How Aware Are Your Applications?
August 06, 2012

Denise Dubie
CA Technologies

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Most IT managers are aware of application performance problems, but sometimes they realize the issue too late to prevent the business, customer or end user from feeling the pain too. That is why the latest trend is to make application management tools aware – aware of the infrastructure, aware of the resources needed and aware of how to best deliver applications to support business services.

“It’s got to be a combined effort. There has to be attempts from the application side to better educate the infrastructure side on how it needs to deliver the application,” says Jim Frey, Managing Research Director at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). “Application-aware network management has been discussed for some time; another perspective is infrastructure-aware application management.”

Today’s sophisticated IT environments make troubleshooting application performance problems challenging to say the least. Add to that the very likely possibility that part or all of some applications could reside off-premise in the cloud, and IT managers could find themselves wasting too much critical time hunting down the source of a customer- or business-impacting application failure. Infrastructure-aware application management would provide intelligence as to which part of the infrastructure could be contributing to the application performance degradation, potentially lessening the troubleshooting and triage time for IT managers.

Intelligent application management products can speed troubleshooting and triage.

Help finding the cause of the problem is just what many in IT need, according to recent research that proves application performance management (APM) is not yet a mastered art in many IT shops.

Locating the source of application performance problems among various IT domains – network, system, application, or more – continues to be the top application challenge for 83% of some 163 network professionals polled for Network Instruments 5th Annual Global State of the Network Study.

“There is a tendency to grossly underestimate the challenge of understanding what infrastructure resources applications need and when,” Frey says. “APM vendors are trying to fill this void and provide a better understanding of the infrastructure directly related to application performance.”

According to Frey, technology available from APM vendors now could be the place to start for those looking to speed mean time to repair for misbehaving apps. Companies such as AppDynamics, Compuware and CA Technologies can provide IT managers with information regarding the infrastructure from the application point of view. Some vendors provide the data from both IT domains in a side-by-side view and allow the IT manager to go from there. This information helps those tracking down application performance issues more quickly locate the potential source of the problem. Others integrate technologies to do some of the work upfront for IT managers.

The advantage is the IT manager’s, according to EMA’s Frey, who says the benefits to infrastructure-aware application management are twofold.

“This technology will help organizations that are still siloed to work more collaboratively and do a better job of knowing where to go when a problem does crop up, making troubleshooting and triage less time-consuming,” he says. “And for most organizations, a nasty, thorny problem that is sporadic in nature is the most difficult to track down. This technology provides an important viewpoint and more visibility, which will reduce the impact of any type of performance problem.”

Denise Dubie is New Media Principal in CA Technologies Thought Leadership Group.

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