Monitoring the LAMP Stack using Longitude
The LAMP stack is perhaps the most popular web service stack in the marketplace and as such, leveraging of technology to monitor the stack’s inner workings has become an essential prerequisite, enabling IT departments to deliver optimal end user experiences.
Longitude has evolved over the years from software that originally monitored physical servers, to a platform that covers a broad set of technologies related to the physical and virtual infrastructure, networks, applications, and end user experience.
The term “stack” wasn’t always in IT’s nomenclature, years ago the hardware/software simply could not support it (remember when client/server was in vogue), but now the term is ubiquitous.
“Stack” implies (and rightfully so) the stacking of technologies to work together to deliver a specific functionality, in this case the delivering of web services. I liken the stack to a house of cards, as all it takes is a single component to fail and the whole thing falls down.
What is LAMP?
The LAMP acronym is derived from the stacking of - “L”inux, “A”pache, “M”ySQL, and “P”HP - all working together to host websites. Originally conceived as follows:
- Linux: The operating system which is the foundation of the stack.
- Apache: Layered on top of Linux and is the HTTP server responsible for providing website content based on web browser requests.
- MySQL: The database that is queried with scripting to construct web content. Although typically locally resident, the database can be hosted on dedicated servers for larger deployments.
- PHP: Sits on top of the stack. It consists of PHP/Perl/Python scripting support and is used to drive the web application.
A big win for IT is the ease at which LAMP can be deployed either leveraging pre-configured templates (i.e. AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud ) or with simple enough scripts (on-premises or cloud), making deployment of a LAMP stack almost child’s play.
Why monitor LAMP?
Again, the good news is that LAMP stack is easy to deploy, but you don’t want to “black-box” it.
You really need to understand how all the components of the stack interact with each other and monitor them holistically.
Once more, the LAMP stack is a house of cards, a problem anywhere in the ecosystem will affect the end user experience. Technology is required to monitor all the moving pieces as it isn’t humanly possible to watch the LAMP stack manually.
The Longitude Architecture and LAMP
Obviously, LAMP can operate anywhere in the IT ecosystem, be it on-premises or cloud. Longitude is equipped to handle on-premises, hybrid, and public cloud deployments.
Before delving into the details of Longitude’s LAMP monitoring capabilities it is probably a good idea to understand Longitude’s architecture. Longitude uses a variety of protocols to pull performance and availability metrics from the LAMP stack.
▶ Deployment Options
Leveraging Longitude to monitor LAMP
Longitude’s monitoring capabilities are classified into two categories:
Out-of-the-box monitoring - encompasses Longitude’s rather extensive knowledge base. Deployment is a simple enough point and click (you may need to enter credentials or additional prerequisite detail). You are basically giving Longitude its marching orders and the technology automatically knows what key performance indicators to collect, how often to collect to them, and most importantly how to evaluate them for problems.
Site-specific monitoring – allows IT staff to embed a site-specific knowledge into Longitude. Let’s take the examples of verifying the content or timing of a web-page load or perhaps querying a database result in order to determine application health.
It is wholly impractical to boilerplate the monitoring of any LAMP infrastructure; Longitude readily supports tailoring the technology to meet your site-specific requirements.
▶ Monitoring LAMP with Longitude
Service Level Agreements and the LAMP Stack
Having a Service Level Agreement in place as part of a LAMP stack monitoring strategy can go a long way towards identifying the impact of problems by correlating user experience metrics with the underlying IT infrastructure and application metrics.
The Summary SLA dashboard above aggregates the performance of critical IT infrastructure and application components of a LAMP stack. The display pinpoints compliance issues that affect performance and ultimately end user response time. The dashboard’s visual representation quickly shows - for the defined time period:
- Service Availability - What is the overall compliance of the web service being delivered?
The pie chart shows overall SLA compliance, we clearly have an issue or set of issues that require attention.
- Service Availability by Hour - What is the compliance per hour?
Each vertical bar each represent compliance per hour. We want to see if there is a particular pattern. For example, is the compliance problem specific to only certain hours of the day?
- Service Condition Availability - Which KPIs are out of compliance, how badly, and for how long?
We see here that there is a correlation between web and database response time and health of the SQL infrastructure, giving IT a starting point from which to further diagnose the issue.
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