Q&A: HP Talks About APM - Part One
March 26, 2012
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In Part One of APMdigest's exclusive interview, Shane Pearson, Vice President, Product Marketing for HP Software, provides a unique insider's view into HP BSM and HP APM, and outlines the technology behind the tools.

APM: Describe HP's BSM product and how it relates to APM.

SP: BSM provides a comprehensive management solution for managing business service across complex dynamic environments including traditional datacenter, virtual environments, mobile, private, public and hybrid cloud environments. BSM monitors the performance, availability and faults for both applications, systems, servers, virtualization and network layers. It combines application with infrastructure information into a unified Run-time service model. The Run-time Service model uniquely keeps an up-to-date model that reflects the changing dynamic nature of your cloud-based services. HP BSM is composed of following 4 main pillars:

Application Performance Management (APM) is one of the suite of products within BSM which is mainly focused on end user experience (synthetic and real user monitoring), transaction monitoring and deep dive diagnostics of composite and packaged applications going all the way from the end user into the back-end systems (mainframes).

Systems Management is mainly focused on the performance, availability monitoring of servers, infrastructure and virtualization stack. Here we have the depth and breadth of coverage to monitor any kind of server or VM.

Automated Network Management is focused on fault, availability, performance, change and configuration management of the a broad array of network devices. HP's Automated Network Management Suite's high points are its modularity, its ability to monitor service level compliance and its automation of many of a network engineer's daily tasks - i.e., it's scalable, it helps track actual vs. expected performance and it saves time.

Service Intelligence is a new suite of products we brought to market recently and is focused on predictive analytics which now helps IT to go from reactive to proactive to predictive. It also contains solutions for real-time capacity management for virtual and physical environments and enterprise reporting solution which now gives cross-domain reports correlating end user with the underlying infrastructure. All of the service intelligence suite of products is built on top of our industry leading run-time service model.

APM: What are the main components that should be included in a run-time service model?

SP: The run-time service model provides that end-to-end of the components that make up the business service. It should have the configuration items and key performance indicators for a business service, the end-user experience of the service, the application and the dependent infrastructure of the service.

APM: Why does today's dynamic IT environment require a run-time service model?

SP: Today’s dynamic environments are constantly changing and in order to have an up-to-date view into the map of this dynamic IT real estate you need a model that will keep up with the change. When IT components are added or moved, you need it to be reflected in your service model. Having an up-to-date model allows for faster problem management, and better decision making as you have the latest and greatest information at your fingertips.

APM: How do you keep the service model up to date in a constantly changing hybrid environment?

SP: The run-time service model is updated on a near-real-time basis whenever a monitored component or its context changes in any way. The resulting dynamic, accurate, and up-to-date view of how infrastructure components relate to one another speeds diagnosis and eases the burden of maintaining complex static rules and mappings, freeing expert staff to work on more strategic projects.

APM: What is run-book automation and why is it important to APM?

SP: It is all about making IT better, and part of this is removing manual processes by automating and simplifying tasks. Run-book automation allows us to automatically open incidents in the help desk tool, enrich the events with key information and automatically resolve problems which helps to improve IT efficiencies and remove human error that sometimes occurs in change. 

APM: What does "a 360 degree view of application performance and availability" mean, in reality?

SP: HP’s APM solution looks at end-user experience, transactions and detailed performance information and relates this to the performance and availability of the dependent infrastructure. We combine all this information together into a single view or a "360 degree view" of the performance and availability of your application.

APM: How does HP monitor the end user experience?

SP: When we think about monitoring end user or customer experience, we typically think of 2 different ways of capturing the applications performance and availability information. 

One method is a Synthetic approach, which allows you to check the health of the application without relying on the user to invoke traffic. This method allows you to check the application’s performance and availability from different points of presence. It also allows you to establish a baseline of application performance for improved application monitoring.

The second method is capturing the real user’s session data to determine the applications performance and availability.  This can allow you to really understand how customer's are using your applications and provide detailed information about the user's session which aids in better isolation and diagnostic abilities. There may also be instances where you cannot use synthetic transactions to capture performance information.

APM: So which method do you use to effectively monitor the customer's experience?

SP: The answer is both, each provide unique information about customer experience.

By combining the real-user visibility available within the Real User Monitor (RUM) product along with the consistency and proactive nature of synthetic transactions available within Business Process Monitor (BPM), you get complete coverage in your customer experience monitoring.

APM: What new APM capabilities will HP be introducing in 2012 or beyond?

SP: I cannot talk about futures but I can talk about market trends in 2012. Some of those big market trends will be simply managing complexity such as mobile applications and cloud. Other areas include analytics and also providing offerings that automate and help IT to reduce costs.

Click here to read Part Two of APMdigest's interview with HP's Shane Pearson

Click here to read Part Three of APMdigest's interview with HP's Shane Pearson

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