Q&A Part One: IBM Talks About APM
January 26, 2012

In APMdigest's exclusive interview, Matthew Ellis, IBM Vice President of Service Availability and Performance, discusses APM including cost concerns, APM in the cloud, and Gartner's 5 dimensions of APM.

APM: What have been IBM's most important advancement in APM in the last year?

ME: One of IBM’s most significant innovations was the introduction in 2011 of an agentless transaction tracking solution that works in harmony with our existing agent-based solution. This combination, which is unique in the market, gives our customers the best of both worlds – the ease-of-use and time-to-value of agentless tracking combined with the detailed information provided by an agent-based solution in the domains that need it. Agentless and agent-based data combine seamlessly to provide our customers with incremental value and a complete picture of their application transaction topologies.

APM: What is the secret to successful APM in the cloud?

ME: There are three keys to insuring application performance in cloud-based infrastructures:

- Visibility beyond the firewall

- Robust SLA monitoring of public and private cloud infrastructure

- Tight integration to traditional monitoring

Getting performance data on individual cloud components is crucial to rapid problem isolation and diagnosis, but is often hindered by incompatible (or non-existent) instrumentation or an inability to share data in a meaningful way. Effective SLA monitoring involves watching every transaction that crosses the firewall boundary, and alerting when expectations aren’t being met.

Lastly, since moving applications to the cloud is a process, and very few IT divisions are 100% cloud-based at this point, it is critical that the APM data you get from the cloud tightly integrates with your existing traditional management solutions.

Ideally, you want an APM solution that is completely infrastructure-agnostic – you have exactly the same visibility, presented in the same way, whether the application is running natively on physical hardware, on an internal virtualized infrastructure, in the cloud, or some hybrid combination of all three.

APM: A recent study from Trac Research shows cost management as a key APM concern. How does an organization find the right balance between how much money and time they can afford to spend on managing applications versus how much visibility they can get?

ME: For each organization, the investment in APM is going to vary.  Of course, it is ultimately an ROI discussion.  For some, any incremental amount of increased visibility increases confidence in their support of critical applications and can be justified in improved availability or optimized performance of critical applications.  For others, there is a clear point of diminishing returns where further investment is no longer warranted.

We recommend a staged approach to APM deployment that allows simple, high value goals to be achieved rapidly and enables further investment in greater visibility to be seamless and incrementally added.

APM: What are the steps you recommend?

Many organizations start by simply monitoring the application response times that customers experience to ensure that application behavior is meeting their expectations.  

The next stage is to deploy our agentless transaction tracking solution which can monitor applications across the infrastructure without investing in deep metric evaluation of all involved application components. The information learned with this part of our APM solution can show where applications are spending most of their time, and suggest where richer instrumentation would be most beneficial.  

At this point we recommend installing local agents for deep monitoring of critical components to collect all of the information that can be important to maintaining optimal application behavior. Some customers opt to install deep monitoring on all of the components of their critical applications, and some go even deeper, capturing information sufficient to enable application debugging of production applications.

Different organizations and different applications have different needs. By providing a multi-layered APM solution that progresses through very simple steps from response time monitoring to different levels of transaction tracking and even application diagnostics, IBM is able to provide a solution that can be easily deployed and extended incremental for the most demanding organization.

APM: Why do you feel the Gartner Magic Quadrant on APM named IBM as a Leader?

ME: IBM has a comprehensive vision of APM. IBM’s APM solution offers a combination of proven technology, industry-leading integration, and extensive breadth of coverage. In addition, IBM’s continued focus on ease of use, rapid time-to-value, and role-based pricing and packaging make our portfolio straightforward to adopt in production environments.

Gartner defines APM as having 5 dimensions: End-user Experience Monitoring, Discovery, Transaction Profiling, Deep-Dive Component Monitoring, and Performance Analytics. A unified solution incorporating each of these dimensions is critical to insuring application performance, by enabling the context for action that is so critical to modern operations.

Click here to read Part Two of the Q&A with IBM VP Matthew Ellis, covering predictive analytics.

The Latest

November 25, 2015

Retailers are investing heavily in digital business this year, according to the 2015 Retail & Consumer Holiday Outlook from PwC. This holiday season, 77% of retailers expect a 16% increase in digital revenues over last holiday season. PwC expects online shopping leaders to gain a 40% to 50% increase in digital revenues this holiday season ...

November 24, 2015

What attributes do consumers expect from shopping sites? It's a question of critical importance to Internet retailers. At this time of the year, retail and ecommerce businesses are bracing for 15% more holiday shoppers than last year. What can they do to ensure that they get a generous slice of the holiday pie? ...

November 23, 2015

The Black Friday digital swarm is approaching. Are you prepared? Sure your infrastructure is ready to scale, you've issued a production code freeze, and you're actively monitoring your applications with Application Performance Management (APM), but many organizations are overlooking one major component that can have a direct impact on Black Friday revenue: the mobile app ...

November 20, 2015

What is DevOps? It is one of the hottest buzzwords in IT, but many have difficulty finding a specific definition. The truth is that DevOps means different things to different people. DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the industry to define what DevOps means to them. The purpose of this list is not to come up with a one-sentence definition of DevOps to appeal to all. The goal is to show just how many varied ideas are connected with the concept of DevOps, and in the process learn a little more what DevOps is all about ...

November 19, 2015

APMdigest asked experts from across Application Performance Management (APM) and related markets what they see as the most important way application performance impacts the business. The fourth and final installment covers business impacts you might not have thought about ...

November 18, 2015

APMdigest asked experts from across Application Performance Management (APM) and related markets what they see as the most important way application performance impacts the business. The third installment covers the internal impacts of application performance on your teams ...

November 17, 2015

APMdigest asked experts from across Application Performance Management (APM) and related markets what they see as the most important way application performance impacts the business. The second installment covers some of your key corporate goals ...

November 16, 2015

Application Performance Management is a top priority for many IT organizations, and the companies they support. Achieving high application performance is not a goal unto itself, however. The reason application performance is so important is that it impacts business success in today's application-based economy. To explore this topic further, APMdigest asked experts from across Application Performance Management (APM) and related markets what they see as the most important way application performance impacts the business. The goal of the list is to highlight how many diverse ways application performance impacts business results.

The list will be posted in four parts over the next four days. First, the list will cover the main impacts to business, and later installments will introduce you to less tangible — but no less real — impacts that you may not have considered. The first installment covers interactions with your customers ...

November 13, 2015

Tremendous temporary surges in Web purchase activity are a fact of life in retail. If prognosticators are right, e-retailers may be under more pressure to keep their sites up and running this holiday season. Unfortunately, e-commerce sites can fail to handle a highly concentrated number of transactions ...

November 12, 2015

We talked a lot about the outside in perspective on the performance: the external factors that can hamper your applications' perceived performance, but what about the most critical components of your web and mobile apps? I'm talking about APIs. Internal, external or 3rd party; APIs are most critical to your business ...

Share this