The Anatomy of APM – 4 Foundational Elements to a Successful Strategy
April 04, 2012

Larry Dragich
Auto Club Group

Share this

By embracing End-User-Experience (EUE) measurements as a key vehicle for demonstrating productivity, you build trust with your constituents in a very tangible way. The translation of IT metrics into business meaning (value) is what APM is all about.

The goal here is to simplify a complicated technology space by walking through a high-level view within each core element. I’m suggesting that the success factors in APM adoption center around the EUE and the integration touch points with the Incident Management process.

When looking at APM at 20,000 feet, four foundational elements come into view:

- Top Down Monitoring (RUM)


- Bottom Up Monitoring (Infrastructure)


- Incident Management Process (ITIL)


- Reporting (Metrics)


Top Down Monitoring

Top Down Monitoring is also referred to as Real-time Application Monitoring that focuses on the End-User-Experience. It has two has two components, Passive and Active. Passive monitoring is usually an agentless appliance which leverages network port mirroring. This low risk implementation provides one of the highest values within APM in terms of application visibility for the business.

Active monitoring, on the other hand, consists of synthetic probes and web robots which help report on system availability and predefined business transactions. This is a good complement when used with passive monitoring to help provide visibility on application health during off peak hours when transaction volume is low.

Bottom Up Monitoring

Bottom Up Monitoring is also referred to as Infrastructure Monitoring which usually ties into an operations manager tool and becomes the central collection point where event correlation happens. Minimally, at this level up/down monitoring should be in place for all nodes/servers within the environment. System automation is the key component to the timeliness and accuracy of incidents being created through the Trouble Ticket Interface.

Incident Management Process

The Incident Management Process as defined in ITIL is a foundational pillar to support Application Performance Management (APM). In our situation, Incident Management, Problem Management, and Change Management processes were already established in the culture for a year prior to us beginning to implement the APM strategies.

A look into ITIL's Continual Service Improvement (CSI) model and the benefits of Application Performance Management indicates they are both focused on improvement, with APM defining toolsets that tie together specific processes in Service Design, Service Transition, and Service Operation.

Reporting Metrics

Capturing the raw data for analysis is essential for an APM strategy to be successful. It is important to arrive at a common set of metrics that you will collect and then standardize on a common view on how to present the real-time performance data.

Your best bet: Alert on the Averages and Profile with Percentiles. Use 5 minute averages for real-time performance alerting, and percentiles for overall application profiling and Service Level Management.

Conclusion

As you go deeper in your exploration of APM and begin sifting through the technical dogma (e.g. transaction tagging, script injection, application profiling, stitching engines, etc.) for key decision points, take a step back and ask yourself why you're doing this in the first place: To translate IT metrics into an End-User-Experience that provides value back to the business.

If you have questions on the approach and what you should focus on first with APM, see Prioritizing Gartner's APM Model for insight on some best practices from the field.

Larry Dragich is Director of Enterprise Application Services at the Auto Club Group.

You can contact Larry on LinkedIn

Larry Dragich of AAA Joins The BSM Blog

For a high-level view of a much broader technology space refer to slide show on BrightTALK.com which describes “The Anatomy of APM - webcast” in more context.

Share this

The Latest

June 27, 2017

In today's everchanging IT industry, network engineers face a slew of challenges when it comes to network management. As networks continue to grow and become more complex, many IT professionals struggle to get a grasp on key workflows in which network engineers still rely on manual processes, including network documentation, troubleshooting, change management and cybersecurity ...

June 26, 2017

Many organizations are struggling to resolve customer-impacting incidents quickly enough to preserve brand loyalty and revenue, according to PagerDuty's recent State of Digital Operations Report ...

June 23, 2017

"Become the Automator, Not the Automated." While it's a simple enough phrase, it speaks directly to how today's organizations and IT teams must innovate to remain competitive. A critical aspect of innovation is acknowledging the digital transformation of businesses. The move to digitalization enables organizations to more effectively unlock the power of information technology (IT) to fuel and accelerate business innovation. It is a competitive weapon and a survival imperative ...

June 22, 2017

Executives in the US and Europe now place broad trust in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning systems, designed to protect organizations from more dynamic pernicious cyber threats, according to Radware's 2017 Executive Application & Network Security Survey ....

June 21, 2017

While IT service management (ITSM) has too often been viewed by the industry as an area of reactive management with fading process efficiencies and legacy concerns, a new study by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) reveals that, in many organizations, ITSM is becoming a hub of innovation ...

June 20, 2017

Cloud is quickly becoming the new normal. The challenge for organizations is that increased cloud usage means increased complexity, often leading to a kind of infrastructure "blind spot." So how do companies break the blind spot and get back on track? ...

June 19, 2017

Hybrid IT is becoming a standard enterprise model, but there’s no single playbook to get there, according to a new report by Dimension Data entitled The Success Factors for Managing Hybrid IT ...

June 16, 2017

Any mobile app developer will tell you that one of the greatest challenges in monetizing their apps through video ads isn't finding the right demand or knowing when to run the videos; it's figuring out how to present video ads without slowing down their apps ...

June 15, 2017

40 percent of UK retail websites experience downtime during seasonal peaks, according to a recent study by Cogeco Peer 1 ...

June 14, 2017

Predictive analytics is a popular ITOA technology that you can leverage to improve your business by leaps and bounds. Predictive analytics analyzes relationships among various data points to predict behavioral trends, growth opportunities and risks, which can add critical value to your business. Here are a few questions to help you decide if predictive analytics is right for your business ...