Q&A Part Two: Gartner Talks About SaaS APM
June 26, 2012
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In Part Two of APMdigest's exclusive interview, Jonah Kowall, Research Director in Gartner's IT Operations Research group, discusses SaaS APM - the new requirement for the 2012 Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Management.

Start with Q&A Part One: Gartner Talks About APM Cool Vendors

APM: Gartner is changing some of the requirements for the Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring. This year you are requiring all APM companies included in the report to offer a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) option?

JK: Yes that is correct. At least a part of the offering. It does not need to be a full-blown implementation.

We are seeing more and more interest in SaaS solutions. The new requirement for the Magic Quadrant is driven by the requests that we get for SaaS deployment models, which is increasing. Vendors that are not really thinking about SaaS cannot keep up to speed with what is happening in the market.

In the future, we will put even more requirements around SaaS capabilities, and eventually we would like to have all the vendors in the Magic Quadrant for APM offer everything they can do on-premise as SaaS as well, so that customers will not have to choose on-premise for certain functionality. In the future all vendors' on-premise and SaaS offerings should have the same capabilities, but at this point the marketplace is not there yet.

APM: In terms of actual deployments, is SaaS APM becoming a mainstream solution, or is it still down the road?

JK: SaaS in general is definitely here. It is being adopted heavily. And I would say that APM-as-a-Service is definitely here now, too. Some of the vendors that are offering SaaS APM have substantial customer accounts and market penetration. And I'm talking about standard full-blown APM, let alone the synthetic transaction technologies that have been adopted as SaaS for a long time as well.

Through this year you will start to see significantly more offerings as full APM Software-as-a-Service, mostly driven by market demand. This is something that was immature a year ago but has snowballed its way to become a market driver.

APM: Do you see any challenges for SaaS APM adoption?

JK: SaaS is something that has been permeating every company and every industry. But for some reason the IT team has not been keeping up with the way the business side is adopting and using Software-as-a-Service. It seems like IT is behind what the business is doing, and how the business is exploiting technology. IT is very conservative and the business tends to be much more progressive. This is something the IT team is constantly struggling with as far staying relevant, staying ahead of the business. And in many ways now the business is setting much of the technology pace in the company. It is an interesting change that is slowly taking place.

APM: Does SaaS APM have to be completely agentless?

JK: No, it can be agent-based. The companies that offer full-blown APM-as-a-Service use agents, because they have the full functionality of being able to dig into the transaction and not just look at the users. The solutions that only look at user experience – whether it is synthetic or real users – can do that without agents, but when you want to dig into the actual application and the database, and understand the execution of the application, you still need to have agents there.

I think a trend is that some of the agentry will be embedded in the platforms for the public cloud, for example. So if you were to go to a public cloud and start up an instance, there could be an agent already in that instance that you do not need to configure per se.

We are starting to see some of that marketplace capability happening, where you can literally go to a website and click “instrument my application with product X” and it will deploy the agent and get your application instrumented. That is starting to happen, and you will see a lot more of that happening in the next month or two.

APM: Is there some aspect of APM specifically that makes it ideal for SaaS, or is it just that any application can be deployed that way?

JK: In the future, when you move to infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) in the public cloud or private cloud, or eventually platform-as-a-service (PaaS), you put your code up on the platform and your software executes. You don't worry about the infrastructure. At that point you don't need to monitor any of the infrastructure because it is hidden behind the PaaS or IaaS provider. APM is the only way you can understand how your code is actually executing and what the user is experiencing. APM is still very relevant in that world. APM becomes the only monitoring that you really need, besides possibly some network monitoring.

At that point you don't want to deal with managing the APM solution yourself, so going to an APM-as-a-Service type of solution can alleviate many of those concerns, and provide a more efficient way to deploy APM.

APM: How do you rate the industry overall, in terms of the vendors' ability to deliver SaaS?

JK: Sorry but I cannot comment on that while the research is in progress. We are targeting a Q3 release for the Magic Quadrant for Application Performance Monitoring.

Check back tomorrow for Part Three of the Q&A, when Jonah Kowall discusses other new requirements for the Magic Quadrant for APM, as well as challenges of APM deployments and Big Data.

ABOUT Jonah Kowall

Jonah Kowall is a research director in Gartner's IT Operations Research group. He focuses on application performance monitoring (APM), event correlation and analysis (ECA), network management systems (NMSs), network performance management (NPM), network configuration and change management (NCCM), and general system and infrastructure monitoring technologies. Previously Kowall managed a global team of engineers and managers for MFG.com, and was responsible for monitoring and enterprise management software and architecture at Thomson Reuters.

Related Links:

Q&A Part One: Gartner Talks About APM Cool Vendors

Q&A Part Three: Gartner Talks About Application Performance Management

Gartner's Five Dimensions of APM

Gartner Analyst Will Cappelli Talks about APM

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