Q&A: Ovum Talks About APM
June 30, 2014
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In APMdigest's exclusive interview, Michael Azoff, Principal Analyst at Ovum, discusses his discoveries while researching the Ovum Decision Matrix on APM 2014-15.

APM: What are the main changes in the APM market that you have seen since your last APM report?

MA: Log management continues to grow well as it meets demand for swift performance answers with light weight tools. The need for mobile support continues to grow as expected. Vendors are visible on the market that we have not seen at the top level before, offering reduced functionality compared with top solutions but with ease of use, competitive pricing, and enough functionality to keep users happy.

APM: What do you see as the main drivers behind the strong growth of the APM market?

MA: Applications and services are more complex. At the same time those that are consumer facing have users who will drop the app/service/website if it is slow to respond or worse. The competitive nature of the market is placing higher demands on producing high quality and high performance solutions.

APM: What are the most important new APM capabilities that a buyer should look for?

MA: For development support, it has to be source code line level detail if a crash occurs.

For operations, it needs to provide end to end transaction traceability.

Analytics is now a common feature in top end solutions. Some are more sophisticated than others, e.g. offering complex event processing, and this now extends to big data processing.

APM: What key APM capabilities do the vendors still need to work on?

MA: DevOps and continuous delivery will continue to grow in adoption and there is a role for APM to support these approaches. Also the mobile client and server side APM need to be joined up.

Some players are transitioning their solutions to meet the demands of cloud, web, and mobile, in face of new competition that has this built-in from start. The end users now want seamless cloud and on-premise solutions, as well as seamless mobile client and server side APM.

APM: In your report, you mention log management as an emerging category within APM, and you bring it up now as well. Do you see log management as a replacement for traditional APM, or as an additional capability to augment APM?

MA: Log management is sold as a complementary technology, though any organization that is budget constrained will explore log management as a minimal entry to APM. Where in-house development is conducted, then the possibility of adding purpose built logs for use by log management tools can lead to a form of DIY APM.

APM: Where does APM SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) stand currently?

MA: The pattern when speaking to vendors is that APM SaaS is growing in demand from customers and therefore needs to be available today, though there is a sizable on-premise demand from large enterprises and public sector.

APM: Traditionally BMC is seen as one of the "Big Four" leaders in APM. What caused you to put them in the challenger category instead?

MA: Our ranking of BMC is based on how well it performed against a series of metrics in three dimensions: technology, financial, and market execution. So yes, BMC has slipped measured against its peers.

All vendors make decisions about what they want or are capable of bringing to the market. This does make the solution horse race approach not always appropriate for individual customers, as lesser ranked solutions will make a better fit for some customers. This is our advice: consider our shortlist rankings but examine solutions based on your actual needs. We have a spreadsheet where our customers can weight features according to their needs and this will create a custom ranking.

APM: Any predictions about where APM is headed, and how this may impact your next report?

MA: Two vendors which just missed the boat in being included in our analysis are among the new breed solutions and we look forward to including them next time round: AppDynamics and New Relic.

It is good to see the field as active as it is, with new technologies appearing in analytics and new vendors becoming visible at the top end of market.

ABOUT Michael Azoff

Michael Azoff (PhD, MIEEE) has been working as an IT industry analyst since 2003, bringing over 20 years of experience in pure and applied research and consulting in the IT industry.

At Ovum he leads the software development and lifecycle management (SDLM) research and his current focus is on Agile practices in software development, including enterprise Agile transformation initiatives, DevOps, cloud related SDLM, rich Internet applications, and enterprise IT mobile development.

Ovum, an Informa business based in London, provides clients with independent and objective analysis that enables them to make better business and technology decisions. Ovum research draws upon over 400,000 interviews a year with business and technology, telecoms and sourcing decision-makers, giving Ovum and its clients unparalleled insight not only into business requirements but also the technology that organizations must support.

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