Granikos Technology Blog

System Monitoring vs. Application Monitoring

When it comes to monitoring application administrators often disagree with system administrators on what to monitor and which thresholds to configure. By nature system administrators focus on system related counters and objects to monitor. They do not care about application related monitoring as those information's are out of scope of their daily work. Vice versa the same is true for application administrators.

Therefore there is no and will never be a single monitoring solution to combine totally different interests in information. On the other hand the business is highly interested in implementing a single monitoring solution to reduce the overall licensing cost (priority 1), reduce the number of servers required to host monitoring solutions (priority 2) and to eliminate the need for technical training (priority 3).

System monitoring and application monitoring systems sometimes share an intersecting set of “things” they are able to monitor. The fact is that both monitoring approaches have totally different procedures on how to monitor.

The following diagram illustrates the system monitoring approach, where a probe connects to a target and queries data using a dedicated protocol supported by the target (e.g. SNMP, WMI, SSH, etc.).

Schema PRTG System Monitoring

The solution illustrated uses PRTG which is a network monitoring solution that supports all standard protocols for monitoring. It can be enhanced by individual scripts, programs and libraries. You can find a link to PRTG at the end of this post.

In comparison to system monitoring the application monitoring approach looks very different, as the following figure shows:

Schematic Overview ENow Application Monitoring

Application monitoring relies on the existence of agents installed locally on the servers hosting the applications. This approach provides the ability to monitor from an application perspective. The agent itself performs checks depended on the application running on the same server. For example the agent checks that DNS name resolution works using the configured DNS servers on the server. If DNS resolution does not work the agent responds with an error to central management even when the DNS server itself is reachable by the system monitoring probe.

In the current IT landscape where messaging and collaboration solutions provide business functionality at a large scale and are setup in high-availability configurations the monitoring of such implementations from an application perspective is crucial. In a world where “always on” is the business goal for a mobile work force downtime of messaging and collaboration systems is an issue.

Application Monitoring Solution


The ENow Management Suite supports your monitoring efforts for:

  • Active Directory
  • Exchange Server
  • Exchange Online
  • Lync Server
  • Blackberry Enterprise Server
  • SharePoint Server
  • SQL Server

Mailscape is the part of the ENow Management Suite which helps you to monitor the messaging infrastructure components like Exchange Server, Blackberry Enterprise Server and SMTP relay servers.

Mailscape 365 is part of the ENow Management Suite which monitors your Exchange Online and Hybrid Exchange deployment inclusive of required hybrid components like AD FS and DirSync.

Compass is the part of the ENow Management Suite which monitors domain controllers and Active Directory specific topics.

ForeSite is the part of the ENow Management Suite which monitors your SharePoint farms and the related SQL database servers.

Besides monitoring the vitals of the application components and the infrastructure requirements (network, AD, etc.) the solution provides an extensive reporting functionality. The default set of reports fits most reporting requirements, but you can set up your own reports as well. A significant feature is the ability to provide the reports to different groups of stakeholders.

Monitoring servers should not be a time consuming task for an application administrator. Therefore the interface of the ENow Management Suite is quite handsome, as it displays all statuses in a dashboard. As long as all statuses are green the application administrator can focus on other work. When using all parts of the ENow Management Suite you act within one single dashboard, but each part utilizes it’s own security groups for access the dashboard.

How does a SharePoint administrator work with ForeSite?

The follow screenshot shows the ForeSite dashboard:

ForeSite One-View Dashboard

If the dashboard uses a traffic light approach to signal good, warning and error states. This makes it really easy to focus on section of the application infrastructure where some is not in a healthy state. It cannot be any more intuitive.

By just clicking on the signaling rectangle you dig deeper to the next level of information:

ForeSite One-View Dashboard - Timer Job Error

It seems as if there is something wrong with a SharePoint timer job. But what is going on?

ForeSite One-View Dashboard - Timer Job Error - Level 2

Ok, it is not the SharePoint timer service itself. It is just one of the timer jobs itself.

ForeSite One-View Dashboard - Timer Job Error - Level 3

The Application Addressed Refresh Job is offline since 3.4 days. That is a valuable information and the SharePoint administrator knows where to start to solve this issue.

This is a basic example how an application monitoring solution can help to identify the error.

The reporting functionality of ForeSite helps to gather a lot of different data from a SharePoint farm. Those reports can be executed manually or be sent automatically by email on a recurring basis. The reports overview displays a list of different reports which are available by default:

ForeSite - Professional SharePoint Reporting

With the proactive monitoring of critical SharePoint services, like Site Availability, Timer Jobs, Search and Index, and content databases ForeSite helps the application administrator to focus on daily work. The alerting functionality helps to reduce the response time in the case of an error and therefore helps to reduce the overall business impact to a minimum.


The classic system monitoring solution is the interface of the administrative personnel responsible for the IT infrastructure itself. The application monitoring solution is the main interface for application administrators and runs on top of the IT infrastructure. Even when some components (disk, memory, CPU, …) are measured by both components.

Besides monitoring of different important aspects of the application an application monitoring solution provides the ability for application specific reports. Those reports and even the dashboard itself can be made available to different groups of stakeholders in the company using Windows credentials.

An application monitoring and reporting solution is a valuable addition to classic system monitoring.

What are your thoughts on system and application monitoring? Leave a comment.

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Die Kollegen von ENow zeigen im nachfolgenden Video, wie schnell und einfach Sie die zuverlässige Monitoring- und Reporting-Lösung Mailscape installieren können.

Mailscape erleichtert die Echtzeit-Überwachung Ihrer Exchange-Systeme, inklusive Exchange Online (Office 365), und stellt alle wichtigen Informationen in einer zentralen Dashboard-Übersicht dar. Zusätzlich überwacht Mailscape alle relevanten Sekundärsysteme (Domänen-Controller und andere Mail-Server).

Kostenloser 21-Tage Test und weitere Informationen:

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Mit dem MAILSCAPE Simulator und den zur Verfügung stehenden Szenarien haben Sie die Möglichkeit sich einen Überblick über den Funktionsumfang der Software zu verschaffen, ohne eine Software-Installation durchführen zu müssen. Anhand von typischen Fehlerszenarien können Sie sich mit dem One-View Dashboard vertraut machen. Ebenso stehen unterschiedliche Berichte und Auswertungen zur Verfügung, die von der jeweiligen Anwenderrolle abhängig sind.

Technische Szenarien:

  • DAG Failover
  • Benutzer erhalten keine E-Mails
  • Fehlkonfiguration des CCR Clusters
  • Keine ausgehende E-Mail Kommunikation
  • OWA und Active-Sync funktionieren nicht
  • Einige Blackberry Nutzer können keine E-Mails senden oder empfangen
  • SRP Verbindung von allen BES Systemen funktioniert nicht

Berichte und Auswertungen:

  • für Helpdesk Mitarbeiter
  • für Mitglieder des IT-Management
  • für Messaging Administratoren

Start des Mailscape Simulators

Weitere Informationen zu MAILSCAPE und zur 21-Tage Testversion der Software erhalten Sie hier:

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MAILSCAPE von Enow erleichtert die Echtzeit-Überwachung Ihrer Exchange-Systeme, inklusive Exchange Online (Office 365), und stellt alle wichtigen Informationen in einer zentralen Dashboard-Übersicht dar. Zusätzlich überwacht Mailscape alle relevanten Sekundärsysteme (Domänen-Controller und andere Mail-Server).


Mit der intuitiven Dashboard-Technologie ist der aktuelle Status der Messaging-Umgebung auf einen Blick sichtbar. In Kombination mit FORESITE, UNISCOPE und COMPASS können Sie Ihre gesamten Messaging- und Collaboration-Umgebungen in einem zentralen Dashboard überwachen.


In den folgenden zwei Videos wird gezeigt, wie MAILSCAPE dabei hilft Ihre Exchange Umgebung zu überwachen und bei der Fehlersuche zu unterstützen.


1. Überwachung und Test der E-Mail Kommunikation mit externen Systemen



2. Proaktive Überwachung einer Database Availability Group (DAG)




Kostenloser 21-Tage Test und weitere Informationen:

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