Developers rely on application performance management (APM) tools to determine how their applications perform pre- and post-deployment.

Traditionally, APM tools, like many other applications before the rise of SaaS (Software-as-a-solution) solutions, were deployed on servers and developer machines. However, as SaaS solutions became more popular, these tools transitioned to the cloud.

As with any SaaS application, cloud-based APM offers several advantages over on-premise software. There is no need to acquire new hardware to host the APM tool, and management of the APM tool itself is left in the hands of the vendor. All the developer has to do is open the tool on a browser and monitor an application from there.

Retrace APM SaaS – How Good is It?

Retrace from Stackify is one such SaaS APM solution. Aside from. NET, Retrace, also supports Java.

Note: for .NET or Java developers who want a more powerful profiler than what they have right now, Prefix, another Stackify product, allows you to understand what your code is doing and how long it takes to process a web request. The prefix is free software – you may try it on your developer workstation at any time.

Retrace supports single-sign-on via SAML, Two-Factor Authentication, and allows for granular security roles to keep your applications protected. To start using Retrace, just install the Stackify APM+ agent on the server hosting your application. Once the APM+ agent is installed on the server and turned on, profiling data for the app is transmitted to Stackify.

Let us take a more detailed look at how Retrace profiles your code.

On the Dashboard, the applications being monitored are listed. To the right are a summary of the available information on the application, e.g., type, instances, requests per minute, satisfaction rating, errors per minute, features, and alerts.

Click the application name to display more detailed monitoring information about the application.

Point your cursor over a graph to get more detailed information related to the graph.

Going back to the Dashboard, under Features, icons denote the presence of errors, logs, and APM+ data for the application. Click an icon to bring up more detailed information.

The screenshot below shows the performance data for the application that appears when you clicked the APM+ data icon.

Again, pointing your cursor over an area on the graph displays more detailed information about the particular area.

Below is a screenshot showing the health of your server and application at a glance, highlighting the server load (CPU and memory usage) and server alerts; key transactions regarding requests per minute, satisfaction score, and transaction alerts; and errors, including errors per minute and total errors in the last hour.

Below is a screenshot showing more detailed information about errors in the application.

The next screenshot shows the available logs for the application. You can filter for host/server name (if you have more than one server being monitored), log level, or log type, as well as by the hour, specific date, and a date range.

There are also links to alerts and notifications on the top right, which are particularly useful for troubleshooting.

Conclusion

Overall, Retrace does a good job of showing where actual errors occur, and the number of times the error occurred. Moreover, the documentation is excellent, allowing you to get started using the system with minimal hassle.

The wealth of information it generates proves useful for anyone monitoring the health and performance of their applications.

Given its powerful features, comparable if not better than other commercial software in the market, and the reasonable license fees, which are way cheaper than those of its competitors, you owe it to yourself to give it a try now.