While Application Performance Management (APM) is the focus of APMdigest, we have always maintained a very broad coverage of technologies that relate to application performance and business service. Rather than only discuss APM tools, we feature articles, blogs, news and other content on a variety of related tools, most of which you will see on the list.
With this list, APMdigest is cataloging the many valuable tools available – beyond what is technically categorized as APM – to support goals of improving application performance and business service. APMdigest is not suggesting you buy all of these tools today, or not even that you would need every one of these tools eventually. The objective of this list is simply to show that APM does not function in an isolated environment, and that there is a range of other tools that can help. Which tools would benefit your company depends on a variety of factors including your specific needs, your IT infrastructure, and the size and skillset of your IT department.
In fact, in a recent interview on APMdigest, Jonah Kowall, Gartner Research VP, reminds us that adding multiple disparate technologies is not always the answer. The complexity of an environment with multiple tools can cause some management difficulties. Not to diminish the value of any particular tool on this list but Kowall's message is a valid point that deserves a mention.
In reality, APM has varied definitions, according to different analysts and vendors, so some people may place some of these technologies under the APM umbrella, while others would make a clear distinction. For the purpose of this list, APMdigest tried to include only technologies that could be purchased as stand-alone products apart from an APM tool.
Not necessarily in order of priority, the list – which will be posted in four parts over the next two weeks – starts with the technologies mentioned most often by our experts:
1. IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) and Big Data Analytics
Ensuring the health of applications is the foundation of a successful APM strategy. But a business-centric APM strategy should also focus on providing additional insight into application strategy. This insight may include how to tailor an applications user interface to ensure that it's easy and intuitive to use through to linking application utilization and performance to business revenue. This requires analytics solutions that enable the operator to easily ask questions of the application data in order to discover patterns of interest and ultimately insight.
Analyst, Infrastructure and Operations, Forrester Research
IT Operations Analytics (ITOA) is developing some momentum and there is definitely overlap with the APM space – so much so that you are starting to see some APM Magic Quadrant vendors putting a tremendous amount of focus on analytics in their offerings. This is because, right now, there is an increasing recognition that analytics plays a key role in helping organizations sort out all this data they are collecting. However, Gartner warns enterprises that their definition of ITOA is more than pretty dashboards and reports. Analytics have to provide some intelligent inferences about the behavior of increasingly complex application infrastructures to help IT Operations staff be more efficient and proactive.
President and CEO, Netuitive
APM is a technology that has full access to the business data flowing through business and mission critical applications. To make the most out of an APM investment, companies should be looking to technologies that can perform advanced analytics for business and IT use cases in real time. Traditional BI platforms can still be leveraged for analytics in the days/weeks/months following business events, but real time analytics is taking center stage and providing everyone in the organization immediate actionable intelligence.
Tech Evangelist, AppDynamics
The key technology that will augment APM over the next 1-2 years is the use of big data storage, search and analysis to expand the analytics capabilities of current APM products. Big data technology will enable a quantum leap forward in performance monitoring and management – shifting APM from a tool that isolates a single problem to an advanced solution that instantly identifies all performance problems and associated causes in highly complex application architectures. It will also enable more proactive predictive analytics that will ultimately enable preemptive problem triage well in advance of a problem actually occurring.
Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Riverbed
Given the complexity of today's service delivery ecosystem, big data analytics is becoming an operational imperative to ensure the end user or customer is getting the application performance they expect. However, this end-to-end view drawn by big data must be actionable. Traditional approaches that provide a static, aggregated view of issues won't cut it. The information provided must allow you to go from high-level problem identification to specific real-time remedial action, and where applicable, provide a business decision API capable of providing the necessary corrective parameters that can be consumed by the Service Providers network.
Product Marketing Manager, Empirix
2. Complex Event Processing (CEP)
Complex Event Processing (CEP) is a must-have for APM. Effective APM can analyze the event data collected and provide insightful conclusions that can be used to improve performance and reduce impact. This requires the capability to recognize patterns across multiple event sources and to use algorithms to compare and detect anomalous behavior over time. Complex Event Processing can be used to deliver these functions and improve visibility, performance and availability.
VP Product Management and Marketing, Nastel Technologies
3. End User Experience Management (EUEM)
As enterprises adopt the constant stream of new business-critical applications delivered via cloud or on premise, running on physical, virtual, and mobile devices, IT must keep pace to ensure quality of service and workforce productivity. To do so, IT needs an APM approach that provides visibility into important aspects of the enterprise end user – their identity, role, and business function, the full range of apps and devices they use, and the business activities for which the workforce is responsible. This approach – "Workforce APM" – focuses from the perspective of the end user's device, on the user's experience of all applications across all devices, to close the visibility gap between the workforce's real user experience and what application-centric APM tools tell IT about application components, transactions, and the underlying code that supports them.
Chief Product Evangelist, Aternity
Ensuring a positive user experience begins by understanding the impact of the performance of each application and IT service that your organization depends on. Through end user monitoring, IT can better align resources to meet end-to-end user demand and confirm that the quality of the network experience appropriately matches the demand of the user.
EVP Customer Solutions, Ipswitch
VP & GM, Performance Monitoring, Dell Software
VP of Product Management, New Relic
4. Application Dependency Discovery & Mapping (ADDM)
ADDM: For APM to be more than an island, it must have solid insights into application-to-application, as well as application-to-infrastructure interdependencies, ideally with the option of connecting into a Configuration Management System for insights into change. In the larger CMS context, this allows applications to work in better context with logical associations (owners, customers, etc.), as well as higher levels of automation for remediation and infrastructure optimization.
VP of Research, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
This technology function is a key part of APM. ADDM can automatically detect and discover the underlying infrastructure components that an application or business service uses and can then build the relationships between the components and the service. In turn, ADDM can create graphical links and maps that can depict those relationships visually, enabling users to quickly grasp the dependencies and the impact of component failures on the application or business service.
VP Product Management, ManageEngine
Application and Service Dependency Mapping: Successful APM requires understanding everything that is required to deliver the application or service end-to-end. The traditional view of dependency maps that contain configuration data only is too limiting and must be expanded to include the policies that govern the apps and their infrastructure, automations that enforce configuration settings and move data between applications, as well as the tribal knowledge around key settings that are critical to application performance and stability.
SVP of Marketing, ITinvolve
APM solutions are indispensable in improving application performance, but they are not silver bullets. It's not just the application that determines performance, but also the underlying infrastructure components – such as storage arrays, network devices, and database servers – which intimately work together to provide the complete business service. A new breed of automated service mapping tools can easily create accurate and always up-to-date topological models of the entire service – application + infrastructure. This new approach augments APM and helps support the goal of application performance by re-purposing APM monitoring data, combing it with infrastructure monitoring data, and binding both the accurate service model. The result is a holistic view of application health and business impact based on the actual business service topology.
Marketing Director, Neebula
The dynamic discovery and mapping of these continuously changing environments, is vital to allow for near real-time application insight and management.
Information Development Manager, IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure
5. Cloud Monitoring
Amazon's AWS offerings define the majority of public cloud deployments today. They're not just the 800 lb. gorilla – they're the jungle. In fact, a 2013 study found that Amazon was 5x larger than its 17 nearest competitors combined. This means that most applications either have or will have components within AWS. Implicit within this evolution is the fact that many of the tiers of traditional APM are now abstracted by the cloud. No longer can you directly monitor the network, virtualization, storage, caching and database performance layers. A must-have technology to support APM is cloud infrastructure performance monitoring, so you can determine whether application bottlenecks are occurring because of the actual application or the hosted infrastructure it's running on.
VP of Products, CopperEgg
SaaS and Public Cloud Performance Monitoring Tools: As companies move more mission-critical apps to the cloud, IT teams still own responsibility for performance and service levels. But service provider dashboards are not enough and can leave them in the dark. IT teams need monitoring solutions that can provide the proper levels of visibility into SaaS and cloud service performance and availability – not only from their own locations and points of access, but also those locations outside of their network around the Internet. This way they can identify, isolate and remediate performance issues before they impact users.
VP Product Management and Marketing, Exoprise