Gartner Q&A: Cameron Haight Talks About APM - Part 3
February 28, 2015
Share this

In Part 3 of this exclusive interview, Cameron Haight, Gartner Research VP, IT Operations, discusses the new focus of his research: Application Performance Management (APM).

Start with Part 1 of the interview

Start with Part 2 of the interview

APM: Now let's talk about APM. When you look at APM today, what is your overall assessment of APM as an industry?

CH: It has been eight years plus since I directly covered APM, although I have been keeping track of some parts of it. But as I look at how Gartner identifies APM functionality today, we define APM with five functional requirements, but none of those are new. In the past we were doing end-user monitoring, application topology discovery and visualization, transaction profiling, component deep dives. Analytics were not very big in the past. The concept of analytics is not new but it is relatively new being applied to the APM domain.

So for me it wasn't like that scene in the movie Somewhere in Time where Christopher Reeve goes back in time wearing the completely wrong style of clothing for the era. My lapels might be a little wider back in that day, but it isn't like this is totally different than what I saw eight years ago. Some of the APM vendors may beg to differ with me. We will find out.

I think the technology has gotten better. Certainly in some areas. SaaS was not that big eight years ago. We had MSPs and ASPs before, but that was not a very successful business model in the early 2000 timeframe. Now it is more and more. But I don't see SaaS as necessarily providing a better function. It is providing a different delivery mechanism that improves the consumption of the service to be sure. And I think it has the potential to provide better function, by the way. But I don't necessarily see that today.

APM: You mention Gartner's definition of APM, with the five components. Do you foresee any changes to this definition?

CH: At Gartner, we are sensitive to the fact that what we do has a market impact. So any changes, if they were to occur, would not happen overnight. I'm not envisioning any changes, in the short-term. It seems to be working so far in terms of what Jonah Kowall and Will Cappelli (former and current Gartner Analysts) have been doing. They have recognized that a well featured APM tool should have these capabilities. They've captured a good pattern so far.

APM: What is your take on the fact that so many companies are still not using APM, despite its popularity and obvious benefits?

CH: As an outside observer of APM, I think we build a lot of complexity into these tools. And the complexity or price performance trade-off may not be there for a lot of companies.

I did a presentation a couple years ago on complexity. In the presentation I said that I don't have enterprise clients calling me and saying I have a complexity problem. But interestingly enough when you talk to them, complexity bubbles up as the underlying cause, whether it's complexity in process, complexity in organizational structure, complexity in technology. We make it very difficult to consume a lot of IT Operations Management (ITOM) and APM tools. It is probably an overused example but I always like to point to smartphones. That is a very complex device. No one ever picks up a manual to use it. So why can't we take the same approach to the tools that manage IT?

APM: Make IT tools more intuitive?

CH: Yes – a lot.

APM: So you're saying that complexity increases the cost, and makes it harder for people to adopt it? They need an expert or maybe a team of experts, etc.?

CH: Yes, like in the case when using SaaS. It solves the maintenance and deployment complexity but doesn't necessarily solve the user interaction complexity. Very few of these tools, based on my past history, enable you to pick up and say I know how to use this. It takes some time and training to use it. By the way this is not just APM. This is the whole portfolio of enterprise software from ERP to databases to everything else that we use every day in IT. It takes a lot of work and pain to make them work. That's why some companies say: enough. We are going to put this in the cloud and consume it from someone else, but even then we have other kinds of complexities, so it never totally goes away.

APM: In your recent blog you touch on the exponential growth of APM generated big data, with factors looming on the horizon like the Internet of Things. Do you feel APM today is not equipped to handle this deluge of data?

CH: It was more of a question because I don't know. Are we designing systems to manage hundreds of thousands of objects? Do we need to manage hundreds of thousands of objects? I don't think we are doing a great job managing what we already have. And the numbers on the horizon are kind of scary if in fact we are tasked to manage them. Analytics will hopefully address some of this, cut through the digital tsunami of info and data. But even then, are we really improving our situational awareness? It is a question more than anything else.

APM: Do you mean the IT user's situational awareness of the environment?

CH: Yes. What do we need to focus on here and now? How are our OODA (Observe, Orient, Decide, Act) loops improving, so that we can take the actions we need to prevent bad things from happening?

Look at other areas where sensory overload can result in disasters, like with airplanes. An automation system decides to stop working and the situational awareness is not there for the humans in the cockpit. Fortunately we don't face that life-and-death struggle in IT, but I would assert that we still have a lot of things going on in a typical NOC (Network Operations Center) environment, that we just don't know have a good handle on.

Jonah Kowall and Will Cappelli have done a great job in covering this area, and I will have big shoes to fill. One of the points I would like to focus on is improving situational awareness. It is not going to be just a technology enhancement to make that happen. We have to rethink how the workplace and the processes are designed as well.

ABOUT Cameron Haight

Cameron Haight is VP in Gartner Research. His primary research focus is on IT Operations Management (ITOM) and Application Performance Management (APM). His previous focus was on DevOps and associated technologies, processes and organizational structures. He has also developed the concept of web-scale IT, which seeks to enable enterprises to develop capabilities typically found only in large cloud services providers, such as Amazon and Google. Prior to Gartner, Haight worked at both BMC Software and IBM.

Share this

The Latest

February 28, 2024

With over 200 streaming services to choose from, including multiple platforms featuring similar types of entertainment, users have little incentive to remain loyal to any given platform if it exhibits performance issues. Big names in streaming like Hulu, Amazon Prime and HBO Max invest thousands of hours into engineering observability and closed-loop monitoring to combat infrastructure and application issues, but smaller platforms struggle to remain competitive without access to the same resources ...

February 27, 2024

Generative AI has recently experienced unprecedented dramatic growth, making it one of the most exciting transformations the tech industry has seen in some time. However, this growth also poses a challenge for tech leaders who will be expected to deliver on the promise of new technology. In 2024, delivering tangible outcomes that meet the potential of AI, and setting up incubator projects for the future will be key tasks ...

February 26, 2024

SAP is a tool for automating business processes. Managing SAP solutions, especially with the shift to the cloud-based S/4HANA platform, can be intricate. To explore the concerns of SAP users during operational transformations and automation, a survey was conducted in mid-2023 by Digitate and Americas' SAP Users' Group ...

February 22, 2024

Some companies are just starting to dip their toes into developing AI capabilities, while (few) others can claim they have built a truly AI-first product. Regardless of where a company is on the AI journey, leaders must understand what it means to build every aspect of their product with AI in mind ...

February 21, 2024

Generative AI will usher in advantages within various industries. However, the technology is still nascent, and according to the recent Dynatrace survey there are many challenges and risks that organizations need to overcome to use this technology effectively ...

February 20, 2024

In today's digital era, monitoring and observability are indispensable in software and application development. Their efficacy lies in empowering developers to swiftly identify and address issues, enhance performance, and deliver flawless user experiences. Achieving these objectives requires meticulous planning, strategic implementation, and consistent ongoing maintenance. In this blog, we're sharing our five best practices to fortify your approach to application performance monitoring (APM) and observability ...

February 16, 2024

In MEAN TIME TO INSIGHT Episode 3, Shamus McGillicuddy, VP of Research, Network Infrastructure and Operations, at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA) discusses network security with Chris Steffen, VP of Research Covering Information Security, Risk, and Compliance Management at EMA ...

February 15, 2024

In a time where we're constantly bombarded with new buzzwords and technological advancements, it can be challenging for businesses to determine what is real, what is useful, and what they truly need. Over the years, we've witnessed the rise and fall of various tech trends, such as the promises (and fears) of AI becoming sentient and replacing humans to the declaration that data is the new oil. At the end of the day, one fundamental question remains: How can companies navigate through the tech buzz and make informed decisions for their future? ...

February 14, 2024

We increasingly see companies using their observability data to support security use cases. It's not entirely surprising given the challenges that organizations have with legacy SIEMs. We wanted to dig into this evolving intersection of security and observability, so we surveyed 500 security professionals — 40% of whom were either CISOs or CSOs — for our inaugural State of Security Observability report ...

February 13, 2024

Cloud computing continues to soar, with little signs of slowing down ... But, as with any new program, companies are seeing substantial benefits in the cloud but are also navigating budgetary challenges. With an estimated 94% of companies using cloud services today, priorities for IT teams have shifted from purely adoption-based to deploying new strategies. As they explore new territories, it can be a struggle to exploit the full value of their spend and the cloud's transformative capabilities ...