IoT
Government // Enterprise Architecture
Commentary
10/31/2012
11:30 AM
Art Wittmann
Art Wittmann
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What's Killing APM?

App performance management is seen as less important than it was two years ago, partly because vendors haven't kept up.

It's not precisely clear that the cloud is killing application performance management, but something is. It could be that cash- strapped IT teams whose application portfolios are changing rapidly can't give APM the time and resources to do it right, so they're using APM, at least as we classically have seen it, less and less. Then there are the tools themselves, which are notoriously hard to set up. And there's the rise of software-as-a-service and apps running from public or private cloud infrastructures. If you had a working APM methodology a few years ago, it has been broken by the use of cloud apps.

Whatever the cause, our October 2012 survey on APM shows the tech is now seen as less important than it was in our August 2010 survey (our full report will come later this year). Asked about the importance of APM in 2010, 50% of respondents said it was crucially important. That percentage is down to 42%. At the same time, survey respondents say their users are more tolerant of outages than they used to be. In 2010, 44% were extremely or somewhat tolerant of outages; today 47% are. They have to be: Those experiencing outages on a daily basis went from 8% in 2010 to 10% now, and those experiencing monthly outages went from 24% in 2010 to 27% now. This isn't a result most app managers would be proud of.

Assuming that our findings about outages aren't news to anyone, why is APM falling out of favor? In 2010, the reasons given for not implementing APM were: insufficient expertise to use the product (50%), high cost (41%), and it takes too much staff time to do it right (32%). Those are still the top three reasons for not doing APM, but the order has changed. Now a lack staff time heads the list, followed by a dearth of expertise and the cost.

As app environments become more dynamic and lifecycles for apps shorten, the substantial effort required for APM isn't worth the already iffy results it provides. And as teams slack on deployments, they get even poorer results, further devaluing APM tools. In 2010, 18% of survey respondents said their APM tool exceeded their expectations, down to 10% today. Today, there's a five-point rise in those saying APM products are falling below expectations. In a more detailed question, customer satisfaction with a range of APM functionality was down.

This would all be bad enough news if the APM product dissatisfaction was isolated to IT pros. But the dissatisfaction with executive dashboards is even more acute. In 2010, 21% said they were extremely satisfied and 41% somewhat satisfied with such dashboards; that's down to 12% and 32%, respectively.

It's tempting to blame the cloud, but the fraction of apps reported to be running "in the public cloud" is about the same as it was in 2010. It appears that APM simply doesn't provide the bang for the buck, and so not using it isn't seen as an impediment to adopting applications of any sort. We asked specifically whether the lack of APM tools is a barrier to wider use of cloud apps. In 2010, 49% said it wasn't a barrier; 61% say it isn't a barrier today.

One area where APM tools definitely have let IT pros down is in keeping up with complexity. As apps take a more service-oriented design, the task of setting up an APM tool to give anything close to meaningful information is much harder than it used to be. As one survey respondent put it: "There is a major conundrum related to the real-world use of APM tools. They work quite well in a static infrastructure environment. Unfortunately, current APM tools do not work well in dynamic Web services, and public and private cloud-based infrastructures, since they depend on statically defined relationships. By the time these relationships are defined to the APM tool, they will in all probability be obsolete, thereby negating the value and relevance of the APM tool."

The failure of APM software vendors to keep up with user needs is breathtaking. Because the nature of app life cycles has changed so profoundly, APM as a third-party product has outlived its usefulness for most environments. Service component deployments with their own self-health reporting capability should be preferred.

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Evince
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Evince,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/31/2014 | 7:13:51 AM
Wonderful>>!!
This is Very useful information.. Awesome Thanks.

 

Web Development India | Wedding Websites 
netsaint
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netsaint,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2013 | 11:49:01 AM
re: What's Killing APM?
Agree that the usage of APM tools as we have seen in the traditional sense is becoming less and less. Just notifying outages and performance troubleshooting of apps does not make the cut anymore. Some of the reasons for this changing definition of APM are increasingly complex application profiles and hybrid application environments (physical +virtual + cloud).

At ManageEngine, we take special consideration to ensure our APM product, Applications Manager, keeps up with increasing complexity of todayGs applications. However, the product neither takes too much of staff time nor requires much technical expertise to use.

http://www.manageengine.com/ap...

Yeah, I am sounding as generic in my response as the accusation on APM tools above :-)
marora943
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marora943,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/17/2012 | 8:50:20 PM
re: What's Killing APM?
This is a verdict on legacy APM tools. We call them Rat Pack. APM is now transforming into "What actions items do I get from APM data" market. I can't tell you how many items we hear from IT teams that they don't want to add another tools in their "tools galore"(as said by a senior exec at a large bank). These may sound like buzz words, but when you hear them stated in different problem statements from end users, they really hit the point - self learning automated, intelligent dynamic thresholds, behavior learning, correlation, preventive alerts, automated actions.

Ease of deployment is no longer going to be a differentiator. It's a given. The tablestakes are much high in the APM game now and customers are pushing them even higher.

Out here at Appnomic, we are on our way to solve some of these problems with our AppsOne and OpsOne technologies. www.appnomic.com.
Mike Mallo
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Mike Mallo,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/7/2012 | 10:49:24 PM
re: What's Killing APM?
The point "it takes too much staff time to do APM right" is key feedback we have heard as well when talking with our clients. Our response to this concern was to craft a best practice for deploying our application performance management capabilities with a focus on getting value from a minimal time investment. The best practice starts with clients monitoring their end user experience from a spanned port on a router, which avoids the time to deploy traditional monitoring agents. This gives clients a broad view of the performance of their applications and workloads with a minimal time investment.

Investing more time allows clients to isolate problems using an agentless transaction topology which updates with changing workloads. From there, specific agents can be deployed to give depth into services and applications that will be around for a long time. This makes sense for core services that supply data to front end applications or critical applications that businesses depend on.

Clients can then add custom dashboards and/or configure events to manage what is monitored, either static workloads with deployed agents or dynamic workloads with the spanned port on the router. Clients can also elect to deploy robotics against key services to ensure constant availability. Finally transaction tracking agents can be deployed on the most critical applications to isolate sporadic or difficult to find problems.

This best practice allows clients to get incremental value as additional time can be spent on the monitoring system by the IT professional.

In terms of where we are heading, IBM recently announced a beta for a cloud-aware application monitoring capability that elastically scales as the application does in the cloud. This enables the cloud consumer to monitor applications deployed in the cloud with no additional time investment as the application scales. The 'fabric' that weaves the nodes together is deployed as a virtual machine, providing simple multi-tenancy, with newly deployed application VMs being discovered and monitored within seconds of being instantiated. The whole solution is quick and simple to deploy, requiring no advanced IT management skills or deployment of software to the cloud infrastructure. More information can be found here: https://www.ibm.com/developerw... Consumer Monitoring/page/Welcome
Beatrice Piquer Durand
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Beatrice Piquer Durand,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/16/2012 | 10:08:56 PM
re: What's Killing APM?
I agree that traditional APM solutions, which trouble shoot application performance issues from a technical perspective, may have outlived their usefulness. TodayGs smart enterprises are moving beyond APM, with dynamic application performance guarantee solutions that deliver the optimal end-user experience regardless of where the apps reside, the number of users and sites and the complexity of the traffic matrix.

ItGs true that one area where APM tools have let IT pros down is in keeping up with complexity. The increasing adoption of cloud based apps, SaaS, social media and the Internet means a loss of control, significant traffic increases, new competition for on-premise applications, difficulty distinguishing between business and recreational applications, and managing hybrid networks (MPLS + Internet, public and private cloud). Based on a recent survey that Ipanema conducted of 500 CIOs worldwide, 82% says they struggle with application performance and more than 60% say they don't have visibility into who is using what applications and the received performance.

But the best IT managers are guaranteeing application performance within this complexity by implementing new solutions that dynamically manage the network, prioritizing applications according to business objectives and defining, enforcing and controlling application SLAs. These new solutions also are automatically driving the network toward global application performance objectives, managing hybrid networks from an application performance standpoint and matching the price constraints of branch offices.

This new breed of solutions isnGt just for the big guys either-- even small-to-mid-sized organizations are leveraging new solutions that enable them to monitor and regulate network performance G in some cases for only a few dollars per month.
Charley Rich
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Charley Rich,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/14/2012 | 10:26:30 PM
re: What's Killing APM?
I am not sure I agree with the viewpoint expressed here though I must admit the controversy it stirs up is quite fun. To my experience most customers donGt even use the acronym APM or what it stands for, application performance monitoring. Many enterprises have shared services, IT operations and application development groups and they all monitor or test the performance of their respective resources.

Unlike what the author of this article expressed, it is certainly worth the effort for them to do this. We have customers transacting millions of dollars via their applications and you can be sure they are definitely monitoring them.

I think the real challenge is to ensure we are not fixated just on the data acquisition part and are focusing on real-time analysis of the events we collect from monitoring so action can be taken before there is impact. As one of the other commentators stated this canGt be done effectively using eyes-on-screen monitoring. It requires analytic tools such as complex event processing to identify the application performance patterns that portray problem situations and initiate early-warning alerts.

For some case studies on successful APM deployments, take a look here: http://www.nastel.com/resource...

Charley Rich
tommckeown
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tommckeown,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/8/2012 | 4:07:18 PM
re: What's Killing APM?
I think this article is generalized towards legacy APM products that have been around for 10 -15 years...

You should talk to the Correlsense team. Their product is built for complex environments (virtual, cloud, or on premise). Their transaction centric approach is monitors the entire application stack, end to end - from the user's click through the proxy server, app server and datacenter. GǣThis [transaction-based] approach is ideal for distributed virtualized cloud environments that are constantly changing.Gǥ G JANE CLABBY, CLABBY ANALYTICS
http://www.correlsense.com/sol...

Also, the industry in general seams to be moving towards cloud monitoring. Bernd Harzog at The Virtualization Practice would share some insight im sure.
ghoward941
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ghoward941,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/7/2012 | 4:55:06 PM
re: What's Killing APM?
Complexity and the inability to keep up with dynamic environments is definitely why most legacy APM vendors are turning into shelfware. However, Gartner's recent Magic Quadrant for APM highlighted a "new generation" of APM that's designed for cloud environments, and can also scale in highly distributed environments. Nextflix, for example, runs AppDynamics Pro in 6,000 nodes in Amazon EC2.

Here are some other companies who running straight to APM, rather than making the choice to do without: http://www.appdynamics.com/cus...
williamlouth
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williamlouth,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/7/2012 | 4:10:13 PM
re: What's Killing APM?
Hi Art,

I don't completely agree with this statement:

"One area where APM tools definitely have let IT pros down is in keeping up with complexity. As apps take a more service-oriented design, the task of setting up an APM tool to give anything close to meaningful information is much harder than it used to be"

The problem is both a vendor and industry...no one really wants to invest in learning how to effectively manage complexity because it is far more different than you run of the mill metric collection, monitoring and dashboard design. The key failing is that we still believe that we (humans) are the primary consumers of such data. This is wrong and limits whatever initiative that is taken in this area both from research and deployment perspective.

Lets re-state the problem again in terms of scale of both time and space dimensions.

The Complexity and Challenges of IT Management within the Cloud
http://www.jinspired.com/site/...

Complexity needs to be address by the software itself via such technologies and techniques as:

Intelligent Activity Metering: http://www.jinspired.com/resea...
Quality of Service (QoS) for Apps: http://www.jinspired.com/resea...
Adaptive Control: http://www.jinspired.com/resea...

If we really want to monitor a large complex system then we need to simulate it in real-time within an environment that allows us to inspect behavior and assess performance across processes and nodes with the immediacy that is required in a dynamic environment.

http://www.jinspired.com/site/...

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