Holistic Unified User Experience Assurance
July 25, 2013

Gabriel Lowy
TechTonics

Share this

With the proliferation of composite applications for cloud and mobility, monitoring individual components of the application delivery chain is no longer an effective way to assure user experience. IT organizations must evolve toward a holistic, more collaborative methodology based on a service-delivery principle that is more aligned with corporate strategy.

The more business processes come to depend on multiple applications and the underlying infrastructure, the more susceptible they are to performance degradation. Unfortunately, most enterprises still monitor and manage user experience from traditional technology domain silos, such as server, network, application, operating system or security. As computing and processes continue to shift from legacy architecture, this approach only perpetuates an ineffective, costly and politically-charged environment.

Key drivers necessitating change include widespread adoption of virtualization technologies and associated virtual machine (VM) migration, cloud balancing between public, hybrid and private cloud environments, and the traffic explosion of latency-sensitive applications such as streaming video and voice-over-IP (VoIP).

The migration toward IaaS providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft underscore the need for holistic user experience assurance across multiple data centers, which are increasingly beyond the corporate firewall.

Moreover, as video joins VoIP as a primary traffic generator competing for bandwidth on enterprise networks, users and upper management will become increasingly intolerant of poor performance.

By having different tools for monitoring data, VoIP and video traffic, enterprise IT silos experience rising cost, complexity and mean time to repair. Traditionally, IT has used delay, jitter and packet loss as proxies for network performance. Legacy network performance management (NPM) tools were augmented with WAN optimization technology to accelerate traffic between data center and branch office user.

A more granular approach is to look at application payload and measuring the quality of voice and video communications. For unified communications (UC), this includes monitoring signaling between the UC components.

Meanwhile, conventional application performance management (APM) tools monitor performance of individual servers rather than across the application delivery chain – from the web front end through business logic processes to the database. While synthetic transactions provide a clearer view into user experience, they tend to add overhead. They also do not experience the same network latencies that are common to branch office networks since they originate in the same data center as the application server. Finally, being synthetic, they are not representative of “live” production transactions.

Service delivery must be unified across the different IT silos to enable visibility across all applications, services, locations and devices. Truly holistic end-to-end user experience assurance must also map resource and application dependencies. It needs to have a single view of all components that support a service.

In order to achieve this, data has to be assimilated from network service providers and cloud service providers in addition to data from within the enterprise. Correlation and analytics engines must include key performance indicators (KPIs) as guideposts to align with critical business processes.

Through a holistic approach, the level of granularity can also be adjusted to the person viewing the performance of the service or the network. For example, a business user’s requirements will differ from an operations manager, which in turn will be different from a network engineer.

A unified platform integrates full visibility from the network’s vantage point, which touches service and cloud providers, with packet-level transaction tracing granularity. The platform includes visualization for mapping resource interdependencies as well as real-time and historical data analytics capabilities.

Taking a holistic unified approach to user experience assurance enables IT to identify service degradation faster, and before the end user does. The result is improved ROI throughout the organization though reduced costs and higher productivity.

Optimizing performance of services and users also allows IT to evolve toward a process-oriented service delivery philosophy. In doing so, IT also aligns more closely with strategic initiatives of an increasingly data-driven enterprise. This is all the more important as big data swamps the enterprise. It is why I suggested in a recent article that user experience assurance should be big data job number one.

Gabriel Lowy is the founder of TechTonics Advisors, a research-first investor relations consultancy that helps technology companies maximize value for all stakeholders by bridging vision, strategy, product portfolio and markets with analysts and investors
Share this

The Latest

May 27, 2020

Keeping networks operational is critical for businesses to run smoothly. The Ponemon Institute estimates that the average cost of an unplanned network outage is $8,850 per minute, a staggering number. In addition to cost, a network failure has a negative effect on application efficiency and user experience ...

May 26, 2020

Nearly 3,700 people told GitLab about their DevOps journeys. Respondents shared that their roles are changing dramatically, no matter where they sit in the organization. The lines surrounding the traditional definitions of dev, sec, ops and test have blurred, and as we enter the second half of 2020, it is perhaps more important than ever for companies to understand how these roles are evolving ...

May 21, 2020

As cloud computing continues to grow, tech pros say they are increasingly prioritizing areas like hybrid infrastructure management, application performance management (APM), and security management to optimize delivery for the organizations they serve, according to SolarWinds IT Trends Report 2020: The Universal Language of IT ...

May 20, 2020

Businesses see digital experience as a growing priority and a key to their success, with execution requiring a more integrated approach across development, IT and business users, according to Digital Experiences: Where the Industry Stands ...

May 19, 2020

Fully 90% of those who use observability tooling say those tools are important to their team's software development success, including 39% who say observability tools are very important ...

May 18, 2020

As our production application systems continuously increase in complexity, the challenges of understanding, debugging, and improving them keep growing by orders of magnitude. The practice of Observability addresses both the social and the technological challenges of wrangling complexity and working toward achieving production excellence. New research shows how observable systems and practices are changing the APM landscape ...

May 14, 2020
Digital technologies have enveloped our lives like never before. Be it on the personal or professional front, we have become dependent on the accurate functioning of digital devices and the software running them. The performance of the software is critical in running the components and levers of the new digital ecosystem. And to ensure our digital ecosystem delivers the required outcomes, a robust performance testing strategy should be instituted ...
May 13, 2020

The enforced change to working from home (WFH) has had a massive impact on businesses, not just in the way they manage their employees and IT systems. As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, enterprise IT teams are looking to answer key questions such as: Which applications have become more critical for working from home? ...

May 12, 2020

In ancient times — February 2020 — EMA research found that more than 50% of IT leaders surveyed were considering new ITSM platforms in the near future. The future arrived with a bang as IT organizations turbo-pivoted to deliver and support unprecedented levels and types of services to a global workplace suddenly working from home ...

May 11, 2020

The Internet of Things (IoT) is changing the world. From augmented reality advanced analytics to new consumer solutions, IoT and the cloud are together redefining both how we work and how we engage with our audiences. They are changing how we live, as well ...