Your Java app must be running smoothly in order to keep your customers happy and your business running. It is not enough to have the app installed. It is important to look beyond the code and examine the Java Virtual Machine (JVM), on an ongoing basis. With the powerful Java monitoring tools, it is possible to monitor the JVM and identify issues that could affect users’ experience.
You have a variety of tools to monitor Java applications. While some tools offer similar functionality, others provide a wider range of options that will allow you to monitor your Java application. There are many options available, including profilers, application performance monitoring, and tracking. Each tool will offer a different perspective and different ways to look at the problem.
Here are the types of Java monitoring tools that you can use to maximize JVM performance.
Standard Java Profilers
Standard Java Profilers provide visibility into all JVM metrics. (memory and CPU, JVM Threads, Garbage Collection). You can also browse heap dumps for the fine-grained analysis of memory. Developers can quickly see the entire call structure and track memory usage, allowing them to pinpoint the areas that need the most CPU or memory space.
Standard Java profilers allow you to track down memory leaks and also allow you to run GC manually. Then you can analyze memory usage and identify the objects responsible for the failure. Profilers, on the other hand, consume significant resources which can cause application slowdown. They must also be connected to the monitored JVM to prevent tampering with development environments.
Also read: Top 10 Server Performance Monitoring Tools
We could also name Java VisualVM and Oracle Java Mission Control as the most used tools.
Top 10 Java Monitoring Tools
1. Java VisualVM
Java VisualVM combines the command-line Java Development Kit capabilities with lightweight profiling capabilities to allow for development, test, and production use cases. It is available for Java 1.4 or newer and allows you to connect with local and remote Java processes.
Java VisualVM displays a Java process overview and basic JVM metrics like CPU, GC activity heap, and space metrics. It also shows the number of threads running. It can display and take thread dumps, and heap dumps, and load them for offline analysis. All of this is available right out of the box with the most recent JVM versions.
2. Oracle Java Mission Control
Oracle Java Development Kit mission control creates a complete monitoring toolchain that collects detailed runtime information for post-mortem analysis.
Java Flight Recorder, which is a framework that’s built into Oracle JDK allows for event capturing and profiling. This allows you to collect low-level information about both the JVM itself and the Java applications running on top of it.
The JDK Mission Control, which allows you to analyze the data from the Java Flight Recorder, is the second component of the toolchain. The tools can be used for testing, development, and production.
3. NetBeans Profiler
The Apache NetBeans Integrated Development Environment includes the NetBeans Profiler. It is part of the IDE for ease of use and enables profiling CPU performance, memory usage, and threads with relatively low overhead.
You can monitor Java applications to get more detailed information about memory, thread activity, and allocations, depending on your requirements. For detailed information about application performance, including execution times and methods, you can analyze the CPU.
NetBeans Profiler allows you to also analyze memory usage for object allocation, garbage collection telemetry, and more.
JProfiler provides all the information you need to profile a JVM. Live profiling of remote and local sessions is possible. It also allows for snapshot comparison, triggers, heap dumps analysis, and automatic request tracking for Kotlin Coroutines, Thread Starts, Java.util.concurrent executors and SWT events. If both Java Virtual Machines have been profiled with JProfiler, it can track HTTP requests, web services calls, RMI calls, and remote Enterprise Java Beans call routings from one JVM to the other.
JProfiler gives you an overview of memory usage and provides information about objects, allocation trees, hotspots, and other relevant data. You can view the heap and its contents, as well as record CPU data for hotspot analysis. JProfiler lets you profile threads and get Java virtual machine telemetry.
5. YourKit Profiler
The YourKit Java Profiler allows profiling of CPU usage and memory usage. You can profile local, test, and production environments using a live connection, or offline analysis. YourKit Java Profiler supports flame graphs and allows for easy hot spot and call tree visualizations. It captures JVM and operating-system telemetry data. It is possible to look at a single session of profiling and compare memory and CPU snapshots to see the changes in your code and how they impact the performance of JVM-based apps.
It is easy to look at slow SQL queries and web requests with support for common data stores like MongoDB and Cassandra. YourKit Java Profiler allows you to easily detect thread synchronization problems with the thread activity visualization. The Java Exception profiling lets you instantly identify areas that cause slowdowns in application performance due to a large number of thrown exceptions.
xRebel allows users to view the execution details of each request on any of the xRebel enabled services. This allows the request to be traced through the distributed application, even if it runs through multiple Java Virtual Machines. It also provides performance for each stage of execution. This includes requests made using JPA, Hibernate, and JDBC, as well as those sent to datastores like MongoDB and Cassandra or HBase. These features make it ideal for monitoring and troubleshooting microservices-based architectures.
LightStep is a combination of full-context distributed tracing and the power of Application Performance Monitor, providing powerful insight into the most important parts of your Java applications for troubleshooting and root cause analysis.
It is possible to drill down to any service and examine each call, group and filter them all in a simple-to-use interface. This tool is great for monitoring Java applications.
Application Performance Management (APM).
It is important to monitor how Java applications perform in production, as different environments require different requirements. They only collect information that is relevant to JVM performance concerns, by aggregated timing statistics and sampling trace data.
APM tools allow you to detect problems before they are released into production. You can monitor the staging and QA environments, and live to debug production using traces and Java exceptions. It can be costly to run APM across all production and QA/Staging servers. This can cause slowdowns in your application.
There are many good APM tools available, both commercial and open-source. We’ve collected some of the most widely used open-source APM tools that monitor Java applications.
Glowroot, an open-source Java APM tool, is fast, simple, and clean. It allows you to trace slow requests and errors, log time follows for each user action, SQL catch, and aggregation, and also allows for tracing. It also features historical roll-ups of all information, configurable maintenance, and charts that allow you to visualize response times percentiles and time breakdown. You can monitor Java applications from both desktop and mobile devices using the interactive UI.
Pinpoint is a free and open-source APM tool that can be used to monitor the performance of distributed systems written in Java or PHP. This tool tracks transactions across distributed applications and examines the structure of your system. It allows you to track thread activity in real-time, view request count and response patterns as well as JVM performance metrics like CPU and memory usage, garbage collecting, and JVM arguments.
JavaMelody, an open-source APM tool that monitors Java and Java EE applications in QA or production environments, is free and available for download. JavaMelody doesn’t have profiling or a database, so it is easy to integrate into any application.
It is difficult to choose the right tool to monitor Java applications and their environment. You should be able to perform live and post-mortem analysis using metrics, logs, and traces. Metrics allow you to see how your JVM and application are performing and what is happening at the operating system level. Logs to view what is happening, and trace to see the overall execution path within the distributed environment.