Application Discovery and Dependency Mapping (ADDM) may sound arcane — and sadly to some extent it still remains so. The notion of actively discovering application and infrastructure interdependencies for their impacts on service delivery, is still sometimes a combination of technological wizardry, domain expertise and sheer force of will. But the capabilities for doing this are evolving to become far more dynamic and varied in design and value than was true even two or three years ago.
With this in mind, EMA will be releasing a radar market evaluation on ADDM looking at three use cases: application/service impact and performance, change impact and change optimization, and service-aware asset management.
The goal is to provide IT buyers ready for ADDM next steps with a useful “Consumer Reports” like map of design, functional and cost (opex and capex) choices with distinctive use–case views across ten participating vendors. These vendors are, alphabetically:
These vendors collectively represent leading lights — either in terms of innovation or established market presence, or both — across the ADDM space.
These vendors also divide, rather evenly, between performance-centric options designed to optimize application performance, and those that are generally more versatile, more focused on managing change and assets, and more CMDB-centric. This is a reflection of how the ADDM market is evolving, but it's important to also recognize the fact that the wall between these two groups isn't absolute. Many of the performance-centric vendors offer strong values for managing change, in particular, and most of the more generalized ADDM solutions offer distinctive value when it comes to managing service performance.
In case you're wondering, the performance-centric ADDM group includes AppEnsure, Neebula, OpTier and Riverbed. The more use-case eclectic group includes ASG, BMC, HP, IBM and ServiceNow. ManageEngine has a foot in both camps, but for now leans towards being performance-centric.
How Important is ADDM?
I personally believe it is one of the top three or four most important technologies shaping the future of application and service management. One indication of this is data EMA collected in Q2 of this year in our report Ecosystem Cloud.
While this research targeted IT organizations with a focus on cloud adoption, we also asked about the criticality of service modeling and ADDM. In that report, we saw that 83% of our respondents with serious cloud initiatives were also involved in service modeling of some type (including ADDM, dashboards, and CMDB/CMS). Of these, more than half had deployed application discovery and dependency mapping in support of service performance or managing change.
Perhaps even more significantly, we saw that those with very effective cloud deployments were far more likely to have investments in ADDM than those with less success in leveraging cloud to support the delivery of critical application and business services.
The reason why this makes sense is that ADDM is, above all, about visibility into what can hurt you when things go badly, visibility into what you've got and how to optimize your investments, and visibility into how making changes, including releasing or upgrading application services, can either bring value to, or reek havoc with, your customer/consumers. Moreover, ADDM has evolved to support insights into public as well as private cloud and virtualized environments — as the data in this radar bears out.
Voices from the Front Line
I'd like to conclude this blog with just a few quotes from deployments we observed to help you get a better picture of what I'm talking about.
“We leverage our ADDM solution in development as well as production to support DevOps requirements. We can begin to predict the impact of making changes to the application on its performance before we roll it out.”
“We've currently mapped about 800 business applications—focusing on application-to-infrastructure interdependencies. And now we're moving to map out the full application ecosystem, including middleware, for managing change without disrupting service performance.”
“This product is very easy to use. It finds everything we need it to. There are a lot of new elements like VMware and V-motion that are important to us and these are all supported. The other nice feature is that the product maps storage also.”
“Our solution supports more than 3,000 servers and allows us to look at application ecosystem interdependencies as they support real business outcomes — like the impacts of change on transaction rates and transaction types as the impact cost and business performance.”
“We had a major directive to consolidate data centers — and our application dependency mapping capabilities, in conjunction with our CMDB, were critical to the success of that effort.”
These are just a few of many examples.
So the question you might then ask is: How do I select the right ADDM solution for me? While that will be the topic of an EMA Webinar on November 13. I promise to devote my next column, before then, to provide you with at least a few solid tips.
In the meantime, if you have any unique perspectives or opinions about the ADDM solution you're using, I'd love to hear from you. Just contact me at email@example.com
Dennis Drogseth is VP at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).