The Anatomy of APM – 4 Foundational Elements to a Successful Strategy
April 04, 2012

Larry Dragich
Technology Executive

Share this

By embracing End-User-Experience (EUE) measurements as a key vehicle for demonstrating productivity, you build trust with your constituents in a very tangible way. The translation of IT metrics into business meaning (value) is what APM is all about.

The goal here is to simplify a complicated technology space by walking through a high-level view within each core element. I’m suggesting that the success factors in APM adoption center around the EUE and the integration touch points with the Incident Management process.

When looking at APM at 20,000 feet, four foundational elements come into view:

- Top Down Monitoring (RUM)


- Bottom Up Monitoring (Infrastructure)


- Incident Management Process (ITIL)


- Reporting (Metrics)


Top Down Monitoring

Top Down Monitoring is also referred to as Real-time Application Monitoring that focuses on the End-User-Experience. It has two has two components, Passive and Active. Passive monitoring is usually an agentless appliance which leverages network port mirroring. This low risk implementation provides one of the highest values within APM in terms of application visibility for the business.

Active monitoring, on the other hand, consists of synthetic probes and web robots which help report on system availability and predefined business transactions. This is a good complement when used with passive monitoring to help provide visibility on application health during off peak hours when transaction volume is low.

Bottom Up Monitoring

Bottom Up Monitoring is also referred to as Infrastructure Monitoring which usually ties into an operations manager tool and becomes the central collection point where event correlation happens. Minimally, at this level up/down monitoring should be in place for all nodes/servers within the environment. System automation is the key component to the timeliness and accuracy of incidents being created through the Trouble Ticket Interface.

Incident Management Process

The Incident Management Process as defined in ITIL is a foundational pillar to support Application Performance Management (APM). In our situation, Incident Management, Problem Management, and Change Management processes were already established in the culture for a year prior to us beginning to implement the APM strategies.

A look into ITIL's Continual Service Improvement (CSI) model and the benefits of Application Performance Management indicates they are both focused on improvement, with APM defining toolsets that tie together specific processes in Service Design, Service Transition, and Service Operation.

Reporting Metrics

Capturing the raw data for analysis is essential for an APM strategy to be successful. It is important to arrive at a common set of metrics that you will collect and then standardize on a common view on how to present the real-time performance data.

Your best bet: Alert on the Averages and Profile with Percentiles. Use 5 minute averages for real-time performance alerting, and percentiles for overall application profiling and Service Level Management.

Conclusion

As you go deeper in your exploration of APM and begin sifting through the technical dogma (e.g. transaction tagging, script injection, application profiling, stitching engines, etc.) for key decision points, take a step back and ask yourself why you're doing this in the first place: To translate IT metrics into an End-User-Experience that provides value back to the business.

If you have questions on the approach and what you should focus on first with APM, see Prioritizing Gartner's APM Model for insight on some best practices from the field.

You can contact Larry on LinkedIn

Larry Dragich of AAA Joins The BSM Blog

For a high-level view of a much broader technology space refer to slide show on BrightTALK.com which describes “The Anatomy of APM - webcast” in more context.

Larry Dragich is a Technology Executive and Founder of the APM Strategies Group on LinkedIn
Share this

The Latest

December 07, 2018

As more organizations embrace digital business, infrastructure and operations (I&O) leaders will need to evolve their strategies and skills to provide an agile infrastructure for their business. In fact, Gartner, Inc. said that 75 percent of I&O leaders are not prepared with the skills, behaviors or cultural presence needed over the next two to three years ...

December 06, 2018

Today there is an urgent need for Agents of Transformation, a new breed of technologist, primed to drive innovation and enable companies to thrive in the face of rapid technological advancement, according to The Agents of Transformation Report from AppDynamics, a Cisco company ...

December 05, 2018

One in four Global Fortune 2000 enterprises rank Internet of Things (IoT) deployment as the most important initiative in their organization, yet 90% experience barriers to effective implementation and expansion due to lack of IoT expertise and skills in-house, according to a new independent survey from VansonBourne ...

December 04, 2018

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of IT leaders are concerned that Internet of Things (IoT) performance problems could directly impact business operations and significantly damage revenues, according to a new report, entitled Overcoming the Complexity of Web-Scale IoT Applications: The Top 5 Challenges ...

December 03, 2018

Gartner highlighted the top strategic Internet of Things (IoT) technology trends that will drive digital business innovation from 2018 through 2023 ...

November 30, 2018

While 95 percent of organizations have a disaster recovery plan in place, 23 percent never test their plan, according to a new survey from Spiceworks ...

November 29, 2018

Cloud computing has clear and definite benefits. At the same time there is an excessive amount of vendor hype that it will fix a lot of problems which it will not. It can also create new problems with a lack of visibility and many IT professionals are disappointed with their leap to a pure cloud environment ...

November 28, 2018

In the world of digital experience monitoring (DEM) — where the end user experience is paramount — cloud-based nodes, along with a variety of other node types, are used to build a view of the end user's digital experience. But major companies are now depending solely on cloud nodes for DEM. Research from Catchpoint, in addition to real-world customer data, shows this is a mistake ...

November 27, 2018

Achieving success with cloud adoption remains an elusive challenge for many organizations. But why is that the case? After all, there are countless tools designed to facilitate the process of taking on-premises operations to the cloud ...

November 26, 2018

The results from the latest State of Testing Survey by SmartBear show that 80 percent of respondents are testing some kind of API or web service ...