Forrester Study Highlights Application Performance Challenges
October 02, 2013
Heidi Gabrielson
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Today's enterprises are powered by their applications, so ensuring those applications are available and performing well has become a key business initiative around the globe. However, this is easier said than done in the face of rapid IT change and innovation. Mobile users and devices, cloud-based infrastructures and applications, big data challenges, and the never-ending march of virtualization are all speed bumps along the road to successful and efficient IT and application delivery.  

In fact, it is so difficult to effectively manage application performance that a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Riverbed found of 159 IT professionals with direct responsibility for business-critical applications, 54 percent of those surveyed are unable to resolve more than 25 percent of their problems in less than 24 hours. And 31 percent have experienced issues that persist for a month or more.

Not unsurprisingly, Forrester found that slow application performance has a strong impact on enterprise efficiency. Business user productivity takes the biggest hit, but IT productivity loss is not far behind. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of IT operations groups surveyed regularly spend between 10 to 30 percent of their IT operational resources on unplanned or unscheduled tasks due to infrastructure and application issues.

The good news is that IT operation groups are turning to performance management solutions to help them address these issues. An overwhelming 80 percent believe that performance management tools are important or very important in managing application performance.

Unfortunately,it is not that simple. While many organizations have performance management solutions in place, these solutions are often not meeting their complete needs. Companies frequently have too many tools that report on different consoles with no data normalization or time alignment between them, making it impossible to gain a holistic view of the problem, or they lack complete coverage/visibility in their environment.

Forrester noted that organizations are looking for a number of improvements from their performance management solutions, including:

- Enabling better cooperation and collaboration between IT teams

- Providing a single console for data presentation and analysis

- Earlier, more proactive alerting

- Analytics and correlation for advanced root cause determination

- Real-time mapping of application dependencies on infrastructure

To the survey respondents, transaction mapping, the ability to describe all the components used in delivering a specific transaction, is the cornerstone of an integrated application monitoring strategy, but it needs to be complemented with data collected across all components of the application environment.

This is because application problems can happen anywhere — out at the end user device, on the network, inside the infrastructure or in the application code. IT operations and dev teams need a performance management solution that provides visibility across the entire application delivery environment. They need intelligence into the end-user experience, application transactions and code, and network performance to quickly diagnose root cause before the business is impacted.

Merging application performance management and application-aware network performance management capabilities in the same dashboard, and applying a common language of application-related intelligence like transaction analysis, can streamline the interaction between IT operations and development. This type of cooperation and collaboration leads to significantly reduced troubleshooting time, and connects dev teams with their production environments to assist in healthy and efficient application lifecycle management. 

ABOUT Heidi Gabrielson

Heidi Gabrielson is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for the Riverbed Performance Management business unit.

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