How to Ensure APM Success
November 06, 2019

Keith Bromley
Ixia

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A recent APMdigest blog by Jean Tunis, The Evolving Needs of Application Performance Monitoring - Part 2, provided an excellent background on Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and what it does. APM solution benefits are much more understood than in years past. An interesting data point from Gartner Inc. mentioned in the article confirms this, stating that IT departments are planning to increase the use of APM solutions to monitor their applications from 5% in 2018 to a projected 20% in 2021.

A further topic that I wanted to touch on though is the need for good quality data. If you are to get the most out of your APM solution possible, you will need to feed it with the best quality data. Irrelevant data, fragmented data, and corrupt data are all common culprits that either end up decreasing the speed to resolution, or prevent problem resolution altogether, by APM solutions.

There are two easy activities you can conduct to increase the quality of the input data to your APM tool. First, install taps to collect monitoring data. Taps can be installed anywhere across your network. This lets you collect ingress/egress traffic to your network, data to/from remote branch offices, and data from anywhere across the network that you think might be experiencing some sort of issue.

Taps deliver the ultimate experience in flexibility. In contrast, SPAN and mirroring ports off of your Layer 2 and 3 switches do not have that same flexibility. For instance, placing switches all over your network to capture data is unnecessary and expensive. In addition, mirroring ports can drop data, especially in CPU overload situations. When it comes to troubleshooting and performance monitoring, you need every piece of relevant data, not just portions of relevant data.

Secondly, you need to deploy a network packet broker (NPB) in your network. The function of the NPB is to aggregate monitoring data from across your network, filter that data based upon the criteria you are looking for, and remove unnecessary, duplicate copies of the data. Once this is accomplished, the NPB forwards the data onto your APM solution. The NPB may reduce the traffic sent to your APM solution by 50% or more; making your APM solution that much more effective and potentially reduce your future APM tool costs.

Something else to consider is that the tap and NPB concept can be used in cloud solutions as well. This means you can deploy the concept for both physical on-premises and virtual network. This is especially important for hybrid cloud (mixture of physical on-premises and public/private cloud) scenarios that are prevalent in today’s enterprise networks. This mixture of different network types can be a significant problem that is easily remedied with a tap, virtual tap, and NPB approach.

In the end, APM solutions are a critical component to troubleshooting and performance monitoring, but you need to make sure that the APM solution is getting the right data.

Keith Bromley is Senior Manager, Solutions Marketing at Ixia Solutions Group, a Keysight Technologies business
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