To ensure that your users have an engaging, quality experience, you need to confirm your Java app is running without a hitch. Having Java installed doesn’t cut it if it’s causing your processes to lag out. By directly monitoring the Java Virtual Machine(JVM), you can ensure uptime and find issues whenever they occur.
There’s a variety of tools on the market that you can use to help you monitor Java. Although most of them are relatively similar in functionality, others will give you completely different options such as profiles, application performance monitoring, and a variety of other features to escalate your business to the next level. In addition, each set of tools provides a different angle to look at and solve problems.
Here is our list of the best Java monitoring tools:
- AppOptics Application Performance Monitoring – FREE TRIAL An excellent Java monitoring tool made by the SolarWinds company, known as AppOptics. This tool integrates seamlessly with the rest of the SolarWinds suite. It provides a highly balanced approach to monitoring, in addition to high-end root-cause analysis features, and combines them with a great UI and superb scalability.
- Datadog APM A part of the Datadog monitoring solution, it offers a lot of diversity in its approach to Java monitoring. This cloud-based tool is highly customizable and offers many historical and contextual monitoring options.
- ManageEngine Applications Manager A great all-around tool that excels at cutting down on hanging and abandoned processes.
- Sematext Monitoring An innovative tool with a free version, great for companies with large data volumes.
- Dynatrace A cloud-based solution that provides an excellent UI alongside end-to-end transaction journey monitoring
- Java VisualVM A completely free tool capable of tracking all of the most crucial metrics
- LightStep Extremely flexible tool for SMBs with reasonable pricing
Why Use A Java Monitoring Tool?
The JVM system contains a variety of built-in memory handlers used to manage resources and memory. With that being said, all resource access events have to be managed program-by-program.
If multiple Java-based apps are running simultaneously, they can jam up when one holds resources that the other needs. In the worst case, this will occur with both programs, leading to both of them halting. While this might sound uncommon, it happens pretty often; sometimes, it lasts for such a short time you barely notice, while in others, your apps might just wholly stop.
There are five different kinds of Java performance issues:
- Memory availability issues
- Database access problems
- App/service availability issues
- Server and network issues
- Multi-thread deadlock problems
It’s nigh-impossible to find all of these issues manually, and it’s even harder to resolve them that way. Because of this, most companies take advantage of a monitoring tool to ensure that the Java infrastructure is operating seamlessly.
The Best Java Monitoring Tools
The AppOptics Application Performance Monitoring tool is a great software to keep track of your apps’ performance and keep track of Java metrics.
SolarWinds is deployed on the cloud and works for application and infrastructure monitoring. Although there are two plans for infrastructure and application monitoring, the APM comes with the infrastructure plan by default.
JVM is complex in a way where each resource that delivers a good experience has to be constantly monitored. The SolarWinds APM software looks at all of these resources, as well as lateral interactions between the apps themselves.
The AppOptics infrastructure plan monitors the server itself and all of the network systems that the JVM is reliant on. Although the JVM’s complex structure can present an issue to the infrastructure monitoring of AppOptics, the APM module quickly solves these. Every JVM process is tracked with the APM, collecting JVM log messages to ensure a flawless monitoring approach.
One of AppOptics’ biggest perks is its capability to take all supervision tasks upon itself. Whenever an issue crops up, it uses root cause analysis to help you get down to the core of the problem.
Another reasonably vital part of this software is its alerts system. You can get alerts in the app, through SMS, email, or you can even integrate it with Slack. This makes it, so you don’t have to have an employee constantly overlooking the software.
- The root-cause analysis makes troubleshooting a breeze
- Excellent UI with a customizable dashboard
- Customizable alerts system
- Cloud-based deployment
- Integrates with other SolarWinds tools
- Available on all of Java’s server types
- Hugely scalable
The AppOptics is a great tool for pretty much any business, except it, has two caveats. First, although it’s a cloud service, you’ll need to install an agent on each server, and it can be pretty challenging to get to grips with as a beginner.
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2. Datadog APM
Datadog is a cloud service featuring a variety of different monitoring tools. One of the tools within Datadog is the Datadog APM, which has JVM monitoring capabilities. One of the great things about Datadog is that you can easily access it through any browser, as it’s a cloud-based service(although it does require an agent.)
The APM monitors your JVM metrics constantly. The primary metrics monitored are resource usage, memory activity, response times, and garbage collection effectiveness. It does this for every Java-running application you have.
Datadog has one of the more customizable dashboards when it comes to Java monitoring tools, as well as a great alerts system. Although, furthermore, you can look at performance metrics for your entire server, and you can further improve this functionality by supplementing it with Datadog’s infrastructure monitor.
- Comes with a variety of other monitoring tools to give you a holistic monitoring approach
- A variety of customization options for the dashboard
- It provides a contextual approach to monitoring, letting you see how your metrics now compare to your historical metrics
- Great scalability
Datadog’s biggest flaw is that it’s notoriously hard to get into for non-technical users. On the other hand, if you’ve got a skilled technician on hand, it provides a variety of high-quality metrics.
3. ManageEngine Applications Manager
The ManageEngine Applications Manager has a unique look at Java monitoring. When the ManageEngine team made their JVM monitoring module, they concluded that memory management was the most significant issue faced by companies. Because of this, it focuses on memory management monitoring.
With that being said, it doesn’t restrict itself to memory management monitoring, nor does it limit itself to just Java monitoring. It will monitor Java performance and the performance of the apps the Java processes are reliant on, like database systems or web apps.
Since this tool looks at all processes simultaneously, it can easily find abandoned or hanging methods and suggest you terminate them. This can often solve many common JVM issues, as a lot of problems are caused by resources consumed by hanging or abandoned processes.
The only monitoring duty the ManageEngine doesn’t perform is network monitoring. With that being said, it can do so with the ManageEngine OpManager, which can be easily integrated.
- The ManageEngine monitors server statuses and general memory utilization, interface activity, and interactions with other applications.
- The focused approach to memory issues
- Robust alerts system
- Finds hanging and abandoned processes
This tool is available for Linux and Windows servers and has a 30-day free trial.
4. Sematext Monitoring
Sematext provides a cloud-based monitoring solution with excellent SIEM security monitoring features. Sematext takes the approach of keeping most of its attention focused on collecting and analyzing log files.
All log messages arrive in real-time and are shown on the dashboard before filing. This approach allows Sematext to exploit all of the information stored within log messages to output a variety of in-depth monitoring and management functionalities. One of these functionalities is the Sematext Monitoring software, an infrastructure monitor including JVM monitoring capabilities.
The Sematext Monitoring software gathers and looks at over 100 different Java performance metrics. This is what facilitates its excellent root-cause analysis features. The system will isolate a few crucial metrics to indicate how well your apps perform. These metrics are:
- The data within JVM threads
- Garbage collection efficiency
- Memory allocation
Since the tool stores all of the information it collects, you can look at all of it to look at your performance broken down over time. This is great for finding patterns within issues or finding out if your problems generally coincide.
- Priced per data collection agent per hour, making it great for high data volumes
- Has a free basic plan to monitor up to 5 hosts while storing data for 30 minutes
- Sematext Monitoring looks at all processes and constantly check up on resources available to the server
- An innovative approach to Java monitoring
- Root-cause analysis capabilities
With that being said, Sematext isn’t exactly the prettiest tool on the market, and it can be rough for beginners. Its paid plans(Standard and Pro) both have a 14-day extended free trial available.
Dynatrace is another cloud-based software tasked with monitoring your infrastructure and application performance; however, it excels at web monitoring. This tool provides its APM and infrastructure monitoring module together.
It looks at various metrics ranging from requests, process statuses, response times, and garbage collection to interactions, error rates, and traffic volumes. This gives it a comprehensive look at your JVM performance and can indicate some issues unrelated to JVM.
In addition to the status-based monitoring options, Dynatrace provides an end-to-end transaction journey monitor. This monitor looks at each request’s path and looks at the services that ensure its delivery and fulfillment. This can be a great asset in determining how your JVM performance impacts a given activity.
- End-to-end transaction journey monitor
- Excellent web monitoring features
- Intuitive UI for newcomers
With that being said, to get these features, you’ll need to get Dynatrace’s full-stack monitoring service. It features a 15-day free trial.
6. Java VisualVM
The Java VisualVM is a free, all-rounder Java troubleshooting tool. It takes the command-line Java Development Kit(JDK) features and combines them with its profiling capabilities to predict your Java applications’ performance accurately. If you’re using Java 1.4 or above, the tool will let you connect to both local and remote Java processes.
The tool gives you a look at the most critical JVM metrics like CPU, GC activity, thread count, and memory allocation. It can also display thread dumps and load your heap dumps to create offline reports.
- The tool is entirely free
- It tracks all of the most critical JVM monitoring metrics
- Its interface is excellent for a free service
With that being said, as a free tool, it lacks quite a bit of functionality compared to its paid alternatives.
LightStep is one of the best Java monitoring tools for SMBs. One of its main draws is that it’s, as the team would put it, “Built for Scale.” This means that you can get the bulk of its features for free for smaller businesses.
It uses full-context distributed tracing alongside Application Performance Monitoring to give a great Java monitoring experience. This provides a lot of insight into how well your Java apps are performing, and although the tool doesn’t provide root cause analysis by itself, it can ease the process quite a bit.
Lightstep allows you to pick a single service and look at all of its calls, as well as filter them through its UI. This lets you have a very strategic approach to monitoring. Its alerts system is also very modern and coupled with its intuitive UI, and it’s one of the more accessible tools for beginners.
- Very flexible pricing can often be considered a bargain for SMBs
- Extremely modern design, slick UI, and robust alert system
- Easy to learn for beginner users
With that being said, LightStep is lagging behind most of the paid tools on this list in terms of features. This means that once you’ve gotten the most out of its free version, you might be better off switching to another tool.
Selecting Your Java Monitoring Tool
Ensuring your JVMs are running well makes a comprehensive approach necessary. Simply having a command-line utility or even a manual approach won’t cut it even for smaller businesses. You need to be constantly running tests and monitoring the statuses of your Java applications to ensure that your users get the best experience and keep performance issues at bay.
One of the most underrated features of Java monitoring tools is their alerts system. A robust alerts system can drastically decrease your technicians’ time to look for issues. Instead of spending hours running tests and looking for issues in data, your technicians should be spending their time solving your problems.
Naturally, the ideal system for your operation depends exclusively on your needs. Because of this, it isn’t easy to make a generalized list of Java monitoring tools. Your number 1 pick might be our 7th; however, we’ve ensured that our first few picks are those that you can’t go wrong with, even if they may not be optimal for your organization.
Look for live support and root-cause analysis features in addition to the standard assortment of metrics, logs, and traces most tools on the market keep track of. Always keep in mind what sets a tool apart from the pack, rather than simply looking at the number of features it offers.
Thankfully, with so many tools on the market today, you’re bound to find one that fits your business like a glove.
Did we miss your favorite Java monitoring tool?
What is your most sought-after feature in Java monitoring tools?
Let us know in the comments below!