Introducing perfino

Tuesday, June 03, 2014 | Posted by

Today we're releasing a major new product: perfino is a JVM monitoring tool for in-production use. Over the years, we have lost count of the number of times that our customers have asked us on how to best deploy JProfiler in production. While our standard response was to recommend a monitoring tool, our customers were not so easily dissuaded. They wanted the power of JProfiler to solve their particular problems.

Out of this dilemma, the idea for perfino was born. Would it be possible to develop a monitoring tool that could be used in production, yet provide a way to escalate from monitoring to profiling if necessary? We are firmly convinced that perfino succeeds with respect to this original goal and provides you with a layered defence in depth. When a problem becomes more difficult to solve with monitoring techniques, perfino offers low-risk, low-overhead native JVMTI sampling to get a picture of the entire JVM. If even that is not enough, perfino offers an easy way to attach JProfiler to a problematic JVM. At that point, you have the full arsenal of a Java profiler at your disposal.

However, the much larger part of perfino is not its emergency handling, but its monitoring capabilities. Here, we wanted to make a difference as well. perfino uses a Java agent with ultra-low overhead and measures what is called "business transactions" in the APM space. Business transactions capture important method calls with specially constructed names that help you to interpret what is going on in your application.

For business transactions, we brought in successful concepts from the profiling space and integrated them into perfino. For example, transactions are shown in a call tree and you can see hot spots of transactions. With perfino, it is possible to define many transactions that are nested. This gives you more informational depth and correspondingly more insight than just the list of top-level business transactions that is common for APM tools.

The amount of useful information in an APM tool is directly related to the amount and quality of the recorded business transactions. This is why we expended a lot of energy on the business transaction engine and the configuration of business transactions in the perfino UI. Also, we wanted to make it really easy to define business transactions directly in your code. The DevOps annotations offered by perfino are a great way to achieve this. Rather than thinking about monitoring as external to the application, you just annotate methods of interest.

The features mentioned above rotate around measuring method calls. Of course, a monitoring tool needs to do a lot more and we’ve strived to make perfino great in all these aspects: Telemetries, policies, triggers, alerts, end user experience monitoring and lots more. Take a look at the feature list or - even better - try it out in our live demo or on your own machines. Tell us what you think and what you would like to see in future versions.


perfino is a powerful APM solution today, but our vision for perfino is not done yet. There are many more things to come and we hope you’ll bear with us.