Today, there is a convergence of factors coming together like a perfect storm, making Application Performance Management (APM) more important than ever. It is not just a matter of this factor or that factor, but a whole range of factors that are transforming IT, transforming APM, and transforming the world as we know it.
On Part Two of this list, industry experts - from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors - demonstrate just how many impending challenges make APM an absolute necessity in 2014.
There has been a ton of hype surrounding the cloud over the years, but this year we'll finally reach a point where concrete cloud use cases will become a reality. In fact, a recent SolarWinds survey found that enterprise IT pros now consider cloud computing to be the number one most “disruptive” technology. In this case, “disruptive” means causing significant challenges for IT pros who are trying to navigate potentially huge changes in how they do their jobs. The cloud adds an entirely new computing paradigm IT admins have to manage, ranging from SaaS application management to Amazon Web Services to website hosting. Each of these types of cloud implementation demands a different set of tools and skills that can overwhelm an IT department's staff and resources. However, the thing that remains constant is that the application survives; it just runs in a different way, on different resources or with different management options. By focusing on getting deep visibility into application performance that is then linked to the underlying infrastructure, IT professionals will be able to remain relevant wherever applications are running.
Principal, Product Marketing, SolarWinds
While APM has been a nice-to-have solution for on-premise applications, the rapid adoption of cloud services has made APM a necessity as it's easier than ever for customers to switch to a competitor's offering. Monitoring applications that traverse both environments and troubleshooting their performance problems is an intricate challenge best solved by a modern APM solution that includes advanced analytics. The ability to automatically mine 100,000 simultaneous metrics in real time is key to quickly and accurately finding anomalies that may be indicators of impending issues.
VP Product Marketing, CA Technologies
Everything about business is becoming on-demand, from the infrastructure we use, to the software we run, to the teams who manage it all. Companies are working to make the shift, but in the process, realizing that these highly flexible “black box” environments abstract a lot of detail from the people who need to make sure they are performing as expected. If you can't effectively diagnose the problem, how can you ever fix (or improve) it? Today's APM-as-a-Service solutions address this challenge for the enterprise – enabling speed to resolution, high service levels for customers and optimal performance, regardless of whether the application is contained completely in the cloud, in the closet or some combination of the two.
Cloud pricing models, and the resultant proliferation of what have previously been seen as large enterprise applications, mean that more and more small and medium enterprises are availing of complex distributed solutions, but do not always have the resources required for their discovery, monitoring, and diagnostics. It is perhaps ironic that solutions to these issues can be found in the very technological advances that have contributed to them, in particular Cloud/APMSaaS.
Information Development Manager, IBM Cloud and Smarter Infrastructure
In 2014, APM can play a more powerful role than it has in the past. As applications continue to serve larger and more critical audiences, and deployment models move to where scalability and cloud converge, the integration of APM and cloud resource allocation will be an important factor. The intelligence collected by the APM solution can be used to drive, and ultimately automate, decisions about deployment patterns and optimization. This is where APM can not only inform us about application performance, but actually improve it.
GM, Performance Monitoring, Dell Software
The cloud offers a dynamic environment where you can spin up entire applications or just portions of applications. Cloud monitors can tell you how much cloud you are using, but you still need APM to tell you how your application is performing in and across the cloud by providing end-user experience monitoring and end-to-end diagnosis of problems.
RTI Product Manager, OC Systems
Platform as a Service (PaaS) offers new ways to support and deliver applications by leveraging cloud technology. It still enables the same activities involved with development and deployment that we have always practiced in IT, but with the cost, agility and scalability benefits of the cloud. However, it's important to remember that just because you are deploying your application in the cloud doesn't mean you no longer have to worry about its performance. In fact, APM becomes much more important when it comes to PaaS because you have less control of the underlying infrastructure.
Karen Tegan Padir
CTO, Progress Software
In 2014, mission-critical applications like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics will be virtualized at a faster pace than they have ever been. Along with the trend of virtualizing mission-critical applications, is the need for faster and more accurate diagnosis and troubleshooting so administrators can quickly understand where the bottleneck lies – whether a slowdown is in the application or in the virtualization platform. Today, every organization is looking to do more with less, so IT performance management will continue to be measured by business value. We are seeing that organizations will need to fully align performance management solutions with their IT strategy. Performance management solutions that enable IT agility, virtualization, end-user satisfaction and operations efficiency will be in demand during 2014 and beyond.
CEO, eG Innovations
11. Software Defined Data Centers
While cloud and virtualization have added layers of complexity to IT architectures, the rise of software-defined data centers in particular is going to be a game changer over the next year as major players continue to push forward with these initiatives. Without insight into these emerging, hyper-dynamic architectures, adoption is likely to be slower than it might otherwise, or be at considerable risk. As organizations explore the benefits of software-defined data centers, cross-tier and architectural performance monitoring solutions that deliver the scale and visibility required to manage these environments will be in high demand.
SVP of Marketing & Business Development, ExtraHop
Why do you need APM in 2014? Mobile apps! Today's APM strategy primarily focuses on monitoring web application transactions. With the rapid growth of mobile devices, businesses are starting to provide mobile versions (apps) of these applications. The proliferation of mobile business apps will force IT teams to monitor these mobile apps for availability, response time, and performance. APM for mobile apps will need to present an end-to-end transaction view of the application, starting from the mobile device to the transaction being executed on the application infrastructure. Such mobile APM tools will cater not only to IT operations and DevOps teams but also to the mobile apps development team by helping to ensure that performance and response are built into the product from design.
VP Product Management, ManageEngine
By the end of 2014 the number of mobile Internet users will surpass the number of desktop Internet users, which means it is more important than ever to have an APM solution that can provide an end-to-end perspective on application performance. The challenge of delivering a quality mobile experience lies in the sheer variety of mobile devices (both form factors and operating systems) and bandwidth speeds. In 2014, APM tools will be required to have first class support for both iOS and Android, providing performance monitoring, crash reporting, correlation to server-side requests, and audience demographics.
Developer Evangelist, AppDynamics
According to new data from comScore, one-third of all online and app traffic at the top 10 retailers is now mobile. We expect to see this trend accelerate in 2014 not only for commerce, but for sites and apps in all industries. This means that the network will have increased impact on application performance. To fully gage its impact and release well-performing applications, you need a robust preproduction APM solution complete with virtualized load, network and services. Otherwise, you risk jeopardizing not just the performance of one application, but the performance of your entire IT infrastructure as poor mobile performance disproportionately impacts all end users.Â
With the growing adoption of mobility, enterprises will be moving business-critical functions to mobile apps. This means IT teams will have to ensure flawless execution of these apps, just like they do for web applications today. The complexities of mobile apps, however, are more pronounced as there are many devices/OS, varying carriers/networks and different Service/Cloud API's, which makes mobile performance management challenging. Mobile APM addresses these issues and enables businesses to deliver superior user experience, which ultimately translates to increased user engagement, employee productivity and increased bottom line.
Marketing Manager, Crittercism
The BYOD tsunami in 2013 made great demands of our legacy infrastructure and this is set to continue in 2014. SDN might ultimately provide the answers, but for now networks need to cope with a tripling of the end user community in terms of connected devices. Ensuring application performance across multiple concurrent devices demands insight and network emulation used as a constituent part of APM means reality can be tested then improved. My advice: Know what can go wrong and what works best before going live - use APM and emulation NOW!
Pre-sales Technologist, iTrinegy
14. Increased Strain on the Network
A quick read through the top stories from this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) highlights the fact that workers today are more connected than ever before and the number of networked devices they'll be bringing on premise is only going to climb in coming years. While a laptop and a smartphone used to encapsulate the network drawing power of most employees, today we are finding that the average worker is carrying with them more than four devices that will be tapping into your corporate network. Tablets, wearables, smart watches and other forms of technology are forcing companies to pay closer attention to the amount of bandwidth being consumed and making a dedicated APM solution a must have. Employees have become accustomed to using their personal devices and working the way they live. Because there is no turning back from this trend, it all comes down to how organizations react to and manage this new reality that will dictate whether they are successful or not.
EVP Customer Solutions, Ipswitch
A number of new enterprise technologies have emerged that can put a tremendous strain on the existing network in terms of both bandwidth and performance, including enterprise-class Voice over IP (VOIP) telephony solutions, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions, and enterprise collaboration tools. As technologies such as software-defined networks (SDN) and hybrid private-public enterprise clouds become more prevalent, microbursts, timeouts and protocol errors, are likely to become more rather than less pronounced, while the source will also be harder to determine. To combat these disruptions, it is imperative for IT departments to get a handle on what's going on in their networks through dedicated "network visibility fabrics" that provide instrumentation at key points in the network, exposing the full set of network packets that underlie these causative issues.
Sr. Director, Marketing (Endace), Emulex
15. Faster Network Speeds
You might be tempted to think that a significant increase in network speed, like a 10x improvement going from a 1G to a 10G distribution layer, would reduce the need for APM. After all, your network is now much faster, so your applications should be performing much better, right? But faster networks don't always translate to faster application performance. Faster networks are like a bigger closet – you'll always fill the available space. And very often faster networks are quickly filled by new data types and applications, like VoIP and telepresence, which take precedence over “traditional” application traffic due to the real-time nature of the traffic. So if a network upgrade is being driven by a demand for real-time services, it's quite likely that you'll need to pay even more attention to APM on your faster network, not less.
Director of Product Management, WildPackets