AppDynamics Application Intelligence Platform

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This topic describes AppDynamics flow maps and how to use them to monitor applications.

How Flow Maps Visualize Business Transactions across an Application

An AppDynamics flow map is a graphical representation of the tiers and backends in the application. Depending upon flow map customizations, some tiers and backends may be grouped together or hidden from view.

Flow maps are an integral part of the application, tier, node, and business transaction dashboards. They have similar aspects and may differ slightly. For example, the Application Flow Map shows the topology of the application.

The Business Transaction Flow Map shows the activity of a single business transaction. It defines the node that starts the transaction, and includes the end user performance information. See Business Transaction Monitoring.

The metrics reported on an application flow map are different than the ones on a business transaction flow map. See Understanding Transaction Metrics on Flow Maps.

Interacting with Flow Maps

You can click, drag, hover, and double-click items in the flow map to change how it looks, how much data is represented, or to drill down into more detailed information. You can right-click on an object and select actions from the context menu.

Time Range

For all dashboards, the Time Range option determines how much data, using a given time range, is represented in the visualization.

Activity in the current time range is represented by flow lines. Icons represent the tiers and backends, and flow lines represent the traffic between them.

If you are using a SaaS Controller, flow maps show a maximum of the last 60 minutes of data, regardless of whether the Time Range is set to a larger range. Other graphs on the dashboard display according to the selected Time Range.

Health Indicators

 The color of the flow lines is also a health indicator.

  • A blue line indicates that it is not comparing against a baseline. 
  • A green line indicates that the response time is not significantly worse than the baseline.
  • A yellow line indicates that the response time is slow in comparison to the baseline. 
  • A red line indicates that the response time is very slow in comparison to the baseline.
  • Dotted lines represent asynchronous activity. This is not enabled by default; see To enable dotted flow line.

Annotated links show the current calls per minute and average call duration metrics. Click the flow line or its link to see more details about response time, call metrics, and errors. See Measure Distributed Transaction Performance.

To enable dotted flow line for asynchronous transactions

You can set the flow map lines to render as dotted lines for easier visibility.

  1. From your Application dashboard, click Application Flow Map to see the options menu.
  2. Select Edit Current Flow Map.
  3. Under Asynchronous Activity, check Use dotted line.

     

Interacting with Icons

You can hover the cursor over a tier icon to see its current node health indicators and to activate the animated arrows in the flow lines that show the direction of the traffic.

You can click the bubble containing the node count to see the node list in a pop-up window. The smaller circle displaying an arrow indicates the node status, up or down. Green indicates the node is up and running. Red indicates the node is down.

The larger circle indicates if there are health rule violations on the node during the time range in effect for the flow map. Click the node in the pop-up window to view the node dashboard.

  • Green indicates no violations
  • Yellow indicates a warning-level violation
  • Red indicates a critical-level violation

Comparing Against Baseline Data

On the lower right of the flow map, an informational link tells you whether the flow map is using any baseline data. You can click on this link to find out more.

Getting the Most Out of Flow Maps

Individual Customized Flow Maps

When a team is monitoring an application environment, each team member can have their own view into the business application. Each user can create a custom flow map and save it for their own use.

Shared Flow Maps

You can share a single flow map with the entire team. When you share a custom flow map, it is listed in the Default Map menu for all users.

Flow Map Scope and Inheritance

By default the scope of a flow map depends on the context of the dashboard; that is, the application, business transaction, tier, or node. If there is not a flow map for the specific object, the UI will use the flow map of the parent object. For example if there is no custom flow map for a given node, the UI will first look for its tier flow map and if there is no tier flow map it will use the application flow map.

The application scope is the highest scope, so by default all flow maps use this scope. To better monitor at different levels of scoping, you can customize flow maps at all levels of the hierarchy and save them. See Configuring a Custom Flow Map.

Changing the Layout of the Flow Map

To move the entire map

Click and hold in the background of the icons and flows, and move the mouse to reposition the map. To save this change for the next time you open the dashboard, click Default Map -> Save Current Map.

To automatically arrange the layout

The view option icons at the top right let you toggle the dashboard display modes between views of the flow map:

  • Graphical flow map view
  • Flow list grid view
  • Infrastructure list (tiers and nodes)
  • Auto-fit flow map contents to the screen
  • Arrange Circular
  • Maximize

Click Arrange Circular (the icon) to let AppDynamics rearrange the flow map in a circular pattern.

Tier, node, and backend dashboards also have an Arrange Tree (the icon) option.

To move the flow map icons

To move a flow map icon, click and drag it to a new position. The flow lines will follow and stay with the icon. When you move a tier or backend icon the flow map automatically saves the new location.

To maximize the size of the layout

To have the flow map take up the entire AppDynamics window, click Maximize (the icon) to enlarge the flow map.

To zoom in or out of the layout

To zoom in or out of the image, drag the zoom slider at the left of the flow map. Alternatively you can use the mouse scroll wheel. To save this change for the next time you open the dashboard, click Default Map -> Save Current Map.

To specify the region of the flow map to be displayed

Use your pointing device to move the viewport in the lower right area of the flow map to specify which part of a large flow map to display.

To rename the tier, node, or backend icons

The names of the icons are based on the names of the tier or backend. To rename them use the Tier, Node, Remote Services and Database dashboards.

Configuring a Custom Flow Map

The Flow Map menu lists the Default Map and any other maps configured in the UI. You can change the configuration and save a custom flow map for future use.

To configure a custom flow map

1. In a flow map, click the Flow Map menu to see the available options.

The scope of the custom flow map depends on which dashboard you use. For example if you click the flow map menu from an application dashboard, the scope of the new map is the application.

2. In the options list, click Configure Flow Maps to see a list of the existing flow maps.

3. Click Add (the icon).

4. In the Create Flow Map window Overview tab:

  • Name the view.
  • Confirm that the scope is at the correct level. If it is not, go back to Step 1 from the correct dashboard.
  • Check Shared to allow other users to see this flow map.
  • Use the Colors options to modify the look of the map.
  • Indicate if you want asynchronous activity shown with a dotted line.
  • Indicate if you want to save the Zoom and Pan setting.

5. Click the Tiers tab and configure what tiers are visible.

  • Check which types of tiers you want to see.
  • Hide any specific tiers, if needed.

6. Click the Databases and Remote Services tab and configure how you want the backends displayed.

  • Group databases or remote services of the same type. By default AppDynamics groups 2 or more backends of the same type. If you want to see each database or remote service in the flow map, uncheck this option.
  • If there are specific databases or remote services that you do not want to see or group in the flow map, uncheck the corresponding Visible or Groupable check box. See Group Backends on Flow Maps for more details.

7. Click Save.

When you create a custom flow map, the UI lists it in the:

  • Default Map menu of each flow map
  • Custom Flow Maps window

Editing Existing Flow Maps

To edit a flow map

1. In a flow map, click the Flow Map menu to see the available options.

2. In the options list, click Edit Current Flow Map.

3. In the flow map editor you can change the following settings:

  • Shared - by default custom flow maps are shared; deselect this if you want to keep the flow map for your own individual use.
  • Text color
  • Link color
  • Background Type: solid or gradient
  • Background color
  • Asynchronous Activity: check to show a dotted line for async calls

  • Zoom and Pan: check to save the zoom level and location across browser refreshes

4. Click Save to save your choices.

5. Click the Tiers tab to configure which tiers are visible.

  • Check the types of tiers you want to see.
  • Hide any specific tiers, if needed.
    Click Save.

6.  Click the Databases and Remote Services tab to configure how they are displayed.

  • Group databases and remote services of the same type. By default AppDynamics groups any two or more backends of the same type. Sometimes you want to see each database and remote service in the flow map. If so, uncheck this option.
  • If there are specific database or remote services that you do not want to see or group in the flow map, uncheck the Visible or Groupable check box. See Group Backends on Flow Maps.

7. Click Save.

AppDynamics applies the changes to the flow map.

To copy a flow map

1. In a dashboard Overview tab click Default Map -> Configure Flow Maps.
The Custom Flow Maps list appears.

2. In the Custom Flow Maps list, select a map.

3. Click Copy (the icon).

To delete a flow map

1. In a dashboard Overview tab click Default Map -> Configure Flow Maps.
The Custom Flow Maps list appears.

2. In the Custom Flow Maps list, select a map.

3. Click Delete (the icon).

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