Q&A: TRAC Research Talks About APM - Part One
December 19, 2011
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In APMdigest's exclusive interview, Bojan Simic, President & Principal Analyst, TRAC Research, discusses his new interactive report on Application Performance Management technologies, which will be introduced this month.

Click here to read Part Two of APMdigest's exclusive interview with Bojan Simic from TRAC Research

APM: What does the report cover?

Simic: We dive into different use cases and talk about topics such as APM for cloud applications, how you close some of the key blind spots, how to be more proactive.

About 80% of the study will be vendor agnostic –- about the key trends in the APM market and capabilities that matter in these use cases.

If you look at the APM technologies that are out there, these products are being purchased in three key areas: end user experience monitoring, transaction-centric approach for APM, and monitoring and managing individual infrastructure elements, such as network, server and database. So the report will be released in three phases covering each of these three categories.

APM: What is the best way for a company to approach APM? Should they find a vendor that has all of three of these capabilities?

Simic: That's a great question, and that is actually why we developed an interactive approach for the report. In the research process, when we asked companies why they picked a solution, many of them said they were looking to have more flexibility about how they deploy these capabilities. They did not need everything. They understand that the solution they bought is not the best in the market but, in many cases, it is the only one that actually allows them to do what they want.

In TRAC's survey, we asked the question about completeness of the offering, but we also asked questions about how the solution demonstrated effectiveness in specific use cases. The number of people that selected “specific use cases” versus “completeness of the offering” was 3X. It definitely matters what you can do in the APM space, and I think a lot of vendors are trying to make their offerings more complete, but on the flip side they need to be able to address more of these use cases as opposed to trying to appeal to everyone by saying they can do everything, because that is not how people go about selecting these solutions.

APM: For companies that want everything, do you have an opinion on whether they should go to one vendor or build a best-of-breed collection?

Simic: It all depends who the buyer is. If you look at user experience monitoring products, in some cases marketing folks buy these products and IT will never know about it. And IT might have something completely different in the same organization, which they use for troubleshooting or capacity planning. Marketing is just looking to monitor some very specific metrics such as application response times or availability and how that impacts their goals like the number of clicks, page views, conversion rates. So in some cases you can get all that from a single vendor.

I think there is definitely value in addressing these different areas by using solutions that can actually talk to each other. In some cases that means buying from a single vendor, and in some cases that means buying solutions that have capabilities for sharing data between them. And some APM vendors are focusing on the ability to import or export data with some other tool. It definitely makes more sense to be able to correlate information collected from different sources, but that does not necessarily mean you have to buy from a single vendor.

APM: Why have you chosen a new interactive format for your APM report?

Simic: If you look at the APM space, at least 30 or 40 vendors have APM in their positioning. Then look at the underlying technologies, and if you look at who these vendors are truly competing against, even though they are addressing some APM challenges, they are doing it from different perspectives and many of them never run into each other in a competitive situation. It's not because some of them are too small, or because of different geographical presences, it is because the way that users evaluate APM vendors is about how effective they can be in addressing the specific problems they have.

As opposed to throwing them all in the same bucket and saying, “These five or ten are better than the others, based on the completeness of their solution,” it makes more sense to evaluate them based on how effective they are per use case. And to cover each use case, you end up with a 40 or 50 page PDF that not a lot of people would read.

We developed an interactive format that allows you to define who you are as a company or as a user, your job role, the budget, type of applications are you using, your pain point, and the underlying technology. When defined by that, your market landscape is no longer 40 vendors. In many cases it goes down to 4 or 5.

So we are using an interactive format to allow people to get the information they need based on what is really relevant to them, not the APM market as a whole.

Click here to read Part Two of APMdigest's exclusive interview with Bojan Simic from TRAC Research

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