AppFirst offers basic server monitoring service for free

Year-old start-up company AppFirst is trying to shake up the way IT administrators think not only about application performance management but also server monitoring in general.

Year-old start-up company AppFirst is trying to shake up the way IT administrators think not only about application performance management but also server monitoring in general.

The company offers a proactive monitoring service that uses a patent-pending technique for collecting performance data off of servers in real time, set at 20-second intervals by default but customizable, says Pamela Roussos, chief marketing officer at AppFirst. This compares to traditional poll-based server monitoring products that collect data at intervals of five minutes or longer.

"We won't miss any incident," she says.

With the AppFirst service, users download collectors for use on servers no matter whether they are physical, virtual or in the cloud. Sitting at the system call level, they capture and record all activity transpiring between the application and the operating system in real time. The overhead is almost negligible, Roussos says -- 0.6% on Linux systems and 1% on Windows servers.

"We watch running applications as they shoot across the entire application stack, and do that in a way that won't affect performance and agnostic to the language, components and databases in use," she explains.

What’s more, AppFirst inherits the output of data gathered via Nagios, the open source IT monitoring software, as well as the thousands of Microsoft-created Windows performance counters, Roussos says. It installs 50 Nagios plug-ins, and automatically will pick up output from any other of the 1,800 or so such plug-ins, she adds.

"We correlate this data with our information to provide a complete picture of what's going on in the entire application stack," she says. "Because we have a complete data set, we can see change happening easily and quickly and can alert to those changes immediately."

All of this, AppFirst believes, should be free to IT administrators. "What we figured is why should you be paying for things that aren’t really even serving your needs?" Roussos says.

Yes, IT administrators need to know when things are going amiss -- and that they can now get from the company's fre AppFirst Basic SaaS offering, which monitors servers and alerts upon problem discovery. But what they really need is a way to get to the root cause -- quickly and easily, she says.

And that AppFirst does via its fee-based Professional version, which provides deterministic root-cause analysis. "We can tell users what's going on in the server, with what process and what that process is doing to affect the performance of an application," Roussos says.

If IT administrators only need server monitoring, they’re free to use the Basic version for as long as they want. But the minute they need help with root-cause analysis, they can switch to the Professional version via an easy account status change in their management consoles and credit-card entry, she says.

Priced on a per-usage basis, AppFirst Professional costs 2.5 cents per hour, which translates to $18 per server monthly for constant 30-day use. With a 75-server bundle, that monthly price comes down to roughly $10 per server, adds Roussos, nothing that custom plans also are available for larger enterprises.

"AppFirst is filling two gaps in the market -- one is in the underserved SMB area, where there are a lot of point tools that mostly do network monitoring or higher-end solutions [that are too costly,] and the other is for companies trying to control the overhead of managing application performance,” says Bojan Simic, president of Trac Research.

"Between the combination of its capabilities, the price point and ease of use," he says, "AppFirst makes for an attractive application performance management offering."

Read more about infrastructure management in Network World's Infrastructure Management section.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags managementMicrosoftNetworkinginfrastructure managementNetwork managementsoftwaresystem management

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Beth Schultz

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?