Unifying APM and NPM
November 12, 2012
Matt Stevens
Share this

Separate application and network monitoring approaches simply won’t cut it anymore. To be truly successful, your organization must bring these two solutions together.

Recent advances that provide unified and complete visibility across both applications and networks offer the promise of the next generation of end user experience (EUE) monitoring. This combination is the only way to ensure optimal Web performance in today’s world.

Why APM + NPM?

Web-based applications rely on three main components to deliver an acceptable EUE:

1. The Web application itself, which in turn is made up of several layers of software and servers that all have to work together to make the "back-end" work.

2. The end user client/browser, which renders and processes local data coming from the Web application.

3. The mix of data center LAN, Internet and content delivery network WANs, and end-user WAN/LANs, which all have to work together to permit the Web application and end user's browser/client to communicate effectively.

All three of these components must work together seamlessly to deliver a predictable and well-performing application experience to the end user.

The challenge with many application performance monitoring solutions is that they treat the networks as a single "black box." These solutions simply assign one performance metric (most commonly latency) to the network. However, the reality is far more complicated, and solutions must address the effects of loss, congestion, quality of service (QoS), and other factors that dramatically affect the quality of the connection between the application’s server and the end user's browser.

The same is true for the majority of today's network performance management solutions. They're focused on watching device statistics from routers and switches, and they have little-to-no actual understanding or visibility into the transmission control protocol (TCP), HTTP/HTTPs or actual Web transactions happening on the network.

The reality is that networks are built to support applications, and unless both application and network performance are viewed in totality with a full understanding of how different Web applications run on a given network, and how a given network condition affects different Web-based applications, the game of finger-pointing between the network and application teams will continue.

How a Unified APM and NPM Approach Improves End User Experience

Monitoring and measuring end user experience is absolutely the place to start – after all, it all begins and ends with the end user.

If the experience is at or above acceptable business standards for a given application, then everything is good. The challenge is that most EUE solutions stop there. They tell you IF end user experience has fallen below some preset or historical baseline, but not WHY.

Where did the problem start?

What tier in the delivery chain was responsible?

Is the ownership for resolving within direct control of the organization on the hook for delivering end-user experience, or does a third-party need to be contacted to mitigate the issue?

To gain better end user experience visibility, one key is the realization that a single method of measuring performance is simply insufficient. Many solutions get overly hung-up on “their approach being the best approach.” The reality is that it takes a combination of synthetic transactional monitoring, real user monitoring (RUM), and in some cases, even end-point instrumentation to get a total picture of the end user experience. No single approach fits all use cases, so the ability to leverage multiple approaches together offers the most effective path to understand both “what is” (RUM and end point) versus “what is possible” (synthetics).

The bottom line is that if EUE monitoring does not deliver actionable information based on the type of IT professional involved, then all you have is a yet another yapping dog and no way to effectively quiet the noise. To solve the problem, you need an integrated APM and NPM solution that starts with EUE at the top of the stack, and then allows different people within the organization to drill into the details they care about. This will solve the big problem of EUE monitoring and enable the right teams to take fast action to resolve issues when they arise.

What to Look For in a Unified APM and NPM Solution

The key again is to begin with the end user experience - your unified solution needs to start here.

To truly understand the actual end user experience you need multiple methods of measuring, including server-side code injection for RUM, all the way to instrumenting the actual end-users end point (be it a PC or a mobile device). From there, the solution should enable the performance to measure from the true end-to-end of the application service delivery chain.

Once that perspective is obtained, then the solution should be able to understand the details behind a rich, service-oriented architecture (SOA)-type application running over multiple networks and be able to easily and accurately isolate which areas are affecting the performance the most.

As you lead your organization into 2013, it’s important to consider how to keep your performance management strategy up to speed with the growing complexity of your applications and their dependence on the network. Without a holistic approach to monitoring and assuring application and network performance, your team will be stuck in 2012 while everyone else moves forward.

ABOUT Matt Stevens

Matt Stevens is CTO at AppNeta, responsible for guiding technology and product vision and managing the advanced research, development, QA, customer support and information technology teams. Prior to joining AppNeta, Matt was the CTO of the Information and Event Management business unit of RSA, The Security Division of EMC. He joined EMC after the acquisition of Network Intelligence Corp. where he was a founder. In that role, Matt was also part of EMC's Office of the CTO, where he and his peer group had responsibility for EMC's overall strategic technology direction. Prior to NIC and RSA, Matt held senior technology and sales management positions with NetApp, Solbourne Computer and Harris Corporation.

Related Links:


Share this

The Latest

July 09, 2020

Enterprises that halted their cloud migration journey during the current global pandemic are two and a half times more likely than those that continued their move to the cloud to have experienced IT outages that negatively impacted their SLAs, according to Virtana's latest survey report The Current State of Hybrid Cloud and IT ...

July 08, 2020

Every business has the responsibility to do their part against climate change by reducing their carbon footprint while increasing sustainability and efficiency. Harnessing optimization of IT infrastructure is one method companies can use to reduce carbon footprint, improve sustainability and increase business efficiency, while also keeping costs down ...

July 07, 2020

While the adoption of continuous integration (CI) is on the rise, software engineering teams are unable to take a zero-tolerance approach to software failures, costing enterprise organizations billions annually, according to a quantitative study conducted by Undo and a Cambridge Judge Business School MBA project ...

June 25, 2020

I've had the opportunity to work with a number of organizations embarking on their AIOps journey. I always advise them to start by evaluating their needs and the possibilities AIOps can bring to them through five different levels of AIOps maturity. This is a strategic approach that allows enterprises to achieve complete automation for long-term success ...

June 24, 2020

Sumo Logic recently commissioned an independent market research study to understand the industry momentum behind continuous intelligence — and the necessity for digital organizations to embrace a cloud-native, real-time continuous intelligence platform to support the speed and agility of business for faster decision-making, optimizing security, driving new innovation and delivering world-class customer experiences. Some of the key findings include ...

June 23, 2020

When it comes to viruses, it's typically those of the computer/digital variety that IT is concerned about. But with the ongoing pandemic, IT operations teams are on the hook to maintain business functions in the midst of rapid and massive change. One of the biggest challenges for businesses is the shift to remote work at scale. Ensuring that they can continue to provide products and services — and satisfy their customers — against this backdrop is challenging for many ...

June 22, 2020

Teams tasked with developing and delivering software are under pressure to balance the business imperative for speed with high customer expectations for quality. In the course of trying to achieve this balance, engineering organizations rely on a variety of tools, techniques and processes. The 2020 State of Software Quality report provides a snapshot of the key challenges organizations encounter when it comes to delivering quality software at speed, as well as how they are approaching these hurdles. This blog introduces its key findings ...

June 18, 2020

For IT teams, run-the-business, commodity areas such as employee help desks, device support and communication platforms are regularly placed in the crosshairs for cost takeout, but these areas are also highly visible to employees. Organizations can improve employee satisfaction and business performance by building unified functions that are measured by employee experience rather than price. This approach will ultimately fund transformation, as well as increase productivity and innovation ...

June 17, 2020

In the agile DevOps framework, there is a vital piece missing; something that previous approaches to application development did well, but has since fallen by the wayside. That is, the post-delivery portion of the toolchain. Without continuous cloud optimization, the CI/CD toolchain still produces massive inefficiencies and overspend ...

June 16, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially accelerated digital transformation projects. To better understand where IT professionals are turning for help, we analyzed the online behaviors of IT decision-makers. Our research found an increase in demand for resources related to APM, microservices and dependence on cloud services ...