Q&A Part One: CA Technologies Talks About APM
May 29, 2014
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In Part One of APMdigest's exclusive interview, Aruna Ravichandran, CA Technologies Vice President, Product and Solution Marketing, Application Performance Management & DevOps, discusses the company's new APM Business Unit and Application Performance Management product portfolio.

APM: Why did CA Technologies decide to establish a separate APM Business Unit this year? Was this more about internal restructuring or was it a response to the changing market?

AR: As a company, CA Technologies regularly looks at its structure to make sure we're set up for success. When Mike Gregoire took the helm as CEO, he was eager to bring that start-up mentality to a bigger company like CA. He also began to see opportunities where we could improve the company's efforts around Application Performance Management and established an APM business unit headed by James Harvey. Creating the APM BU was one important piece of Mike's program to re-energize and refocus CA's efforts to better respond to rapidly evolving markets, and most importantly, to meet or exceed the needs of our customers and their expectations. James is an energetic leader who brings deep experience in SaaS delivery and a sharp focus on maximizing the customer experience.

APM: What does this change mean to users? How will this impact customers and products?

AR: We have always been very focused on our customers' needs, and we are developing an even closer relationship with them to better understand their needs, challenges and future requirements. We're engaging customers earlier and more actively in our Agile development, design and review process through Sprint reviews and Roadmap sessions. Customers have a voice in what we develop and how well it meets their needs which helps us deliver value even faster.

We're also expanding our involvement with the broader APM community. APM is becoming increasingly important as customer expectations rise around their app experiences. It takes seconds, or milliseconds, to make a first impression, and we know that the broader APM community is passionate about what they do day in and day out to keep apps running at their best. There's a lot we can learn from each other, and we look forward to contributing to the advancement of APM as a discipline.

APM: Which CA products are under the new APM Business Unit?

AR: Products in the APM Business Unit at CA Technologies include CA Application Performance Management (APM), and CA APM Cloud Monitor.

The CA Application Performance Management (CA APM) solution was designed with the sole purpose of protecting and building our customers brand reputation by proactively managing the performance and availability of their software applications. This is our core on-premise APM solution that includes End User Experience Monitoring, deep dive diagnostic capability (generally recognized in the market as Introscope), Application Behavior Analytics (ABA), and Application Aware Infrastructure Management.

CA APM is the premier APM solution in the marketplace for enterprise organizations that demand the absolute best when monitoring applications they rely upon to drive revenue and strengthen. The largest and most innovative global organizations use this solution to proactively manage applications so every user transaction becomes a loyalty-building interaction.

CA APM also offers a rich ecosystem of partners and 3rd party integration. For example, CA APM is standard for all root cause analysis and diagnostics in SAP Active Global Support (AGS) solution.

Our SaaS APM offering is CA APM Cloud Monitor. It provides up-to-the-minute insight into application performance and availability, and enables users to resolve potential issues before users are impacted even when there are no active users on the system. CA Cloud Monitor can be used stand-alone or as an add on to CA APM and 3rd party APM solutions.

In addition to our core CA APM solution and CA APM Cloud Monitor, the company's mainframe, capacity management, application delivery and infrastructure management solutions also provide an even deeper and more comprehensive view into the technologies that further impact end user application interaction.

APM: Having worked at both HP and CA in the APM space, you are uniquely familiar with both product portfolios. What do you see as the main differences between HP and CA APM products?

AR: CA APM is one product. One user-interface. In short it offers, one simple way to monitor mission-critical applications all the way from Mobile to Mainframe, on-premise, in the cloud, anywhere anytime.

The three key differences between what CA offers in the way of APM and what HP offers are:  

One Product: The CA APM solution is a single product that offers all of the five dimensions of APM, namely: 1) End-User Experience Monitoring, 2) Application Topology Discovery and Visualization, 3) User-Defined Transaction Profiling, 4) Component Deep Dive, and 5) IT Operation Analytics. Also, since multi-variate behavioral analytics is such a critical component to any APM implementation it is offered as a feature within CA APM 9.5 at no additional cost (it is free!).

Mobile to Mainframe Monitoring: CA offers deep mainframe monitoring via Cross-Enterprise APM, which is very tightly integrated with CA APM. This functionality truly provides the end-to-end transaction visibility of application performance from your mainframe to mobile devices.

Deep Diagnostics: CA has a strong heritage in root-cause analysis. Our customers love us because we can pinpoint issues quickly for fast remediation. We have proven this time and time again with our diagnostics tool (many know it as Introscope). It is used by many of the world's largest organizations to ensure the performance of mission critical applications.

APM: On that point, how is CA APM differentiated from other vendors?

AR: CA APM stands out from other solutions by offering:

•Enterprise Scalability: CA APM is architected to scale to the most demanding environments, collecting billions of metrics per day (5,000,000 metrics every 15 seconds). Our customers can make critical business decisions based on simple actionable intelligence that cuts through the vast and complex data collected by the software.

•Embedded Application Behavior Analytics (ABA): CA APM helps users simplify the triage process with behavioral analytics that correlate multiple data points to generate simple actionable information in real time. This self-learning, auto-configured feature provides multi-dimensional analytics that helps customers more rapidly detect and analyze potential problems in their environment, allowing them to save time and budget typically spent on root cause analysis.

•Mobile-to-Mainframe Visibility: CA has been monitoring mainframe applications for years, and CA Cross-Enterprise APM (an add-on option) provides the necessary visibility into mainframe health. It helps IT operations teams identify and isolate performance problems by monitoring health metrics of critical application components, and delivers deep visibility into the performance of key mainframe resources including z/OS, USS, TCP/IP, WebSphere MQ, CA Datacom/DB, IBM IMS and DB2 for z/OS in a unified APM dashboard. 

APM: In APMdigest's recent interview with Jonah Kowall from Gartner, he mentions that APM portfolios must be simplified. How is CA addressing this?

AR: We absolutely agree that APM vendors have to continue reducing APM solution complexity. Our customers tell us that they choose CA because of our uniquely comprehensive and scalable APM approach – the only offering that can meet their needs for tier 1, mission critical applications. We are working to further simplify our solution as well as make additional customer-driven incremental product improvements. We are also working on delivering even more innovative APM capabilities in the near future. Stay tuned!

APM: Jonah Kowall also suggested the number one demand from APM users is to have one unified solution. He says: "Buyers would like to have one monitoring tool. And that does not mean five tools that are integrated together - that means one tool." Is CA addressing this?

AR: Yes, to meet this need we already deliver CA APM as a single tool (single SKU) with one user interface that offers real-time end-user experience management, business transaction level visibility across mobile to mainframe, deep diagnostics, and multivariate analytics. With CA APM, organizations can simplify the triage process with behavioral analytics that correlate multiple data points to generate simple actionable information in real time. We will add additional capabilities to the product with the ability to support newer frameworks such as PHP, Node.js in the future. In addition, simplifying our portfolio to provide a phenomenal customer experience to our end users is a critical part of our strategy.

Q&A Part Two: CA Technologies Talks About APM

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