The Need for Unified User Experience
March 24, 2015

Gabriel Lowy
TechTonics

Share this

With the proliferation of composite applications for cloud and mobility, monitoring individual components of the application delivery chain is no longer an effective way to assure user experience.  IT organizations must evolve toward a unified approach that promotes collaboration and efficiency to better align with corporate return on investment (ROI) and risk management objectives.

The more business processes come to depend on multiple applications and the underlying infrastructure, the more susceptible they are to performance degradation. Unfortunately, most enterprises still monitor and manage user experience from traditional technology domain silos, such as server, network, application, operating system or security. As computing and processes continue to shift from legacy architecture, this approach only perpetuates an ineffective, costly and politically-charged environment. 

Key drivers necessitating change include widespread adoption of virtualization technologies and associated virtual machine (VM) migration, cloud balancing between public, hybrid and private cloud environments, the adoption of DevOps practices and the traffic explosion of latency-sensitive applications such as streaming video and voice-over-IP (VoIP).

The migration toward IaaS providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft underscore the need for unifying user experience assurance across multiple data centers, which are increasingly beyond the corporate firewall. Moreover, as video joins VoIP as a primary traffic generator competing for bandwidth on enterprise networks, users and upper management will become increasingly intolerant of poor performance.

By having different tools for monitoring data, VoIP and video traffic, enterprise IT silos experience rising cost, complexity and mean time to resolution (MTTR). Traditionally, IT has used delay, jitter and packet loss as proxies for network performance. Legacy network performance management (NPM) tools were augmented with WAN optimization technology to accelerate traffic between data center and branch office user.

Meanwhile, conventional Application Performance Management (APM) tools monitor performance of individual servers rather than across the application delivery chain – from the web front end through business logic processes to the database. While synthetic transactions provide a clearer view into user experience, they tend to add overhead. They also do not experience the same network latencies that are common to branch office networks since they originate in the same data center as the application server.  Finally, being synthetic, they are not representative of “live” production transactions.

Characteristics of a Unified Platform

Service delivery must be unified across the different IT silos to enable visibility across all applications, services, locations and devices. Truly holistic end-to-end user experience assurance must also map resource and application dependencies. It needs to have a single view of all components that support a service.

In order to achieve this, data has to be assimilated from network service providers and cloud service providers in addition to data from within the enterprise. Correlation and analytics engines must include key performance indicators (KPIs) as guideposts to align with critical business processes.

Through a holistic approach, the level of granularity can also be adjusted to the person viewing the performance of the service or the network. For example, a business user’s requirements will differ from an operations manager, which in turn will be different from a network engineer.

A unified platform integrates full visibility from the network’s vantage point, which touches service and cloud providers, with packet-level transaction tracing granularity. The platform includes visualization for mapping resource interdependencies as well as real-time and historical data analytics capabilities. 

A unified approach to user experience assurance enables IT to identify service degradation faster, and before the end user does. The result is improved ROI throughout the organization through reduced costs and higher productivity.

Optimizing performance of services and users also allows IT to evolve toward a process-oriented service delivery philosophy. In doing so, IT also aligns more closely with strategic initiatives of an increasingly data-driven enterprise. This is all the more important as big data applications and sources become a larger part of decision-making and data management.

Gabriel Lowy is the founder of TechTonics Advisors, a research-first investor relations consultancy that helps technology companies maximize value for all stakeholders by bridging vision, strategy, product portfolio and markets with analysts and investors
Share this

The Latest

January 16, 2018

Looking back on this year, we can see threads of what the future holds in enterprise networking. Specifically, taking a closer look at the biggest news and trends of this year, IT areas where businesses are investing and perspectives from the analyst community, as well as our own experiences, here are five network predictions for the coming year ...

January 12, 2018

As we enter 2018, businesses are busy anticipating what the new year will bring in terms of industry developments, growing trends, and hidden surprises. In 2017, the increased use of automation within testing teams (where Agile development boosted speed of release), led to QA becoming much more embedded within development teams than would have been the case a few years ago. As a result, proper software testing and monitoring assumes ever greater importance. The natural question is – what next? Here are some of the changes we believe will happen within our industry in 2018 ...

January 11, 2018

Application Performance Monitoring (APM) has become a must-have technology for IT organizations. In today’s era of digital transformation, distributed computing and cloud-native services, APM tools enable IT organizations to measure the real experience of users, trace business transactions to identify slowdowns and deliver the code-level visibility needed for optimizing the performance of applications. 2018 will see the requirements and expectations from APM solutions increase in the following ways ...

January 10, 2018

We don't often enough look back at the prior year’s predictions to see if they actually came to fruition. That is the purpose of this analysis. I have picked out a few key areas in APMdigest's 2017 Application Performance Management Predictions, and analyzed which predictions actually came true ...

January 09, 2018

Planning for a new year often includes predicting what’s going to happen. However, we don't often enough look back at the prior year’s predictions to see if they actually came to fruition. That is the purpose of this analysis. I have picked out a few key areas in APMdigest's 2017 Application Performance Management Predictions, and analyzed which predictions actually came true ...

January 08, 2018

The annual list of DevOps Predictions is now a DEVOPSdigest tradition. DevOps experts — analysts and consultants, users and the top vendors — offer predictions on how DevOps and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2018 ...

January 05, 2018

Industry experts offer predictions on how Network Performance Management (NPM) and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2018 ...

January 04, 2018

Industry experts offer predictions on how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2018. Part 6 covers ITOA and data ...

January 03, 2018

Industry experts offer predictions on how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2018. Part 5 covers NoOps, Analytics, Machine Learning and AI ...

December 21, 2017

Industry experts offer predictions on how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2018. Part 4 covers the end user experience ...