debugging, and orchestration a breeze. See details, or schedule a personalized demo for your team today via the links below.Explore ZendHQSchedule a Demo
ZendHQ makes PHP monitoring, debugging, and orchestration a breeze. See details, or schedule a personalized demo for your team today via the links below.
Explore ZendHQSchedule a Demo
Once you understand your needs, and the tools at your disposal, the next step is picking a monitoring solution for your PHP applications.
It is important to emphasize some processes related characteristics an APM solution must unequivocally satisfy:
From our experience, once a solution satisfies these characteristics, the criteria to apply for a definitive decision involve the following parameters:
For existing PHP applications, especially when the requirement is limited to production environments, the best way to achieve full execution observability is to install a solution that just require an extension (and maybe an agent), so that after that every request is completely monitored (may require a bit of configuration work to tailor events generation the notifications).
It is advisable to have also the entire SDLC (development, pipelines, staging, etc...) covered by the observability solution, with a system able to give added value to such phases with inherent data and an agile feedback loop.
When starting a project from scratch, following the 12 factors application paradigm, including full observability in all its layers (PHP execution, admin processes, concurrency, etc...), should be part of the planning from the beginning.
In such situations, a more comprehensive approach can be envisioned (even adding some infrastructural complexity). This allows teams to achieve a completely monitored SDLC where integration features (webhooks, code events, traces, etc.) have an incredible importance in shaping the perfect design, capable of making every critical piece of proprietary logic entirely observable with the best actionable data effectively fitting the internal decision-making processes.
In summary, a good PHP monitoring strategy can pay dividends for many organizations. By making it easier to continuously improve user experience, optimize performance, and improve security, a well-applied PHP monitoring strategy can make the SDLC (and decision-making process) more efficient and ultimately more effective.
That said, it's important to get it right. Choosing the right tool and deploying it to its full benefit is critical to achieving the benefits described above.
Exploring Your PHP Monitoring Options? Try ZendHQ for Free TodayZendHQ is now free to try as part of a ZendPHP trial. Get details on ZendHQ and the ZendPHP trial via the links below.Explore ZendHQ See ZendPHP Trial Details
ZendHQ is now free to try as part of a ZendPHP trial. Get details on ZendHQ and the ZendPHP trial via the links below.
Explore ZendHQ See ZendPHP Trial Details
Massimiliano Cavicchioli is a Software Architect at Zend. He has over 20 years of experience in the tech world, 16 of which he spent contributing to the PHP ecosystem at Zend. During his many years of providing consultation to enterprise corporations, Massi has developed a wealth of tangible knowledge — making him highly capable in helping companies achieve best practices in both PHP and OSS.