What We Did All These Years - ITOA Yesterday and Today
August 20, 2013

Alexander Podelko

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Gartner’s five dimensions of APM did, I guess, a good job of structuring the market (at least in what concerns "Monitoring" – it doesn’t look like we get to "Management" yet). But some statements coming from Gartner somewhat trouble me.

For example, in What Will the Future Look Like for Performance Monitoring Architectures? you can read: "In a session by Research VP Will Cappelli entitled IT Operations Analytics: Big Data for the Data Center, Mr. Cappelli suggested that Global 2000 Enterprises will likely leverage IT Operations Analytics Platforms as a centerpiece to their next-generation performance and availability monitoring architectures."

And I completely agree that analytics would be more and more important for APM – but the wording suggests (at least as I read it) that it is something new, coming, and separate. And, if so, it doesn't fit my understanding of APM and performance engineering (PE) in general.

I already wrote on the subject APM, Analytics, and Industry Trends, but it looks like that it still makes sense to spell out what I can't reconcile between my understanding and the statement above. Mainly it is that in my understanding "IT Operations Analytics" is old, developing, and an integral part of APM/PE.

I believe that people involved in IT performance (performance engineers/analysts, capacity planners, etc.) were probably the first IT people exposed to "big data" and "data science" (except maybe a few scientific and business areas). The Computer Measurement Group (CMG) had its conferences since 1976 (!) – and all these papers, available to public, are, in essence, about extracting information from the ocean of data.

Nobody named it "big data", "data science", "analytics", or even "APM" then – but what else was it? It evolved and advanced – and, of course, recently very rapidly – but I still see evolution here rather than revolution.

I completely agree, for example, with Trevor Warren claiming that Data Science is an integral part of Performance Engineering in Making Sense of Data – A Performance Engineer’s point of view.

So I believe that every APM tool had, in a way, an "IT Operations Analytics Platform" – however simple and trivial it was. There is no doubt that it should be much more sophisticated now – including getting more diverse data from more different sources as well as more sophisticated ways of analysis – but I don't see it as something completely new and separate from the parts gathering all these data.

Of course, using fancy wording to make products stand out is a standard marketing practice and we just need to live with it – but from Gartner I rather expected making things easier to understand (as with the five dimensions of APM) rather than adding more marketing fog (I guess vendors do that good enough themselves).

In a way, I see contradiction between the "IT Operations Analytics Platform" and Gartner’s five dimensions of APM - where analytics is said to be one of five dimensions (and I guess it should be more dimensions if we think about Management in APM, not Monitoring).

One interesting side outcome of the "IT Operations Analytics Platform" idea (or dimension) is that you need integrated tools gathering all related data into single coherent data storage to allow proper analysis/management. I'd second it and believe that the future is for integrated tools.

And it looks like there is a trend towards integrated APM tools – with one exception of End-User Monitoring (EUM – or Real-User Monitoring, RUM), which can be explained. It looks like stand-alone EUM tools are getting popular – but they are not IT APM tools, they are rather business tools supplementing web analytics. Of course, EUM is one of the main parts of APM – but without other parts it doesn't provide any insight into IT systems, it provides an outside, business view of IT systems. So EUM tools without integration with other APM parts are just in another product category.

Alexander Podelko is a Consulting Member of Technical Staff for Oracle.

The views expressed in this post are the author's personal views only and do not represent his current or previous employers.

Related Links:

Gartner’s Five Dimensions of APM

What Will the Future Look Like for Performance Monitoring Architectures?

For the last sixteen years Alex Podelko has worked as a performance engineer and architect for several companies. Currently he is Consulting Member of Technical Staff at Oracle, responsible for performance testing and optimization of Enterprise Performance Management and Business Intelligence (a.k.a. Hyperion) products. Alex periodically talks and writes about performance-related topics, advocating tearing down silo walls between different groups of performance professionals. His collection of performance-related links and documents (including his recent papers and presentations) can be found at http://www.alexanderpodelko.com/. He blogs at http://alexanderpodelko.com/blog and can be found on Twitter as @apodelko. The views expressed in his posts and articles are his personal views only and do not represent his current or previous employers.
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