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

February 12, 2016

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for technology users across the globe to express their love and appreciation for that special someone(s) … their IT team. With the constant evolution of new technologies and innovative tools, it is more important than ever to show a little love on this day to the heart of your organization who keeps it all running efficiently ...

February 12, 2016

On Valentine's Day it's important to show the love for the most important people – or networks – in our lives. In honor of the upcoming holiday, SolarWinds recently asked IT pros: "If you could say one thing to your network, what would it be?" ...

February 11, 2016

Moogsoft conducted an IT monitoring survey with attendees at AppDynamics AppSphere. A variety of questions were asked, from the number of monitoring tools they use, to the time it takes to detect and resolve incidents, to what they hope to see from vendors in the future. While some responses were predictable, some were actually rather surprising ...

February 10, 2016

To optimize application performance, IT teams need to proactively ensure the optimized performance of every underlying infrastructure component, including physical and virtual servers, networks, storage devices, databases, end-user services and cloud and big data environments. It is imperative that they not only identify and resolve issues quickly, but also pre-empt potential issue before there's an adverse impact on the user experience. Below are six key requirements that can help you achieve these objectives ...

February 09, 2016

SDN is not expected to truly catch on in 2016, according to some experts on APMdigest's 2016 predictions list, however a recent International Data Corporation (IDC) forecast says: the worldwide software-defined networking (SDN) market — comprising physical network infrastructure, virtualization/control software, SDN applications (including network and security services), and professional services — will have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 53.9% from 2014 to 2020 and will be worth nearly $12.5 billion in 2020 ...

February 08, 2016

Just seconds after her Super Bowl performance (and subsequent tour teaser), Beyonce found her website "slayed" by an onslaught of traffic and connection failures. This outage illustrates that even the biggest celebrities and brands can easily find their digital performance put to the test ...

February 05, 2016

As the Super Bowl approaches, an equally epic game is taking place in cyberspace. The Super Bowl is the "moment of truth" for the NFL, sports media, advertisers, restaurants (especially pizza joints), food delivery services and gambling sites. They have to be ready in order to capitalize on unpredictably "spiky" traffic and the transactions before, during and, for some, after the game. To better evaluate the impact of the Super Bowl on ecommerce and website traffic, SOASTA conducted a survey that examined the online and mobile habits and preferences of Americans watching this year's big game ...

February 04, 2016

It’s hard to define software-defined networking (SDN) as one thing, given that it is applied to so many different areas of networking: Data centers, enterprise campus, the WAN, radio access networks, etc. And each vendor that introduces an SDN product to the market is working from a definition that fits into its own strategy. But … what do those people who deploy SDN have to say? ...

February 03, 2016

Remember the adage "beauty is in the eye of the beholder?" Similarly, service quality is in the eye of the user. So, to understand service quality, we should be measuring end-user experience (EUE). You may already be measuring EUE. Some of your applications – particularly those based on Java and .NET – may already be instrumented with agent-based APM solutions. But there are a few challenges to an agent-based approach to EUE ...

February 02, 2016

IT and business executives agree that digital transformation and the use of hybrid clouds are key to competitive success in the digital age, according to a new study conducted by IDG Research Services ...

Share this