APM and Viewpoints - Part 1
February 22, 2017

Terry Critchley
Author of "Making It in IT"

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Application Performance Monitoring (APM) is a set of disciplines, part of Performance Management, designed provide accurate information on how business applications are performing. Many organizations rely on APM to give them sufficient information to see if their internally‐developed applications and third party applications are performing well. The purpose of this exercise is both operational and, in the longer term, capacity planning purposes.

The overarching reason is to match delivered performance with the service level agreements (SLAs) developed between IT and the business(es). There are other reasons, not least those of organization productivity and external customer acceptance of the online service, particularly web sites.

The cruel fact of the matter is that poor or erratic performance (response times and throughput) are bad for business. Zero performance when the system is down doesn't help the cause either. As an aside, note that availability is an essential component of performance.

Aspects of Performance

There are several aspects of applications and related software that need to be monitored since an application makes use of other software in its execution. The number of aspects needing consideration depends on the complexity of the supporting environment. Typically, IT personnel will need to be aware, at a detailed level, of the performance of:

■ Internet services

■ Response times (overall)

■ Network traffic and latency

■ Transaction tracking (visibility) where applicable

■ The infrastructure - operating system, hypervisors

■ Database

■ Web server software

■ Other middleware

■ ERP and other application systems. These sometimes have their own resource and reporting monitors.

■ File servers, messaging systems etc.

■ Use of what are known as "deep dive diagnostics" for knotty problems

An important aspect of performance (and other) monitoring is where the observer stands when looking at the IT scenario. If a complaint says the performance of an application is dreadful, the network man might say "Everything is fine" and the database man may agree, both saying "What's the problem?" All these people may say that the performance world is rosy but not to other people who have a different idea on what is rosy and what is not.

These are what I call viewpoints, a popular concept in IT architecture design method. Read APM and Viewpoints - Part 2, outlining the different viewpoints.

Dr. Terry Critchley is the Author of "Making It in IT", "High Performance IT Services" and “High Availability IT Services”.

This blog was created from extracts from Terry Critchley's book: High Performance IT Services [ August 25 2016]

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