Business Management

Scott Hollis (Global) - What To Do with Performance Data?

As IT and business applications increase in complexity, it's no surprise there's a growing need for modern solutions to monitor performance and ensure a positive end-user experience.

The Application Performance Monitoring (APM) market emerged in recent years to address this challenge. APM tools dive deep into the inner workings at the application layer to measure web and application server performance, as well as end-user experience. A true APM solution not only monitors and tracks application layer transaction processing, but also integrates performance data from middleware, virtual and physical computing infrastructure, databases, storage, and the network that connects everything.

Application owners in more proactive IT organizations will seek out this true, end-to-end APM solution to have a ‘single version of the truth' when it comes to performance data. This common view breaks down internal siloes and increases collaboration, ensuring that critical business applications remain healthy. Minimizing "blame-storming" during an application outage and reducing Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) are chief concerns for modern enterprises, and are only addressed with an end-to-end APM solution.

The performance data gathered by an APM solution can be used for more than troubleshooting performance problems. In fact, the data can help IT organizations become business savvy and proactive in pinpointing an application issue before it impacts end-users, quickly resolving it to minimize any potential impact.

Why you should deploy an end-to-end APM solution:

Continuous, collaborative monitoring across the entire technology stack
Continuously monitoring the entire technology stack from the end-user experience back to the physical hardware is an absolute must. By only looking at the application transaction layer, IT creates yet another silo that can detect end-user impact, but is only minimally effective at breaking down silo walls internally because it focuses almost exclusively on the application layer. Proactive enterprise IT organizations need a solution that sees all components supporting the application, and isolates the root-cause of issues.

Integration and Modularity are Musts for Business-Savvy IT
There can easily be dozens of existing and entrenched monitoring solutions in a large IT organization. Each group depends on its own monitoring tool, so there is no single view of overall performance. For IT to be business savvy, a single integrated, yet modular, APM solution is essential. That way, the application owner can have the view they require, while allowing individual silos to continue leveraging their favorite tools. This enables the proactive IT organization to adopt a user-centric monitoring approach, without going through a painful rip-and-replace process.

Trending and Analysis
Why wait until the end-user experience (EUE) goes bad to start troubleshooting a performance problem? A true end-to-end APM solution can proactively alert companies to degraded performance at the component level, before the EUE falls below the established service level. This lets companies solve a problem before end-users realize it's a problem. By collecting and storing performance data over time, companies can provide detailed analysis reports on end-user experience, overall uptime, and service level agreements (SLAs), among others. Trending reports also can identify moderate degradation over time, and predict future capacity needs. For example, as an application becomes more frequently used, a company can make judgments on where it will need to expand capacity to accommodate growth.

Base-lining enables companies to take a "snapshot" of what an application's performance should look like under a given load. Current performance can then be compared to that baseline for growth trending, and to continually examine and revise health thresholds.

Cloud Strategy
Today's increased flexibility to leverage cloud platforms to meet the needs of the business can be a massive advantage; however without the right APM solution to monitor overall performance and end-user experience, it can be risky. Choosing a hybrid-ready APM solution is critical to support any delivery model. It is about the application, not the delivery model. Today's savvy IT organizations should employ an APM strategy that combines the use of cloud-based APM technology with current on-premise monitoring tools.

APM is an essential solution for collecting information from various elements of a toolset, filtering and correlating the data, then presenting it as useful and actionable information. This data enables businesses to maintain a proactive approach to managing applications, leaving behind the uncertainty of possible IT performance issues.

By Scott Hollis, Quest Software (now a part of Dell)



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